Episode 26: Dealing with Covid-19

Episode 26: Dealing with Covid-19

Dealing with Covid-19 using books may sound overwhelming or like a perfect fit – or likely somewhere between these two on the sliding scale. We wanted to give you a look at what’s happening in One Page at a Time and also a couple resources you can look into if you wish.

In this episode we talk about:

1 Jill and Amanda are both dealing with Covid-19 in different ways, since we have different personalities and different situations. The one commonality with everyone is that this is an unexpected and life-altering period in our lives. We all handle it in different ways, and that’s totally okay.

2 We very quickly list some of the resources we are aware of that are currently available to help us all during this time. Check the end of this post for links and more info.

3 Finally, we both feel as though some of the unpublished interviews we have done may be helpful for many of us now. Therefore, we’ve changed our schedule around and you can expect to hear from authors

Dealing with Covid-19 resources:

We are Teachers

This may be the most concise and inclusive list of “virtual author activities” that we have seen. This lists a lot of authors and illustrators doing drawings (think Mo Willems) and many read alouds (think Oprah Winfrey). It’s sectioned off into 3 age categories, so don’t get too overwhelmed by the length of the list. If you’re going to start somewhere, we recommend you start here.

A Kid’s Book About Covid-19

Big fan of A Kid’s Book series like us? Download their great ebook on Covid-19 for free at the link above. In general, these are great books about subjects that can be difficult one way or another, so it may be worth perusing their shop, as well. (not affiliated in any way, just like their books)

What is a Pandemic? Free e-story

Teachers Pay Teachers is a treasure trove of great resources, and this free story is definitely one to read. It’s graded K-3rd grade, though my 5-year-old had a harder time with the text.

Wide Open School

This is one of the resources we have that covers kids Pre-K to Grade 12. I will quote the website, “As parents, you may be adjusting to the idea of having your kids at home all the time. To make learning with them more accessible, we have been busy compiling the best free online resources.” If you are feeling a bit lost and on your own, this is a great start for schooling.

Kate Messner

Author and former teacher, Kate Messner has shared a page full of resources that are even divided by age. As a parent, I think this is a useful page, even though it is intended for librarians and teachers. She includes a link to publisher guidelines for online read a louds, if you have been wondering about that. She also has links to several of her own children’s books on YouTube.

Author Penpal: Kimberlee Gard

We have a great interview we will be publishing soon with Kimberlee about her books. The Day Punctuation Came to Town is my personal favorite, and she is an absolute delight. She just announced on her instagram account that she will respond to anyone who wants to write to her, pen-pal style.

Storyline Online

Celebrities reading books can never get old, right? These are picture books, heads up.

Story Seeds Podcast story about Corona Virus

Story Seeds is a fabulous podcast that shows up regularly in our bedtime routine at Amanda’s house. Jason Reynolds, author of the newly released Stamped, gives 8 tips for keeping the new “villain” in town at bay. It’s not so much a story, but definitely worth a listen (it’s 4 minutes) to see if you feel it would be helpful for your family.

Brain Pop video and curriculum on Covid-19

The video by Brain Pop is great for any age, and if you have school-age kids, be sure to look into the accompanying reading, vocabulary, quiz, etc. This is a great way to be sure you and your child are on the same page with understanding such a difficult subject.

Libro.fm

We talked with Stephanie Ballien from Libro.fm in Episode 25: Libro.fm; Loving Bookstores from Afar all about this amazing option to get audiobooks AND support a local/indy bookstore of your choice. This can have a tremendous effect on small businesses during this time, and get you access to any books you may not have available through your local library or other free resources.

Mrs Plemon’s Kindergarten

Mrs. Plemon offers an amazing collection of lessons directly tied to books. She has arranged them by season and by age going from toddler up through elementary. There are lots of options that are suitable for year-round, as well. Reasonably priced, and she uses great books and builds on them.

There are other options like Mrs. Plemon’s Kindergarten out there, so if you are looking for something specific, try a quick Google search.

Free children’s audiobooks on Audible

Audible has released a massive collection of children’s audiobooks for free. I wasn’t able to find many YA books, but there are plenty of classics and other options to keep you listening through quiet time, bedtime, and beyond.

