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

15: “Holy Script!” Sacred Text in the Home with Dr David Dollahite and Dr Loren Marks

15: “Holy Script!” Sacred Text in the Home with Dr David Dollahite and Dr Loren Marks

To talk about sacred text in our home, this week we are joined by Drs. David Dollahite and Loren Marks, two professors at the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University. They have worked for years on a research project called American Families of Faith, which has given them a great deal of insight into the lives of families who are active in all different kinds of faiths and how these families have used reading sacred texts in their family life, which is what chatted with them about.

In “Holy Script!” Sacred text in the home we talk about:

1. What the American Families of Faith Project does and some of what their research has shown them.

2. What exactly are sacred texts? Each religion considers differently, but in general, for Muslims it is the Koran and the deeds and writings of the prophet Muhammad, for Jewish people it is the Torah and Talmud, Christians have the Old and New Testament, etc.

3. Developmental psychologists pretty much agree that ages 0-6 are the most developmentally for children. Keeping that in mind, may times we underestimate our young children and with some guidance, enthusiasm explanation and perhaps most importantly, some stories and narrative, these kids are capable of gaining surprising depth in their understanding of faith. Reading these religious texts with our kids, whether it is the actual texts or more kid-friendly versions, adds another level to the bonding and development that already occurs when we read other stories with our children. 

4. What about our kids who are older than six? Even if those early years are the building of children’s developmental foundations, the doctors have found in their research that there is “explosive building” on that foundation in the ensuing years, even into early adulthood. This is the time that children will start to ask questions and our dialogue with them becomes rich and interactive. We also need to remember that our traditions and ways of going about things like reading sacred text in the home with our children will change and evolve as our children grow. We may continue to do it through the years, but exactly how it is done will look different year to year. 

5. Based on their own experience as well as their research, they have found that these studies work best when there is an open dialogue between children and their parents. Both parents and youth enjoyed conversations about religious things more when they were initiated by the youth, when parents found ways to relate the conversation to the youth rather than abstract theology, when the parents kept their parts brief and more. They give us plenty of great ideas for this type of reading with our older kids!

6. Reading religious texts is something that can benefit from taking the time to personally prepare for those times we do it as a family, but, recognizing that the phase of actively raising children is a time- and energy-consuming one, do not discount the study and preparation you have done in this area leading up to this time of your life.

7. Families with interfaith relationships may need to go about things differently, but to successfully include religious texts in your family’s habits, the different members must learn to respect the views and beliefs that each other hold. This also is a huge part of what goes into adult children’s decisions to stay with their family’s faith or not- the relationships and respect of the family they grew up in.

Drs. Dollahite and Marks left us with a couple of great ideas of how to get started on putting their insights into practice this week with sacred text in the home. Dr. Dollahite invited us to prayerfully consider the way that we are engaging in sacred texts personally and in our marriage and parenting, and ask if what they are doing is enough and be open to the possibility that perhaps there might be an adjustment might be worth trying. Dr. Marks invited us to be gracious and patient with ourselves and our efforts in this area and to remember that even when we fail, which will be more often than we want, the successes will be worth it.

In this episode we mention:

We are so grateful to Dr. Dollahite and Dr. Marks for taking the time to talk with us! More information about them and the American Families of Faith Project can be found in the following places:

Websites:

American Families of Faith Project

BYU School of Family Life

Books

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

The Quran (Pictured here is a book of selections)

The Torah

The Talmud

The Holy Bible

The Book of Mormon

Additional Articles and Research:

Strengths in Diverse Families of Faith – Provides an overview of many topics discussed in our conversation

How Religion Promotes Positive Parent-Youth Relationships and Youth Spiritual Development:

Dollahite, D. C., & Marks, L. D. (2019). Positive youth religious and spiritual development: What we have learned from religious families. Religions10, 548. doi:10.3390/rel10100548

