Tag Archives: 31 days

Day 17: Get Carded (Library Carded, that is)

Last year on the first day of school, the boy got his very own official library card.

It was monumental.

Want you kid to have a love for reading? Have him get a library card.

There is a secret to this trick though. Anyone can get a library card card if they are a resident of a city and can write their name. They can then immediately stuff that card into a wallet or the back of a desk drawer and never, ever use it again.

Or that person can get a library card on a special day (first day of school, birthday, Columbus day, Tuesday) and know that with that card comes great privilege and responsibility. They can come to understand that one little plastic card can get them any book or movie or CD their little heart desires. A library card opens many doors to the young reader and gives them ownership in the act of borrowing of reading materials.

It also teaches a harsh reality when it comes to being responsible for books and dealing with late fines.

(I am the worst about late fines. Always have been. I resist the urgent to analyze what this may/may not mean about my character)

Our family visits the library at least once a week.  Each child has a library bag and a library card. They are asked to check out a variety of books each week. Our list includes:


One science book

One history book

One art or music appreciation book

One craft or how-to book

One biography or autobiography

One classic novel (*Evelyn is asked to get a few readers rather than a long chapter book)

One book of poetry

After they collect these books, they are free to load up on whatever else looks interesting to them. We usually leave with a haul. Most of it gets read during the week while a few go untouched for various reasons. We return it all the next week and start fresh, looking for new treasures among the shelves of our library.

Does your child have a library card? What is his/her favorite thing to scoop up while pursuing the aisles?

Day 15: Read the book…see the play

This year, the boy is learning about various genres in literature. He is reading a quality book in a specific genre and then completeing extension activitives about the book and the facets of the genre. So far, this has been a really fun way to grow his literary habits and for the two of us to dig deep into various types of books.

A few weeks ago we wrapped up our study on Adventure books. Being a boy, Isaac is all about the adventure story. One of the books he read during this time was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Over the summer when I was planning for the upcoming school year, I noticed that The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was playing at a local theater company.


Last Friday the children and I took school on the road and set out to enjoy this production. Isaac loved seeing the pages of a book he had read and studied come to life on the stage. Ironically, he became terribly involved in the suspense and got upset when he thought danger had taken the life of Tom.

Being the compassionate mother that I am, I leaned over and said, “Dude, you have read the book. You know what happens.”

Mom of the Year over here.

Taking children to see a play based on a book they have read is a great way to ignite a love for reading and for literature. When the story becomes alive on the stage, suddenly loved characters of a book are real and interactive. The places that were once only residing in a child’s imagination are suddenly right before their eyes.

Plays are a great way to encourage a love for books and for the wonder they hold.

Day 14: Step away from the Dora books… (Finding quality children’s books)

It is safe to say that most parents want their children to read, yet some do not know what their child should be reading.

Often times this lack of direction or information leads parents to snatch up the first book bearing the grinning face of a familiar cartoon character

If Dora and that weird monkey wearing galoshes is on the cover, than the book must be good…right?

One could not be more wrong, dear reader.

It only takes a quick peek inside the (hallowed) walls of one’s Barnes and Nobel to see that their is no shortage when it comes to children’s books. There is an abundance of books for children, books about childern, books written by children; all waiting to be scooped up by the literature-loving consumer.

How blessed are we to live in a time when society realizes the need for books oriented towards the child?

Despite this abundance, it is safe to say that some of these books bearing the title of “child lit” are garbage. They are poorly written, have little to no plot line, and do nothing to challenge the mind of a child.

And, yes, some of them are bearing a Disney princess on the cover.

There are a few great resources for parents searching for quality literature. My favorite book that provides a quality list of books for children is Honey for a Child’s Heart.  Books Children Love and Read for the Heart are also great resources.