Association of American Publishers

This gives a list of some academic resources like textbooks and other options released by publishers. I’d look into this for college age and rising college kids or for you yourself.

National Emergency Library

A friend shared this with me, and I’ll quote him, “don’t let the moniker fool you, this National Library is a global resource and was principally created via the fear/hype/restriction to indoors that COVID-19 created” (thanks, Mark!). They have focused on scanning copies of books published between the 1920’s and 1990’s that do not have ebooks and are therefore otherwise unavailable on Libby or from your usual public library.

Helen Farmer from themothershipdxb on Instagram

Amanda mentions this mommy blogger in Dubai in the episode. Look around your social media for any of your favorite influencers reading books or doing something else you are interested in.

Episode 24: Healthy Bodies, Healthy Books with Coleen Graham

Episode 24: Healthy Bodies, Healthy Books with Coleen Graham

What do we mean by healthy bodies, healthy books? We share how can you use books to help your family stay healthy, and what are some great options to read together.

This week we are joined by Coleen Graham, a RN who has worked in a major pediatric hospital for the past eleven years. She also has three kids of her own, so she has had plenty of experience teaching kids about being sick and staying healthy in all sorts of settings. Along with nursing she also teaches preschool and the occasional yoga class, so we are very grateful that she was able to take the time to chat with us about this topic that has been on many parents’ minds lately!

In this episode we talk about:

1. Coleen’s job at the hospital and what she does there. She explains her unit as a “step-down NICU.” She mostly works with infants and toddlers, although they have recently started getting children of many different ages.

2. What she prioritizes as a nurse and a mom when she teaches her kids about their bodies and staying healthy. 

3. How she has used books to teach those things to her kids and why picture books do such a great job at putting these complicated topics on their level.

4. How she has seen books used at her hospital unit. For instance, she has seen a feeding tube kit that comes with a story book and coloring book that talk about what it is, how it is used, how they can talk about it, etc. Since her unit is mostly younger kids, they do not use them to explain what is going on as much, but they have books that are for the kids and parents to use while they are there, which helps to bring something familiar and comforting to a scary situation.

“The parents are happy to see a book that they are familiar with and they are happy to read to their child and it kind of makes a scary hospital experience something a little less scary.”

5. Coloring books and what a great tool they can be. Coleen has used them when teaching her kids about their bodies and she made a great point about how kids are often times better able to listen to things we are trying to teach them when their hands are busy doing something else… like coloring or drawing!

7. How she has decided what to teach her different children at different ages.

8. A few of their family’s favorite books for talking about bodies and health.

9. How our emotions and mental health can affect our physical health and how we can help our kids with their emotions and especially to identify and communicate them.

10. All three of us chime in with some books that might be good for older children, teenagers or even adults who want to

We are so grateful to Coleen for taking the time to talk with us! More information about her, the books we chat about, and other resources to help us teach our kids about being healthy can be found in the following places:

In Healthy Bodies, Healthy Books we mention:

Websites:

Kids Health.org

Google Scholar

Books:

The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan and Jan Berenstain

What are Germs? – By Katie Daynes (Usborne)

My Body – Usborne

The Usborne Science Encyclopedia by several authors

The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems

Standin’ Tall Cleanliness by Janeen Brady

Little Monkey Calms Down by Michael Dahl

Lurlene McDaniel (author)

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright

The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak and Julian Frost

Magic School Bus: The Giant Germ by Scholastic

The Big Book of the Body – Usborne

Daniel Visits the Doctor – Daniel Tiger book

Looking for more on “healthy” books for your family? Look at this blog post

Want to read about the Covid-19 financial crisis of 2020? Here’s a great booklist to get you started

Episode 23: Building Character with Picture Books with Mary Costello

Episode 23: Building Character with Picture Books with Mary Costello

Building character with picture books is not even possible, we here at One Page at a Time argue that it’s fantastic. We hear about how one Bookstagrammer is using picture books to help their whole family learn 12 Character Traits in 2020.

This week we are joined by Mary Costello, the amazing woman behind the website, Children’s Lit Love. Mary spent years gaining her education in Child development and Elementary education before teaching elementary school for ten years. When he oldest was born she began using that wealth of knowledge and experience in her own home and now shares it with us on her website and Instagram account. 

