Books are something that I feel I came “late to in life”. I was “late” learning to read (I had an excellent memory as a child, and instead of reading books in 1st Grade, I would recite what I had practiced with family at home) – I was probably a year behind with my reading skills, which then also impacted my writing skills at school. A lot of effort was put into helping me to catch up and I remember reading my very first chapter book (Die Kleine Hexe) and loving it. After that I remember reading books only “every so often”, our school would order German books (I only spoke German at the time and lived in the Uk) at a book fair once a year. I remember when I was around 13, discovering a set of Famous 5 books at a car boot sale and reading all 10 in one go (well we were camping and it was raining A LOT….. that is a GREAT way to get kids reading. Ha.). But I never really considered myself a READER. Not until my adult years. When something suddenly clicked. And I started to DEVOUR books. Now I can read 5 books on a 1 week holiday. I often read a book a week or less and have started a book exchange with fellow parents to keep me “in with books”.
But my journey to books was a slow and a hazardous ones. I recognised early on, that I wanted MY children to enjoy reading as much as I do now – but sooner. I recognised, that stories and books form a big part of your childhood – your memories, your creativity and your imagination. I recognised, that bed time stories are a time for us to be together. Our house is FILLED with books (almost too much so, I should have been more selective) and my kids often see me read. I have noticed that they get just as excited about a bag of books from the library as they do about a “toy that arrives through the post..
But what more can I do, to instill the LOVE of books in my kids?
I have been reading the blogs of Amy Mascott and Allison McDonald for YEARS now. They are an amazing resource for all parents, especially those of young kids, looking for fun and easy to do activities, that underpin learning – but in a fun way. So when I heard that they were putting their combined experience (not just as writers, but as educators too), to create this book – RAISING A ROCK-STAR READER US/ UK – I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and see the best of their wisdom compressed into 128 pages.
My kids are now almost 6yrs and 8yrs – straight up, I would say that this is book is brilliant for new parents and those of very young children, as well as parents like me, with kids that have ALREADY started to read. Though there are a lot of great tips and ideas (some so obvious, others that surprised me) that would have been brilliant to read all those years ago, when my kids were beginning to speak!
The book feels more like a MANUAL, than a book – which makes it super easy to take with you and dip in and out of when you have a moment here and there. It is structured into a set of 75 “tips”. Making the information that Amy and Allison have to share more digestible and easier to browse.
Though I am an enthusiastic reader and clearly have been doing “many things right” according to this fantastic resource, there are so many areas, that I simply hadn’t thought of (and or course are obvious once you read about it) – it is clear that I am a well meaning parent, but not an educator! Reading isn’t just about the joy of stories.. but also about linguistic ability, about being able to hear and identify sounds, about spelling and writing too. There are so many things I wish I could rewind to and do *better* with my kids. Having said that, the book is incredibly encouraging about starting “now” and it is “never too late”.
I love that it comes with great resources – such as age appropriate book lists, downloadable games and printables, so many different games and activities that help to develop different skills – whether it is listening, discussing, creating stories or learning to write and recognise letters. Lots of down to earth practical and handy advice!