Episode 17: How We Read with Rachel Lambourne

Episode 17: How We Read with Rachel Lambourne

Our most requested topic? How people are reading in their homes! How We Read episodes talk about just that. If you’re looking for ideas on how to introduce books into your home or up your family’s book game, or if you’re looking for some great book recommendations, you are in the right place.

This week we chat with our next “How We Read” guest, Rachel Lambourne. Rachel is the daughter of Brigham Young University professor Dr. David Dollahite, who we recently interviewed as well. She is a mother of four children, ranging in ages from pre-teen to toddler. She’s been a voracious reader from her childhood and has passed her reading appetite onto her children. This was not accomplished without a great deal of effort and creativity on her and her husband’s part and we are thrilled to have her share all sorts of wonderful ideas and a truckload of amazing book recommendations!

Rachel Lambourne talks with us about:

1. Audiobooks! After her own books-on-tape experiences as a kid and teenager, she is a big fan of audiobooks with her own kids. They use then in the car, but also, quite brilliantly, she has used them for years as a way to get kids to have “quiet time” once they grew out of naps. 

2. “Healthy” vs “candy” books. This was a system born when Rachel was trying to explain to one of her kids all the different kinds of books that are out there. She related them to food- there are all sorts of foods that do various things for our bodies and books are sort of the same. There are books that are easy and fun, but maybe don’t do a whole lot for our minds and then there are books that challenge us or make us think. Rachel told us more about her system of having her kids to read books they maybe wouldn’t pick up on their own as a way to earn screen time.

3.  With this system, Rachel always has a supply of books that she sets aside for her kids to choose from if they want and she talks about different ways that she finds and sort of “vets” books for them as well as the experience of seeing some of her favorite books with “new” eyes as her kids read books she loved as a kid.

4. Along with reading the books, part of Rachel’s “system” is that they have to show what the books was about or what they thought about it by talking or writing about it. It has opened up great lines of communication for her and her husband with their kids, about the books, but also other part of their lives!

5. Rachel and her family lived abroad for a few years and were able to travel quite a bit. They used books for preparing their kids for different trips as well as during the actual travels. They read Peter Pan before going to see the Peter Pan statue in London, Pippi Longstocking when they visited Sweden, etc.

6. Even if you aren’t travelling, books can be a great way to get to know where you live in a new way. Rachel and her family now live in the Bay Area of California (US) and they have had a great time finding books that take place in areas around them now.

Rachel left us with a great idea of how to get started on putting these great ideas into practice this week. She invited us to join her doing a read-athon with your families this week. Get some treats and books you’re excited about and read all together!

We are so grateful to Rachel for taking the time to talk with us! We’ve got links for all the awesome books we chat about this week for you to peruse:

Books we mention:


The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

Nate the Great (series) by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

Magic Treehouse (series) by Mary Pope Osborne

Other books we mentioned:

Lloyd Alexander (author)

American Girl (one series for each girl)

Edward’s Eyes by Patricia MacLachlan

The Giver (series) by Lois Lowry

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

A Bear Called Paddington (series) by Michael Bond

Winnie the Pooh (series) by A.A. Milne

Katie Morag Delivers the Mail (series) Mairi Hedderwick

Pippi Longstocking (series) by Astrid Lindgren

Children of Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren

I survived the San Francisco Earthquake (series) by Lauren Tarshis

Giants in the Earth by O.E. Rølvaag

Dear America (series)

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction

Read Aloud Revival interview with Alan Jacobs

Poppy the Pony (one in a series)

Don’t miss our last episode, Episode 16 Reading: An Enchanting Hour with Meghan Cox Gurdon

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