In this episode we talk about:

1. How she went from being the book recommendation lady for all of her friends to her website now, which still has plenty of book recommendations, but also fantastic information on children’s literacy in general.

2. Their family’s journey this year to focus on developing different character traits with their children. They wanted to be very intentional about teaching their girls certain things, so they pick a new trait each month to talk about. Mary puts together the books and other things they have used so far and shares them all on her sites.

3. We talked a bit about the nitty-gritty of how exactly they have been putting this character trait plan into practice in their family and what roles she and her husband play in what they do.

4. Mary had some thoughts on how to do something similar if you do not have the same support from a spouse. She especially points out that by the end of the year she will have twelve character traits-worth of lists and information that anyone can use, thus cutting down on a ton of work and preparation for someone who wants to try it!

5. How has it been going so far for them? In Mary’s own words, “It is going so much better than we had imagined!” It has been fun and unifying for their family and they have been able to see the differences in their girls that their efforts have made.

6. Why books are such a good fit for what she and her husband are doing with the character traits in their family this year. 

7. How Mary handles the gathering and organization of the books she collects and uses for her monthly topics. 

8. And some great book recommendations to round us off!

We are so grateful to Mary for taking the time to talk with us! More information about her, her sties, and their family’s character traits development journey can be found in the following places:

In Building Character with Picture Books we mention:

Instagram:

@childrenslitlove

Websites:

Books

Molly and Mae by Danny Parker

Mindset by Carol Dweck

The Power of Showing Up by Daniel J Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

Clementine (series) by Sara Pennypacker

Henry Huggins (series) by Beverly Cleary

Ramona (series) by Beverly Cleary

Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson

Bear Feels Scared by Karma Wilson

Valentine Cats by Jean Marzollo

Excited for One Page at a Time’s Summer 2020 books and activities? So are we! Get started with the first week here

Episode 22: How We Read with Amanda Pilmer Roberts

Episode 22: How We Read with Amanda Pilmer Roberts

This week we are joined in a discussion of How We Read with Amanda Pilmer Roberts, a “semi-retired” librarian, as she describes it, who has a great love of (and talent for) music, dance and theater. She has degrees in Theater, Musicology and Library Science and has spent her varied career working in unique school libraries, singing in choirs, choreographing musicals and now, her latest adventure, raising her beautiful baby daughter. 

In this episode we talk about

1. Amanda’s unique career in equal parts theater and libraries. She gives some great insights into what goes into many librarians’ careers and gives us a sense of how many different types of libraries there are, which many people aren’t aware of!

2. How being a librarian has influenced Amanda’s approach to books with her family now that she has her daughter. Suffice it to say, she will never hesitate heading to a library and asking a librarian for help when they are in need of books or information!

3. What reading looks like with her baby, who is just younger than a year old. This is a hard stage for many people to read to their kids at, as they are active and mobile, yet not always engaged in book, and Amanda shares what works for her and her baby.

4. Both Amanda and her husband are actively involved in reading with their daughter and she talks about what the looks like in their family. They had talked about it and knew that books were going to be a part of their family’s life even before they were married and had kids and started their book collections for their future family long ago. 

5. We talk about tracking the books our kids read and Amanda makes a great point that she wishes she had kept track when she was younger, since there are books that she remembers and wishes she could find then again, but doesn’t remember enough about it (…the cover was blue…?).

6. Amanda wraps up by sharing with us a technique she used as a school librarian to help her students to pick books to read. She used a system from Scholastic called PICK (link to it below). It’s a great system helpful in a school as well as family setting!