Below are some of our favorites


Picture Books

Berenstain Bear series

How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight

Bedtime for Frances

Moon Plane


The Snowy Day

The Big Red Barn (and anything by Margaret Wise Brown)



Beginning Readers

Henry and Mudge Series

BOB books

Frog and Toad series

Amelia Bedelia


Chapter Books:

Little House series

Boxcar Children

A to Z Mysteries

Magic Tree House series

Gernomio Stilton series

Charlotte’s Web

Treasure Island

Harriet the Spy (my favorite growing up)

My Father’s Dragon

Ramona series

Ivy and Bean


What are some of your favorite books for kids?




Day 12: Books as Problem-Solvers

Most of us probably loved books as small children. As babies, we likely enjoyed nawwing on a a chunky board book. As toddlers, we loved the feel of carrying books around the house. As preschoolers we found pleasure in being read to by an adult or older sibling.

Then we eventually head off to school and at some point books become assosicated with work.

During my two years of grad school, I doubt I read one book merely for fun. Do not misunderstand…I read a lot (a lot!) during that time but it was all school-associated. I remember the husband and I talking at one point about how nice it would be to read for fun once all of our schooling was behind us.

One way to break this association that older kids may make between reading and school work is to help them understand the usefulness of books at an early age. Books open many doors, including ways to help the reader overcome real life battles.


Issues with bullying? Check out The Juice Box Bully. or 100 Dresses

Having problems getting along with siblings? Read The Berenstain Bears Get in a Fight

School anxiety plague your little one? Try 100th Day Worries

Little ones having a difficult time controlling their anger? Pull out When Sophie Gets Angry

Children having issue with rude language? The Berenstain Bears Show Some Respect


Showing children that books posses power is a great way to ignite a love for reading. In this case, showing kids how they can read stories that relate to their own lives and situations helps them understand that books are not merely for the classroom.



Day 10: Have a Book Picnic

For some, books seem stiff and boring. They do not talk. They lack a touchscreen with animated sounds. They are housed on dusty shelves placed out of reach from curious hands.

For some, books hold very little wonder.

To inspire a love of reading in children, they sometimes need to be shown the wonder that the written word can hold. A great way to encourage exploration of books is to take them outside. Fall is the perfect time to gather a large stack of books, a big quilt, some tasty treats and head outdoors to read. Books are not meant to be used only indoors in stuffy situations. They are meant to inspire and stimulate the imagination.

I cannot think of a better place for these things to happen than outside.

Day 7: What Happens in Book Club, Stays in Book Club

Admit it: We all think clubs are kind-of cool.

Even those of us who may act like they do not think clubs are cool, find some sort of anti-club to join. (thus joining a club)

Being a part of something gives us a sense of belonging. It gives us a cause to believe in. It provides a way for us to connect.

If one were to flip through my senior yearbook, it may be noted that I was a member of quite a few clubs. This was in no way because I was terribly interested in any of the club’s misson statements nor because I felt strongly about a particular issue.

Instead my membership was solely based on two things:

1. Getting my picture in the yearbook a lot.

2. Being with my friends.

Encouraging your child to have an interest in books can be as easy as starting a family book club. Family book clubs can look a variety of ways, depending on the age and reading level of participants. Younger children can share a book with mommy and daddy and then talk about it afterwards. Perhaps an extension activity such as drawing a picture about the story or making a craft to go along with the book happens after reading together.

Older kids and parents can read books separately and then come together to discuss them. My husband and son have done this on several occasions. They read the same book and then talk about it (or giggle over it, in the case of this series).  Older kids can also do a project to go along with their book, such as making a lapbook or creating a diorama (yes…for fun and not for a grade.)

Creating a book club that meets at a particular time (even if that meeting occurs around the dinner table on a regular ol Tuesday) is a fabulous way to encourage children to read.

Some great starter books include:

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf (extension activities found here)

Berenstain Bear books (these are great for non-readers because they open up lots of topics for discussion)

Little House on the Prairie Series

The Invention of Hugo Cabret  (Husband and son did this one last winter)

My Father’s Dragon (Husband and son doing this series right now)


Does your family have a book club? If so, what are some things you do to make book club fun and interesting?




Day 5: Take it on the Run, Baby

When my children were babies, there were times I would load them up and drive around town aimlessly in hopes of entertaining one and putting the other to sleep.