Dollahite, D. C., Marks, L. D., Babcock, K. P., Barrow, B. H., & Rose, A. H. (2019). Beyond religious rigidities: Religious firmness and religious flexibility as complementary loyalties in faith transmissionReligions, 10, 111; doi:10.3390/rel10020111

Dollahite, D. C., Marks, L. D., Kear, T. M., Lewis, B. M., & Stokes, M. L. (2018). Beyond the bucket list: Identity-centered religious calling, being, and action among parentsPsychology of Religion and Spirituality10, 44-54. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/rel0000130

Dollahite, D. C., & Thatcher, J. Y. (2008). Talking about religion: How religious youth and parents discuss their faithJournal of Adolescent Research23, 611-641. doi:10.1177/0743558408322141

Layton, E., Hardy, S. A., & Dollahite, D. C. (2012). Religious exploration among highly religious American adolescentsIdentity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 12, 157–184. doi:10.1080/15283488.2012.668728

Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation:

Dollahite, D. C., Marks, L. D., & Barrow, B. H. (2019). Exploring relational reconciliation processes in Christian, Jewish, and Muslim familiesFamily Relations, 68, 517-533. doi:10.111/fare.12371

Lambert N. M., & Dollahite, D. C. (2006). How religiosity helps couples prevent, resolve, and overcome marital conflictFamily Relations, 55, 439-449. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3729.2006.00413.x

Don’t miss our previous episode, Interactive Journaling in the New Year with author Paula Spencer Scott

Episode 09: Getting to know Overdrive and Libby

Episode 09: Getting to know Overdrive and Libby

This week we are joined by Adam Sockel, social media specialist for OverDrive and co-host of OverDrive’s delightful podcast, Professional Book Nerds. This all basically means he runs OverDrive’s social media, gets to field questions about OverDrive and their accompanying app, Libby, all day and gets to read as many books in as many different formats as he possibly can. Adam joined us to answer some burning questions about OverDrive the company, OverDrive the app and, of course, our beloved Libby app. 

In this episode we talk about:

  1. We start off by mentioning Overdrive’s own podcast, Professional Book Nerds. Adam and his co-host, Jill (different Jill from One Page at a Time’s Jill), talk with authors and leave fantastic book recommendations in their great podcast. We talk more about this later on.
  2. Next up, Adam tells us what Overdrive and Libby are. Overdrive, the name of both the company and the original app, works with about 43,000 libraries and schools all around the world to provide audiobooks and ebooks to people of all ages. This includes about 95% of all libraries in the United States. Libby is the new-and-improved app by Overdrive.
  3. Adam aced our speed round of questions Amanda pulled off Google regarding Overdrive and Libby; these are getting to the root of many searches. Here they are:
How many books can you check out on OverDrive at a time?

Depends on your library; most are between 8-10, though some go as high as 50!

Can I use OverDrive on my Mac?

Yes

Is OverDrive being replaced by Libby?

No – OverDrive covers some areas, such as vision disabilities, better and will remain in use, though Libby is the easier and more user-friendly of the two.

Can I use OverDrive without a library card?

No, you need access to someone’s library card.

Is Libby by OverDrive free?

Yes, 100%

Does Libby sync with OverDrive?

Yes, both audio and e-books

Does Libby automatically return books?

Yes

How do I add more libraries to OverDrive?

Go to the “add a library” button in either OverDrive or Libby, search for your library, and input your library card.

Does Libby search all libraries?

It is going to very soon.

Can you renew books on Libby?

Yes – 3 days before your books are due, it will ask if you’d like to renew. Renewal length is dependant on your library’s policy. If someone has a hold on that book, you will be added to the hold queue instead of renewing.

Does Libby sync across all devices?

Yes, as long as you are logged in on all those devices.

Where does Libby download books?

To any device you have the app downloaded on. The files are tiny, thankfully!

Can you borrow picture books or comic books on OverDrive?

Yes, indeed you can.