In How We Read with Amanda Pilmer Roberts we mention:

Books

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease and Cyndi Giorgis

ABCs of Physics by Chris Ferrie

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood

If you enjoyed listening to Amanda Pilmer Roberts, try one of these other episodes:

Episode 17: How We Read with Rachel Lambourne

Episode 13: From Reluctant Reader to Librarian with Harold Hayes

Episode 11: How We Read with Cathy Balfanz

Episode 01: The More You Read the Better you Get with Cyndi Giorgis

Episode 21: Organize yourshelf; Storing books with Jamie Shaner

Episode 21: Organize yourshelf; Storing books with Jamie Shaner

This week we are joined by Jamie Shaner, a professional organizer who founded Home Solutions of WNY, Inc. in 2005. She is also an avid perennial gardener who loves playing in the dirt,  and enjoys reading and listening to all kinds of music. This was an interview we looked forward to for a long time, both for her expertise as well as because of her approach toward books, which to quote her is: “As a professional organizer, I’m authorized to say there’s such a thing as too many suitcases, too much jello in the pantry, or too many dolls with eyes that move, but rarely ever too many books.” 

In this episode we talk about:

1. Note that Jamie’s book philosophy is that one can rarely have too many books (not never), so she does share with us some circumstances that may show that we have books that might be better served finding a new home for.

2. For all of our remaining books, we talk about finding ways to store books appropriately using the space we have available. One missed book storage opportunity that both Amanda and I are guilty of is picking short bookcases- why limit yourself to that when we could find one that goes all the way up the wall that can use that rarely-utilized vertical space.

3. We were very interested to ask Jamie her thoughts on Marie Kondo, the rather famous organizational expert who has gotten some flak through the years for her sometimes sparse attitude towards owning and storing books. Jamie gave us her personal method of helping her clients organize: “Do you need it, do you use it, do you love it (if it is something loveable), and do you have the space to store it?” She shares with us how she would apply it specifically to books and it is incredibly helpful!

4. If we do every find ourselves needing to downsize our book collection, Jamie also had thoughts on what to do with the ones that we, as she put it, “release out into the universe for someone who does not have these books of their own.” 

5. We also got into the organization of books once you have the spaces set to store them. The librarian half of our duo loved this part of the discussion and, while we recognize that everyone is going to have their own “cataloging” system for their home collections, she gave us some great thoughts and tips if you are struggling managing it.

We are so grateful to Jamie for taking the time to talk with us! More information about her and her company can be found in the following places:

In Organize yourshelf: storing books, we mention:

Websites:

Home Solutions WNY Inc

University of Buffalo Annual book sale

How Amanda’s bookshelves are changing as a result of Jamie’s interview

Facebook:

Books we mentioned:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Ann Patchett (Author)

Barbara Kingsolver (Author)

Anne Tyler (Author)

Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Episode 20: Learning a new language? Grab a novel! with Camilla Bates

Episode 20: Learning a new language? Grab a novel! with Camilla Bates

This week we share with you a great strategy for learning a new language: reading! If you’ve ever tried learning a new language by reading novels for fun, you may have experienced the great benefits this form of studying has. After all, if we know it is helpful for our kids learning their native language, it makes sense that free reading in a new language is a good idea.

This week we are joined by Camilla Bates, a small-town Spanish teacher (as she describes herself). She grew up in Northern Minnesota and Michigan and is now settled in rural Western Colorado, where she and her husband are raising their two boys. She has taught Spanish for more than fifteen years, has written two books and set up a website to share ideas and resources with other language teachers. 

In this episode we talk about:

Learning a new language by reading

1. How her interest in Spanish and eventually teaching it got started (slowly!). She started off taking Spanish classes herself in high school, never thinking she would stick with it. Something kept going, however, and by her third year she had discovered

2. The link between “free reading” and language learning. She learned about the important link between the two in conferences and now includes it in her classes. She wanted to give her students enjoyable things to read and wrote a four-part story with another teacher. It opened the world of writing to her and she has continued to write Spanish stories and has published two books so far, including one about a student trying to learn how to speak Spanish, which her students very much relate to!

3. While offering her students this “free reading” time to solidify the vocabulary and other things they are learning about the language, Camilla talks about the benefits of reading fiction.  “Most studies have shown that we actually learn more from reading fiction than we do from reading non-fiction, which seems counter-intuitive, but….studies have shown!” While she does include non-fiction books in her classroom collection, a great deal of it is fiction.

