Brooke Romney on Read With You Presents
Brooke always wrote and made up stories, plays, etc. As she grew up, she was interested in reading and writing and majored in English. Words can change people’s perspective and the way they think. She realized how powerful words and thoughts can be when she wrote an essay and changed her professors perspective. Words and thoughts can persuade people to believe something different. Books and experiences of other people really increases our capacity to love and our empathy. Words and writing are so powerful.
I have been so impressed with the way a good writer can create vivid lessons in fiction books. People gravitate toward nonfiction for learning lessons, but I think there’s the same power in a fictional story to bring about new ways of thinking and open our minds to new ideas. I think both are very powerful.
I enjoy Lisa See’s novel about the Chinese culture. Those have opened my eyes to some of the hardships people have been through. The Nightingale also has truth but a lot of it is also fiction. It created desire to do good and be good and create change where change is needed. There are so many that I have learned from.
Family culture is not perfect and reading doesn’t always happen. She has a realistic version of how to create a culture of reading in her home. Her 4 boys all enjoy reading. There are a few things they have done.
Be an example of a reader. Discuss things they read about. Don’t forget to bring children into those interesting moments. It’s interesting to see kids start to internalize things and let them come to their own conclusions.
When it comes to reading, I’ve always tried to make reading enjoyable. We try not to make it a forced thing. When it gets frustrating, we put it away. For example, if the kids are reading and getting frustrated, I just give them the word. I also ask teachers for easier books if they are struggling. I realized that we can enjoy reading at any level. Let my kids have ownership of what they’re reading.
Another thing that we try to do, and this is my best trick. We put them to bed and then give them an extra 30 minutes to stay awake if they want to read. They all jump into bed, grab a book and read. They would rather stay awake a little longer and read.
We also have done some read alouds with our family. We haven’t done it as much recently as the kids have gotten older, but we love reading on a car ride or in the summer. To get my kids starting to read when they aren’t excited about it, we would start it together and then stop it in a really exciting place, and then say, “ok, if you want to keep reading you can, but I’ve got to go do dishes” and a lot of times they would keep reading.
We also love movies- books that have turned into movies. We try to finish the book before the movie comes out. Even though my boys like reading, they aren’t always motivated to read, especially as they get older.
My second son loves to read and can’t get through enough books. We try to choose the really popular books and then say, “if you loved Harry Potter, what other books would you love?” and he reads most of them. We ask for librarian and teacher recommendations and put lists together on the blog. It’s been hard to have boy readers. It’s been hard to find books to recommend to them. Boys are into something different and we need to find the right things for them. My 13 year old helps me take those books and give recommendations, so we have a good list of books kids might like if they like these other books. For me, as a mom, I would start to panic thinking what are my kids going to read when my kids finish a good series. Some kids will be really into something and then need help finding the next good thing to read. I think these ideas really help with that.