Teaching a Love for Reading!

I always try to teach my kiddos a love for reading. It doesn’t matter to me what they’re reading. If they are sitting down with their eyes glued to a book, magazine, comic book, or whatever, my day is made. My heart is warmed. Reading was a big part of my childhood.  The 7 year old I work with loves reading, but I’ve been finding it challenging to find books that will hold his interest enough to motivate him to pick up the book on his own.  Last summer, we read Matilda (by Roald Dahl) together, alternating chapters, and he loved it.  He also read aloud really fluently, so I knew his reading level was pretty high.  About a month ago, I introduced him to “The Indian in the Cupboard” by Lynne Reid Banks. To “bait” him, I read the first chapter aloud to him.  He put the book down for a bit, then after about a week, he picked it back up and couldn’t put it back down!  He’ll be on vacation this coming week, so last week he hurried to finish the book so that I’d have time to get the next book, “Return of the Indian,” from the library to take with him.  “Indian in the Cupboard” has a reading level of 5.9, and he’s in 2nd grade. Now I have a better idea of what reading level I can look at for future books for him.

Want to get your early reading loving to read too? Here are some quick tips and tricks!

1)  Don’t worry about what he/she is reading. There’s no such thing as “wasteful reading”. Go to the library and find a variety of types of books- picture books, chapter books, comic books, magazines, non-fiction, Ripley’s Believe or Not, etc.  Then ask your kiddo what he/she enjoyed the most!

2) If you suspect that your child is intimidated by harder books, try chapter books with audio books!  Following along with the words while someone else is reading them can be really beneficial when you’re helping a kid to improve their vocabulary and push them into a slightly higher reading level without any fear of failure.  Just remember- if your child’s at a 1st grade reading level, look for something just a little higher, like 1.5 or 2. If there’s too many words that he/she can’t recognize, they’ll end up lost in the book and just listening.  Listening isn’t horrible on its own- they’re still enjoying stories and using their imagination and listening skills, but the most benefit comes from seeing and hearing the words together.

3) Read together to get a better idea about what their reading strengths and weaknesses are.  You read a page, they read a page is a good start, and alternating chapters can be good for stronger readers.  This can be a fun experience for both of you, and highly beneficial. You get to see how well he reads, what his comprehension is like when he reads, and how he flows as a reader, and he gets to take a break and enjoy listening sometimes, which makes the book less intimidating.  Bonus!  You can model voice changes, pace changes, and expression- all the things that take a good story to a great one!

4)  Peak your kid’s interest in a book by reading the first few pages or the first chapter of the book to him/her. Or you can talk about how much you enjoyed the book as a kid and give a brief, exciting synopsis of the book.  You can also try reading positive reviews of the book.

5) Never “require” that any specific book be read. It’s ok to set aside 30 minutes a day as “quiet reading time” (less time for younger readers or readers who just can’t focus that long or don’t enjoy it), but don’t put any requirements on what is read. If he/she wants to read the instruction manual for the new toy they got, go with it!  Seeing reading books as a chore will quickly snuff out their interest in them.

Easter Crafts!

Spring has sprung and Easter is almost here!  A lot of these crafts can be doubled as “Spring” crafts, for those of you who don’t celebrate Easter.  Enjoy!

Infant/ Toddler: 

Carrot Craft

Q-tip Easter Eggs

Fork Chick


Shaving Cream Easter Eggs

Plastic Egg Maracas

Paper Plate Sheep

School Age:

Crystal Egg Geodes

Watercolor Resist Egg Painting

Cherry Blossom Bottle Painting (Bonus: Use different size bottles!)

I have a few more on my holiday/seasonal pinterest board, including vibrant coffee filter flowers, egg sun catchers using contact paper, egg paper strip art, painting with plastic easter eggs, and LOTS of fun eyes for dying/coloring your easter eggs!

Lots of Little Updates! (Book + Fancy Bistro)

It’s been a little while since I last blogged- whoops.  Time just seems to fly away from me sometimes, especially since I like to pack my days full! I always joke that I’m allergic to boredom. It’s not that I don’t know how to relax, it’s just that life seems so much better when I feel like I’m doing a lot with it, you know?

Spring is finally here!  I have been soooo happy to be able to take my kiddos outside to run around in the grass and play in the sunshine.  Pretty soon it’ll be warm enough for picnics at parks with friends!  Oh! And isn’t Easter coming up soon? I tend to forget, since I’m working with a Jewish family. I guess it’s time to pull out some Easter crafts!  I’ll do that soon.

I started a new book: Will My Kid Grow Out of It? by Bonny J. Forrest. It’s a super interesting overview of some typical childhood issues that can help you determine what kind of help your child might benefit from. I’ve always been fascinated by children’s minds. I haven’t finished the book yet, but it’s been easy to read and incredibly insightful.

Amy’s Fancy Bistro has continued to be a big success!  There have been hits and misses, but the kiddos have enjoyed each week and have tried everything I’ve put in front of them. Last week, I made tilapia fillets baked with a lemon-honey-soy sauce brushed over the top. Both kids LOVED it, and my pickiest eater has already been asking when we can have tilapia for dinner again!  The younger one is apparently a fan of salami now!  One of their favorite nights was when I had a “Japanese” theme and made three kinds of faux sushi. I flattened slices of bread (with the crust cut off), put different things on the bread, then rolled it and sliced it into little “sushi” rolls. The fillings that night were peanut butter and banana, pumpkin/ cream cheese spread with apple, and cream cheese with grated carrot. I served it with edamame and let them eat using chop sticks (in any way they wanted). I also put on the “Yoshida Brothers” station on Pandora for some asian flare, which they also enjoyed.

That’s all for now!  Easter crafts will be next!