4. Teaching high school, Camilla is dealing with many students who do not regularly read for themselves, which poses challenges. “By the time I have them in high school, I would say 75% of my students identify as not liking reading. So when they come into my room and they are reading…- not just reading, but reading in a second language- I want it to be as comfortable an experience as possible… I don’t require them to do anything at the end of it. They literally come in, they choose a book, sit down and read.” At the end of the semester, however, she asks them something that they have learned from reading and the answers she gets are “spectacular.” 

5. Along with the “free reading” that she has her students do in every class period, Camilla also reads stories aloud to her students when teaching them new material, which helps students at every level for different reasons!

6. Camilla’s second book, Soy Carlos, was written because people always ask her how they can learn Spanish when they are not able to take a class. She always tells them to read in Spanish, but it is often difficult to find material at the right level, so she wrote a graphic novel aimed to help people learn Spanish on their own!

As a Spanish teacher, she is in a great postition to give us advice if we want to learn a second (or third or fourth, etc) language. She reminded us to start small- don’t immediately dive in and try to read Harry Potter. She gave us some great resources to get started, which we will link to below.

In “Learning a new language? Grab a novel!” we mention:

We are so grateful to Camilla  for taking the time to talk with us! More information about her, her books, and her website can be found in the following places:

Facebook

Websites:

Smalltown Spanish Teacher’s website

Stephen Krashen’s theory of second language acquisition

Books we mentioned:

Lazarillo de Tormes by Anonymous

Las Cronicas de Narnia (series) by C.S. Lewis (English version pictured here)

La Tutora de Español by S. Camilla Bates

Frida Kahlo by Kristy Placido

Biography of Santana

Los sobrevivientes by Bryan Carl Kandel

Soy Carlos by S. Camilla Bates

Dog Man (series) by Dav Pilkey

Hombre Perro (series) by Dav Pilkey

Don’t miss out on Episode 19: How We Read with Lucia and JR Ratliff

Episode 19: How We Read with Lucia and JR Ratliff

Episode 19: How We Read with Lucia and JR Ratliff

Have you ever read with your spouse? Maybe listened to a book in the car together? We get lots of great ideas from Lucia and JR Ratliff on how they read together, and then Jill and Amanda talk about how it went with their husbands when they brought up the possibility of reading together.

This week we are joined by married couple Lucia and JR Ratliff. Natives of the US, they are currently experiencing life in host Amanda’s neck of the woods- the United Arab Emirates. She is a songwriter and teacher while he is a professor and they have four kids. They have been reading together since the early days of their relationship and now have years’ worth of experience and advice to share with us!

In this episode we talk about:

1. How did they get started? “Just a matter of, we only have one book, but we both want to read it, so we’ll just read it out loud!” As it went on, their voices couldn’t keep up with them, so they switched to audiobooks. They listen or read while doing other things- such as working out or playing tetris as well as in the car. Quite often it also happens when they are in bed at the end of the day, when they utilize the handy timer function on many audiobook players so as not to lose their place when they fall asleep!

2. How has reading together affected their relationship? It gives them something beyond their kids and everyday lives to joke about, relate about and talk about. “It definitely added another dimension to our relationship, because we were doing that together…”

3. How do they decide what books to read? Goodreads, recommendations from friends, Audible suggestions similar to books they have enjoyed, reading their way through the collections of authors they like. They take turns picking the books so that both of their tastes and interests are covered.

4. How and when do they talk about the books that they read together? It is usually mixed in with their everyday conversations. Their morning routines are a great time to chat about what they listen to the night before, while they are in the car or even as they are messaging each other throughout the day, when a thought occurs to them or something else they read connects to it.

5. Where are their kids during all this book listening? Sometimes the kids are around! Usually it is when they are all in the car and Lucia picks one that is appropriate for all of them (“Lucia is the audiobook CEO around here!”). They usually stick to children’s literature when they are all together, however, at times parts of the books they read as a couple stick out to them that they want to share with their kids and listen to it together.

6. Where could a couple start who have never read together? Start with what you already enjoy doing together. “I think couples already kind of know what they enjoy doing together and most things come in book form!” Taking turns is important as well, because it helps you get to know your partner in a new and different way, or gives you clues as to what is on their mind when you read what the other is into at the moment.

7. Audiobooks vs. reading out loud to each other will come down to each couple’s preference. The Ratliffs have their reasons for preferring audiobooks, but each couple will have to figure out what works best for them!