  1. How to get set up with Libby: download the Libby app on your device(s) of choice. Put in your zip code, select your library, put in your library card (or get one – and you can get one automatically if you’re in a service area for an Instant Digital Card using your phone number). You may also be able to pay an annual fee for a card to select libraries. And Jill reminds us to check the libraries around you to see if any offer cards to neighboring counties/zip codes. Having access to multiple libraries gives you access to those libraries’ collections
  2. For those living outside the US, check your library to see if they use OverDrive. And, don’t forget your permanent address if you are an expat like Amanda. If your library doesn’t offer OverDrive services through Libby, you can ask your library to get Libby.
  3. If you have exhausted all your personal options, you can share a card with a family member – an added thought is to consider adding your children’s library cards to your account so you can use content filters and you can toggle to their account and see what they are searching for and reading.
  4. Libraries receive more funding based on their usage and circulation, so using Libby is good for a library!
  5. Adam tells us a few reasons why we should all be reading with Libby. Beyond its convenience, there are specialized fonts such as the dyslexia and enlarged fonts, adjust the lighting of the screen, instantly expand your children’s library with a quick search, and the ability to listen to audiobooks means you can read in different situations than you would otherwise. Jill is also excited to try out the Read Along feature.

Adam left us with a great idea of how to get started on putting these great ideas into practice this week. He invited us to take the time to read this week- even just five minutes.

We are so grateful to Adam  for taking the time to talk with us! More information about him, OverDrive, and Professional Book Nerds can be found in the following places:

Instagram:

@overdrive_libs

@probooknerds

Websites:

Professional Book Nerds website

Books we mentioned:

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Episode 08: How books can help you travel better

Episode 08: How books can help you travel better

Get some ideas for how you can improve your traveling by using books. This week we are joined by One Page at a Time co-host, Amanda Fristrom! Amanda is probably among one of the more well-traveled people out there, having visited 6 continents, 63 countries and 49 of the 50 United States. She has many talents, such as possessing a vast knowledge of spices and the ability to design a whole line of handmade toys centered around camels. She chatted with us about the role books have played in her travels all over the world, both for herself as well as her kiddos.

In this episode we talk about:

1. We dive on in with Amanda’s tips for using books in the prep and lead-up to travels. They have a book of all the world flags that they use to show their kids the flags of the countries they are visiting. They can then use this knowledge to help kids connect with the place they are visiting, as they find flags while they are out and about. Bonus: finding flags can also be used as a distraction for antsy kids!

2. Books can also be used to introduce kids to a new language or landmarks they will be exposed to when they are in the new location. There are plenty of books with these things geared towards kids; Amanda shared the ones her family uses. 

3. One more tip for the lead-up to trips, Amanda has her kids go on a “screen freeze” for up to two weeks before leaving for a trip, to get everyone ready and excited for screen time while travelling.

4. During the actual traveling to the new destination, Amanda has Kindle Fire’s for her kids that she loads with books that can be read off-line and a couple reading apps (details below). Kindle has versions of books that are interactive; the books are read to them, the kids can turn the pages and interact with elements on the pages. Amanda has learned through experience that e-books work best for the actual travel time, although she does pack some “emergency” books in a carry-on to use if needed (low battery on devices, long delays, etc).

5. For herself, Amanda likes to have a physical book, so she has found a genre that works well for her for travelling (autobiographies). Everyone’s travel books will be different depending on your tastes and needs, but when travelling with kids you will most likely need a type of book that you enjoy, but isn’t too engrossing, so won’t mind getting interrupted while reading it (kids needing things, pausing to enjoy scenery, etc.).

6. Book Crossing is a fun website that lets you leave a book in a location with a code printed from the website and then you can track if someone finds and takes your book to a new place!

7. Eventually you will make it to your destination and books can still play a part! Amanda has found that keeping her kids’ bedtime routine as close to what they do at home makes a huge difference in their travels. Books play a big part in their bedtime routine, so she keeps that up while travelling. She either uses the books she brought in her “emergency” supply, borrows from people if visiting family or friends, or sometimes finds new books in stores while travelling. 

