Tag Archives: books

Books & Bonding

“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift.”

— Kate DiCamillo

Today when the bus arrived Kaylee said she wanted to take the book with her to school.  No Way!  I am NOT letting her read on….  We are reading this book together and loving every minute of it.  It was tempting to not just finish the chapter while the bus pulled away, but I resisted.  It will be much more fun to finish the chapter when she returns.  As much as I love to read and as much as I want my kids to love reading, reading to them is still something that I have to be very intentional about. Sharing a book together and reading aloud doesn’t just happen, It takes two parties agreeing on the same activity at the same time.  However, it is definitely worth the effort.

A study once found that if you ask a kindergartener if they like to read books outside of school, 100% of the students will say they do.  But, if you ask a fourth grader that same question, only 54% agree.  What changes in that student?  By the time a child reaches fourth grade, they can read independently so instead of a parent grabbing a book and inviting the child to read with them, the parent hands a book to the child and tells them to go and enjoy it…..alone.  Reading stops being a shared activity and may become a chore.  Reading aloud to your children is the single most important contributing factor to their success in school in ALL subjects.

In addition to the academic benefits to reading aloud to your child, you will also find many other perks.  Any time spent with your child is an opportunity for bonding, but time spent reading is a guarantee for quality time.  While reading, you are focusing on your child and one book.  You can not multitask, you can not entertain other distractions.  This will show your child that reading is important and even better, time with them is important.

Reading together also gives you the opportunity for many discussions.  Characters in your book may or may not be like your child, you may or may not agree with their choices and you can discuss these things with your child in a non-threatening way.  What easier way to talk about a school bully than by reading a story about one?  You can then share your experiences and maybe how you would handle the situation differently than the character. Also, your child may open up to an experience they are currently going through.

I don’t like to fish so putting on my boots and heading to the pond with my son is not a way I want to spend my afternoon, but sitting on the couch under an afghan with a book about fishing is definitely something I’m willing to do.  Books allow us to experience activities, hobbies and interests with our children that would otherwise not occur.  I have no intentions of swimming with the sharks….but I can read about it!

Most parents know and recognize the importance of reading to children & do it naturally with their young ones, but I find that even the most attentive parents need a little nudge to keep reading aloud to their children as the children get older. Kids are never too old to be read to and they will begin to read to you too.  It happens often in my home…I read an article in the newspaper out loud, my son shares something he’s reading on his phone.  We DO read aloud to each other, we just need to be more intentional about it.

And, parents of adopted children have to make reading together even more of a priority in their homes.  Many adopted children come from less than stellar backgrounds.  The children may be behind academically and reading will help them improve their vocabulary and comprehension skills.  In addition to that, reading together is a non-threatening way to have a child sit on your lap or near to you and for a child to share stories & experiences and ask questions.  Sometimes it’s easier for a child to initiate conversation when their eyes are diverted to illustrations on a page.

I hope after you read this you will find a child and share a book with them.  I have to go now.  The bus will be here soon and I can’t wait to see how Mallory and Mary Ann will be able to keep their pinkie promise!

Mallory and Mary Ann Take New Yorkwww.LoveKidsLoveBooks.com

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Filed under Adoptive, Big Kids, family, Little Kids, Parenting, Reading

Anne of Green Gables – A Foster/Adoption Story?

book tree

Well, I finally did it.  I read Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.  I really enjoyed it.  I must admit that a boxed set of Anne of Green Gables books has sat on my daughters’ book shelf for years.  I never touched them.  (I’m not sure they did either until recently!)  However, in June, after my son shot part of his thumb off & I was as traumatized as he was, my friend, Judy, mailed me a copy of this book and thought I should read it.  I loved the sentiment, but must admit that when I started it, I found it too wordy to read aloud to my 8 year old daughter and not quite “intriguing” enough to read it for myself.

This Christmas, I asked my adult children to simply gift me a with a book of their choice for me to read in the new year.  My daughter, Lori, chose to give me Anne of Green Gables.  OK, I get it.  I needed to read this book.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I’m not sure if I would’ve if it hadn’t come so highly recommended, but I trust Lori and Judy and I read in earnest.

Amazing!  Anne of Green Gables is full of intrigue.  Why did Judy choose it for me when I was going through an extremely difficult time with my adoptive son?  Was it because Anne has the ability to look at every situation with rose colored glasses on?  She is extremely grateful and uses her imagination to dream away any sorrow.  Was that what I was supposed to do?  It certainly would’ve helped. Or did Judy think I should read about how Anne of Green Gables became part of a family because in addition to Anne’s sunny disposition, there is some real foster/adopt stuff going on that I could relate to.  This book was written in 1908 and much of it applies today. On page 7, Marilla gets to hear what many of us get to hear when we hint that we may be fostering or adopting.  Mrs. Rachel, the “well meaning” neighbor, speaks her mind:  “Well, Marilla, I’ll just tell you plain that I think you’re doing a mighty foolish thing – a risky thing, that’s what.  You don’t know what you’re getting.  You’re bringing a strange child into your house and home and you don’t know a single thing about him nor what his disposition is like nor what sort of parents he had nor how he’s likely to turn out.  Why, it was only last week I read in the paper how a man and his wife up west of the Island took a boy out of an orphan asylum and he set fire to the house at night–set it on purpose, Marilla –and nearly burnt them to a crisp in their beds.  And I know another case where an adopted boy used to suck the eggs — they couldn’t break him of it.  If you had asked my advise in the matter–which you didn’t do, Marilla –I’d have said for mercy’s sake not to think of such a thing, that’s what.”  Some of us have heard very similar versions of that story when we made our intentions known.  And, some of us live and struggle with those stated behaviors!

By page 12 most people would start to diagnose Anne with ADHD.  Oh the chattering about anything and nothing!  Words, words, words.  Was she trying to block out her reality as she drives to a new place with a strange man?  Can you imagine how she must’ve felt heading to an unknown place with only the clothes on her back?  There are about 400,000 Americans in foster care now who know.

Now I’m not going to tell you the rest of the story…this isn’t a book report, but I do want to challenge you to read this book. Anne is a child who is charming, annoying, quirky, and comes to her new family with a lot of baggage.  She is a survivor and so are her foster/adoptive parents.  She can teach us a lot.  Now, if you don’t have any interest in the foster/adoption part of the story, I think you will benefit to possibly trying to think like Anne a bit.  She is inspiring with her imaginings and there are timeless quotes that we should all take to heart.

“Tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it.”

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think.  It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

Thanks Judy!  Thanks Lori!  True kindred spirits!

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Filed under Adoptive, family, Parenting, Reading, Trauma-mama