We are so grateful to Lucia and JR for taking the time to talk with us and can’t wait to dive into this list of recommendations they gave! 

In How We Read with Lucia and JR Ratliff, we mention a lot of books:


The Twilight Saga (series) by Stephanie Meyer

Stephenie Meyer (author)

Brandon Sanderson (author)

Brandon Mull (author)

Brené Brown (author)

Anne Lamott (author)

Roald Dahl autobiography (There are two books)

Harry Potter (series) by J. K. Rowling

Beyonders (series) by Brandon Mull

The Lunar Chronicles (series) by Marissa Meyers

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Michael Kramer (narrator)

Shannon Hale (author)

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Fred Rogers Biography by Jennifer Warner

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bissel van der Kolk

The Paper Magician (series) Charlie N. Holmberg

Episode 18: Loving your Spouse and Your Sacred Text

Episode 18: Loving your Spouse and Your Sacred Text

If you’re wondering about how to better your marriage with sacred text, you’re in the right place. In preparation for Valentine’s Day, we thought we would focus a bit on the marriage relationship specifically. This is a continuation of the conversation we aired in episode 15: “Holy Script!” Sacred Text in the Home, with Dr. David Dollahite and Dr Loren Marks. We look specifically through the filter of sacred text in this episode, but much of what we discuss applies across the board for reading with your spouse.

This week we are again joined by Doctors David Dollahite and Loren Marks of the American Families of Faith Project and professors at Brigham Young University. The first part of the interview, which we published last month (Episode 15), was focused on families interacting with sacred text, while this second part focuses more on the marriage relationship specifically.

In this episode we talk about:

1. Our thoughts matter and words matter even more, as they turn into actions and, as the poet Emerson said, our character. Faith is not a magic pill. Many times it becomes a tool of power or to dominate. There is danger to faith when not applied with compassion and wisdom. It has been shown in studies many times over that religion, faith and spirituality is powerful- potentially powerfully positive, but also powerfully negative.

2. Use approaching sacred texts in a marriage as a way to honor the agency of each person involved, their time or their styles of study. Doing it to check off a box, imposing one’s approach, views or values over another’s, trying to do it when one party is not ready, or is distracted, tired or not ready to engage can be problematic.

3. We also looked outside of sacred texts and touched on the closeness that can come from couples reading other literature together. Dr. Marks and his wife would read out loud to each other as they did the dishes.

4. We touched on the role that mental health plays in marriage when it comes to faith and an individual’s readiness to participate in joint study. They referenced studies that show problems that can arise from the intersection of faith and mental illness in marriage and families, however, they also emphasized that, “Those couples that are able to draw from their faith, their sacred texts and their traditions, ways to be compassionate, understanding, flexible, long suffering, gentle, patient, etc. etc. etc., will do well. Those people who choose to try to dictate to their spouse how they should think about or how they should act in relation to their faith, those persons who insist that their spouse agree with them or toe the line that they would like toes, or change themselves to be more like I am…those marriages are going to have serious trouble.”

5. In our attempts to stay synchronized as a couple and in a place where we can both be ready to use our sacred texts in our marriage as well as our families, they mentioned a concept from marriage researcher Dr. John Gottman called the “Magic 30 Minutes.” When couples take 30 minutes of their day to talk to each other and listen. When kids are involved, it is almost impossible to talk to each other, so some couples use a cup of coffee together, or a walk or a drive together to stay on the same page.

6. As we apply our sacred texts and the examples of couples and marriages within them, to our marriage relationships, we should maintain a view inward- how does this apply to ourselves, how can this make ourselves better, as opposed to asking the other person to be better or do better.

7. Approaching scripture study as a couple as well as with our children gives us a wonderful opportunity to honor both members of the couple’s preferences and work through differences. “We have had to balance and take turns and try to honor each other’s preferences. Our children have seen us work that through. They are well aware that Mom feels strongly about this and Dad feels strongly about other things, but they have seen us try to work well together and allow both of us to have the thing that we think is most important be a part of what we do [in our family study].”