8. Travelling can be scary and stressful to kids, with an overload of new places and experience. Reading to them is one way to calm them and bring them back to a comfortable and familiar thing. The same can apply to you, as well- taking some time to read your own book can help you fight jet lag, decompress and settle down. 

9. If travelling to visit family, reading together- even older kids reading to the younger ones- will give family members that your children may not get to see as often that bonding time and is a wonderful way to bring the family together. 

Amanda left us with a great idea of how to get started on putting these great ideas into practice this week. She invited us to write down a quick plan of how we are going to use books in whatever travel is coming up in our lives. Books can play a powerful role in our travels and they shouldn’t be overlooked in our travel prep!

We are so grateful to Amanda for taking the time to talk with us and giving us so many great ideas and books to go look up (details below)!

Resources we talk about in this episode:

Website:

Book Crossing – track your books as they travel (like geocaching for books)

Tech:

Amazon Kindle Fire

Books:

The Flag Book by Lonely Planet

Hello World: A Celebration of Languages and Curiosities by Jonathan Litton

Elephants on Tour: A Search and Find Journey Around the World (Where’s waldo-esque elephant book)

The Complete Tales of Winnie-The-Pooh by A. A. Milne

Michelle Obama’s Becoming

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Kindle interactive books

(look by author on your Kindle Fire)

Little Critter books by Mercer Meyer

Sandra Boynton (author)

Episode 07: What your child’s teacher wants you to know about reading

Episode 07: What your child’s teacher wants you to know about reading

This week we are joined by Sarah Wood, the teacher that every parent hopes that their child will get each year. She has taught various grades of elementary (primary) school for the past twelve years (she is on lucky year 13 of teaching!) and in her spare time you can find her in the dance studio and hanging out with her awesome two-year-old son. Sarah is passionate about books and uses them in all sorts of ways in her classroom and with her own son. She was gracious enough to spend some of her precious non-teaching time to chat with us about what she sees from our kids in her classroom and how reading plays a role in that!

In this episode we talk about:

1. Teachers can, in general, tell which kids read and are being read to at home. They look forward to going to the school library, can talk about their favorite book or use character names or titles in conversations and often read at a slightly higher reading level. On the flip side, it is harder to find books for kids who do not read at home that they like to read or listen to and are easily distracted during reading times at school. Sarah noted that she only applies these observations to typically developing children, taking out, for instance, children who are still learning English, etc.

2. We asked Sarah what she wished she could sit down and tell the parents of all her students and she told us that, no matter their age, all children want to be read to! The minute she picks up a book in her class, who basically never stop talking, you can hear a pin drop.

3. Sarah uses different kinds of books all the time in her classroom. When teaching math in first and second grade, for example, she would find a picture book with examples of symmetry and use the examples to visually show that example. With her current class of fifth-graders one of the reading rotations that she does is reading with a buddy- reading out loud to each other- and they love it!

4. We chatted about some great ideas of how to use those same principles at home with our kids! There is an instagram account that Sarah loves and uses called The Book Report, which is run by a former teacher, now stay at home mom, who uses books all the time at home with her kids. She also loves a website called Reading Rockets, which has resources and videos with suggestions on all sorts of things, like, how do you read non-fiction books at home (links to both of these are below). Her best suggestion, however, is to simply find something that your child is interested in, gather books about that subject and then go out in the world and connect those things. Read books about fire trucks and then go to a fire station and see read fire trucks. Find books about rocks and minerals and then go dig around your backyard and see what kinds of rocks you can find! She did share the tip to find the book first and then plan the activity, because it does not always come together when you try and do it the other way around.

5. Sarah herself has a two-year-old son and she has been exploring the world of reading as a parent as opposed to a teacher. It is just as important to her at home, however, as it is in her classroom. She even used one of her son’s favorite books, Vroom Vroom Garbage Truck, in her fifth-grade class when teaching about onomatopoeia! 