Years later, I find it amusing that we would get in the car and drive for entertainment. These days, we log many, many miles in the family station wagon. We drive to co-op, we drive to PE, we drive to dance, we drive to church, we drive to Target.

We drive a lot.

Although the current model of the family station wagon does sport a DVD player, we have a pretty strict rule that movies are not turned on unless we are driving for more than 250 miles (*or in case of extreme emergency). Occasionally the kids bring along a Nintendo DS or an iPod touch, but usually we have a no technology rule in the car as well.

What does that leave for two kiddos to do while running all over a large metro area?


Bringing books in the car is a great way to inspire a love of reading. When the kids were little, I kept the backseat stockpiled with board books for them to look through/toss on the floor/use as a snack tray for Cheerios. These days the kids are in charge of bringing their reading entertainment. They know as they are gathering their shoes and water bottles, they also need to grab a few books on the way out the door as well.

Encourage your kids to bring books in the car. A confined time to browse some fun titles is a great way to encourage a love of reading.

Go ahead and toss one in the car for yourself…you never know when the carpool lane will take an extra 30 minu


Day 3: Set the Example (31 Days towards a love of reading)

One of the most humbling aspects of being a parent is when you hear your words come out of your child’s mouth.

And those words are not pretty.

These words are not the standard off-limit four letter words. They are not swear words. Rather they are words of impatience, grumpiness and frustration. Ugh.

Such times leaving me running for my copy of “Power of a Postive Mom” and attempting my best impersonation of June Cleaver’s even tones.

These times also remind me that little ones are constantly watching my actions and words so they can follow my lead.

Fortunately, children do not merely hone in on our negative traits and copy them for all the world to see. They also pick up on our positive qualities, which can be a significant key to getting children to love reading. One of the best ways to get kids interested in books is to set the example.

Here is my nightstand

Obviously I have yet to embrace the e-reader)

OObviously we love us a good book around here.

Because we are both avid readers, our children see us quite often with a book of some sort in our hands. The husband is particularly good about telling the kids about what he is reading. He pulls out something interesting to share with them from his book. Regardless of the genre of book (business to science fiction…and everything in between), both children become really interested in the fact shared.

Set the reading example for your children. Turn off the TV, stop cleaning up the kitchen for the 7th time that day (have I mentioned that my seven year old somehow managed to have the world’s worst apple juice spill with only a 1/4 cup of juice the other morning? It was on the wall, the window, the baseboards and the floor. Sigh.) and sit down to read. Do not wait for little ones to be tucked in for the evening. Read now while they are awake and happily playing (even if “happily playing” only lasts about five minutes as it does in my house some days).

You will all be inspired.


This is a part of a “31 Series” hosted by The Nester 

31 Days towards a Love of Reading

Want to know what is really great about the Internet?

Creative, inspired, and well-spoken individuals can all come together and share thoughts to motivate others.

And they allow the rest of us to tag along.

For the month of October, The Nester is hosting a “31 series” in which people share 31 posts (one per day) of something for the good of others. Sure the Internet is frustrating at times. And yes, Internet Addiction is about to be added to the new DSM V (let us pause and discuss how the DSM III had just hit the shelves when I started Grad School. Dear Time: Quit Flying.). However, the World Wide Web also allows us to learn and share, the basic rules of friendship we all were taught in our preschool days.

Ignore the fact that the calender reads October 3rd today and I will graciously acknowledge that I am a bit late to the party.

For my 31 Days, I opted to share how to cultivate a love of reading in one’s home. Books are so incredibly important to us here at casa de phillips. The husband and I both entered into our marital union holding a strong affection for a good book. When we travel, we carry no less than 3 books per person and likely toss in a few magazines as well. Reading is third to breathing and eating to us.

We desire for our children to share a love for reading as well.

I hope you will follow along with me this month as I discuss tips, tricks, and ideas on how to ignite a love of reading in children.

Day 1 will be posted shortly.

(Want to write your own 31 Days series? No worries, there is still time to jump on the late bus with me! Head over to The Nester and link up!)


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