In Loving your Spouse and Sacred Text we mention:

Websites

American Families of Faith Project

Dr. John Gottman

Books

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Jane Austen (author) pictured here is Sense and Sensibility

Chronicles of Narnia (series) by C.S. Lewis

Harry Potter (series) by JK Rowling

Extracts from Adam’s Diary – Mark Twain (we are including this version with Eve’s Diary as well)

Religion and Families: An Introduction by David Dollahite and Loren Marks

Be sure to listen to last week’s episode, 17: How We Read with Rachel Lambourne to hear some great ideas of how Dr. Dollahite’s daughter uses books in her home (and get a whole ton of great reading recommendations!).

Also, stay tuned for our upcoming interview with Dr. Marks’s father, Larry, author of a book called Reading is the Key, teaching us a tried-and-true method of teaching our very young kids to love reading from the beginning.

Don’t forget our competition starts soon!

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:

audiobooks:

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

Episode 16- Reading: An Enchanting Hour with Meghan Cox Gurdon

Episode 16- Reading: An Enchanting Hour with Meghan Cox Gurdon

We had heard of some of the benefits of reading aloud to kids, but we were blown away by The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction.

This week we are joined by a writer extraordinaire- Meghan Cox Gurdon. Her writing gigs include a weekly column and children’s book reviews for the Wall Street Journal, which she has been doing for the past fifteen years, as well as her first book, The Enchanted Hour, which is all about kids and reading. She has read to her five children since the day she brought her first-born home from the hospital and now that her kids are almost all grown, she finds herself reading aloud with her husband during those hours that used to be filled with reading to their children. 

In Reading: An Enchanting Hour we talk about

1. Reading aloud is an inexpensive, yet powerful way to give children what they need to develop their little brains when they are young.

2. Scientific evidence is now showing what parents have seen in their children for years- reading aloud creates conditions for optimal brain development, social skills, impulse control and more. Meghan connected with a research team that showed her their results from MRI scans of the brains of 3-5 year olds and the results they are finding are  “everything that anecdote has suggested to us it would be.”

3. Meghan had some great thoughts about where digital books fall in the range of book vs screen-time scale. We all agreed to the many great benefits technology brings to our lives, but when it comes to reading with our kids, by using digital devices both us and our kids know that a distraction is just a finger swipe away, which can diminish the benefits of the experience for us and them.

4. One benefit of reading aloud with kids (especially those physical books) that we hadn’t talked about on our podcast yet that Meghan brought up was how it can build children’s attention spans. It allows them to “focus and concentrate and build their powers of attention.” Being able to focus on things and make sense of what is being said to them are absolutely necessary life skills that are strengthened by being read to.

5. While Megan’s book mainly focuses on young children, she is passionate about the benefits of reading to kids of all ages- and beyond! If your kids are middle schoolers and you’ve never read to them, that’s okay! Start now! Start today! Just give it a go- even if it feels odd at first. Stick with it and you will feel the magic!

6. While the benefits of reading aloud to older children and adults are different, they are still very real. There are studies that are starting to look into what it does for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, as they hear poems and stories they are familiar with. It can be a way to communicate with someone with whom communication is difficult, such as one suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, or even just a teenager with whom you are struggling to connect with.

7. Another idea to expand your reading aloud world is to read with your spouse. That idea might comfort those of us (coughJillcough) who are sad to think of the day when our kids get older and aren’t around to be read to!

Meghan left us with a great idea of how to get started on putting these great ideas into practice this week. She invited us to take the leap if we haven’t already and read out loud to someone we love- read whatever appeals to you, be it poetry or an article from the paper, but just do it! And after hearing of all the amazing benefits that come from it this week, we wholeheartedly agree with Meghan and echo her challenge.

We are so grateful to Meghan for taking the time to talk with us about the benefits of reading aloud and her book, The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction! More information about her, her book, and the amazing benefits of reading aloud to one another can be found in the following places:

In this episode we mention

Instagram:

@meghancoxgurdon

Websites:

Meghan Cox Gurdon

Meghan on Wall Street Journal

Books:

The Enchanted Hour – Meghan Cox Gurdon

Ash Road – Ivan Southall

Don’t miss our previous episode, Episode 15: “Holy Script!” Sacred Text in the Home