We are so grateful to Sarah for taking the time to talk with us! More information about what we chatted about today can be found in the following places:

Instagram references:

@the.reading.report

Websites mentioned:

Reading Rockets

Books we mentioned:

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Vroom Vroom Garbage Truck by Asia Citro

My Truck is Stuck by Kevin Lewis

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle

Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller (follow-up to her book, The Book Whisperer)


Episode 06: Finding Books for your Family

Episode 06: Finding Books for your Family

We are joined this week by the hosts of the delightful podcast, Family Looking Up, Camille, Beth and Andrea! Their podcast, now in its third year, explores all aspects of motherhood, something that they know plenty about themselves with a gaggle of children distributed among the three of them. They joined us to share some of the wisdom they have gained through the years, reading, and more specifically finding books to read, with their kids of all ages.

In this episode we talk about:

1. These three women are all very well-read, but their styles, their tastes, their methods and their searching habits differ, so we spent some time chatting about how they find books for themselves!

2. Recommendations. Firstly, from friends. Find which friends you have similar tastes and opinions about books with and they will be a rich source of book suggestions. Then, once you find your golden source of recommendations, keep track of the suggestions you get somehow!

3. Goodreads. This is a well-known site to many, but if you have not checked it out yet, take a look! It is a website and an app and it has reviews of most any book you could be curious about.

4. How do all these ladies do their reading? It depends! One likes to mix it up with hard copies and e-books on her phone while another almost exclusively listens to audio books. Find what works for you!

5. Saying to find the friends who share your taste in books is all find a good, but how do you go about that in real life? Just start talking about it! Ask anyone for recommendations and over time you will find the ones who 

6. Finding audiobooks. How? Where? For those of us lucky enough to live in a country where they are available, the apps Overdrive and Libby are wonderful resources. They are where your local public library’s e-book and audio book collections live. You can check books out right there on the app! The downside of these apps are that you are limited as to how many books you can check out and have on hold and the more popular books will be on hold with longer waits. Audible is a service through Amazon that will give you instant access to the books you want (no waits!), but it costs. Once again, all the ladies have different ways of making these services work best for them and their families. 

7. Along with their own reading habits, these women are also doing their best to raise their kids as readers. They have found several sources that have helped them along the way. As their kids read more, they cannot keep up and read every book their kids are reading, so they rely on research from Google or sites like Common Sense Media and Goodreads to be informed about what their kids are reading.

8. As we have talked about before, and will continue to talk about on our podcast, do not underestimate the listening level of your children! It will broaden their horizons and help them get over fear of bigger books and other forms of literature.

These lovely ladies each left us with a great idea of how to get started on putting these great ideas into practice this week. Andrea invited us to let our children have a say in what they are reading (hashtag let them read!). Beth suggested rediscovering the joy of reading making it fun with things like movie parties or cousin/friend kid book clubs. Camille invited us as adults to branch out from our norm and try something we wouldn’t normally pick or use a different book format than you usually do. There are some surprises waiting out there for us if we look in different places!

We are so grateful to Camille, Beth and Andrea for taking the time to talk with us! More information about them and their podcast can be found in the following places:

Instagram: @familylookingup

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/familylookingup/

Websites: http://familylookingup.com

Books we mentioned:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (the ladies didn’t mention this one by name, but you might catch the reference to it in there!)

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Chronicles of Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis

Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan

Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo

The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John

05: Book Character Costumes

05: Book Character Costumes

This week we wanted to give you all a chance to get to know us a little better and we are starting with One Page at a Time co-host Jill Berrett Given! Jill is life-long bookwork, advocate for local libraries, has a masters degree in Library Science and is the mother of three children ages 6, 4 and 1.5. 

In this episode we talk about:

1. Costumes! Jill’s family are all big Halloween enthusiasts. So much so that they plan their theme (because of course they do group costumes) and costumes all year long! She chats about their process of choosing and making their costumes each year.

2. We dive right in and chat about some books with great costume options in them to get your creative juices flowing! Why books? They are such a great, visual sources of inspiration, that’s why!

3. Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson. Jill and Amanda even take a trip down memory lane and chat about a sewing a stuffed Hobbes for each of our first borns (pattern available here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Stuffed-Hobbes-with-pattern/)

4. Dragons love Tacos by Adam Rubin. Dress your whole hoard up as dragons, or, if you have one who isn’t feeling the dragon vibes, then they can be the taco!

5. We pause our book list to discuss how we feel about dressing up as princesses for a book character day. Hey, if a princess book gets your child excited about books, then we say go for it!

6. Eloise by Kay Thompson. While Jill may spend a year planning and sewing their costumes, if you are looking for something less…involved, this little girl is a great choice! Her black skirt, white blouse, knee socks and red bow can be pulled together with easily found pieces that can even be used again after the dress-up event! Bonus!

7. Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire. Jill admits that the amazing yellow dress worn by the little girl in this book is a costume she dreams about how she would draft and sew someday!

8. Mr. Panda series by Steve Antony. Jill was gracious enough to give everyone a sneak “peek” at her family’s costumes for this Halloween: black and white animals inspired by Mr. Panda and all his black-and-white animal pals!

Jill left us with a great idea of how to get started on putting these great ideas into practice this week. She suggested that if you don’t know where to start when putting together a book-inspired costume, because it is such a visual subject, start by just looking at the books we talked about today! Hopefully the wonderful illustrations and endearing stories in each and every one of them will spark an idea for you!

We had so much fun chatting with each other and hopefully letting everyone get to know us a little bit better! If you are curious about Jill’s epic Halloween sewing adventures, she has an Instagram account for her creative pursuits, which can be found at:

Instagram: @jillybugscreates

Additional books we mentioned:

Chikka Chikka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. 

Where’s Waldo by Martin Handford

04: The Development of Language

04: The Development of Language

We are joined this week by behavior analyst, Sydnie Brinkerhoff. She is a world traveler, fellow book-lover and heart-warming optimist. Children of all ages adore her, which comes in very handy in her professional world. She has degrees in Communications and Special Education, emphasizing in Verbal Behavior. If you aren’t sure what most of that means, you are in good company! We weren’t quite sure about it all ourselves, which is why we asked Sydnie to come chat with and help us out!

In this episode we talk about:

1. What verbal behavior even is! A short and sweet definition is that verbal behavior is different forms of communication. Sounds, gestures, sign language, words, etc.

2. Verbal behavior is separated into six different categories, or verbal operants. Sydnie breaks down exactly what those six operants are and gives examples of them.

3. While most kids will learn how to communicate just fine without us as parents and caregivers understanding what these operants are, understanding them will give us the power to help our children in a new way. “In typically developing children these different operants will develop on their own. They don’t need any extra work, you don’t have to understand [it] for these operants to develop. …But if you do understand it you can be a big help.” 

4. Books are a great way to put this knowledge to work! You can identify which operants you want to work on with your child and use both the text and pictures (Sydnie gives us permission to go off-text and not just read the story, gasp!) to focus on those operants.

5. Knowing the different operants and when they start to develop in a typical child can also help you read to kids of all ages- especially newborns and small babies, which many people wonder about. You want to start the habit of reading to them as early as possible, but how do you read to a baby who does not understand the story? You can look at which operant the baby is developing then and use the book to emphasize it!

6. Sydnie created a chart for all of us to use (shout out to all our fellow visual learners!) that identifies the six operants, what they are, an example of them, as well as an example of how to use them when reading a book with a child. It is available to download for all who subscribe on our website! 

Sydnie left us with a great idea of how to get started on putting these great ideas into practice this week. She invited us to remember that environment has a huge effect on children’s development of language and we all have the power to help grow their language, even with something as simple as reading a book with them. So, everyone, go use your power this week! 

We are so grateful to Sydnie for taking the time to talk with us! More information about verbal behavior can be found in the following places:

Websites: Carbonne clinic http://carboneclinic.com

Books we mentioned: