We all wear many hats in our crazy, busy lives, and when I’m not working as a family photographer, I’m working hard at one of my other jobs...the main one being Mama and Educator to two amazing kiddos.
I have found the key to solid interactions between me and my kids—the kind that releases all those feel good hormones and has us coming back for more—is often a good point of connection. We need that activity that feels good to all of us, that leaves no one thinking I guess I have to do this to humor him/her.
That point of connection for us is most often reading, and there have been a few key resources in finding the best books to fuel our reading adventures together. I thought I’d share a couple of them here in case you and your Littles are looking for ways to connect and reading together happens to be your happy place, too (along with a few pics from a recent family photo shoot because...well, they were too cute not to).
A friend turned me on to this wonderful resource this past year; we have used it again and again and plan to keep going back for more as the kids enter new developmental levels. This amazing homeschooling mama of six has put together reading lists of the very best books for all different categories—young readers, board books, picture books for ancient history, etc. She says her goal is to help kids fall in love with reading, and she does a great job. We have yet to find a book from her lists that we haven’t all enjoyed.
We stumbled upon this great series of biographies from DK Publishing at our local library. My eight year old and I have enjoyed learning about the lives of various heroes from Helen Keller to Albert Einstein, from Jane Goodall to Harriet Tubman. This collection seems to emphasize the stories of peace builders, of characters who showed great strength in the face of adversity and those who lived their lives to the fullest. I highly recommend reading these aloud if you have a curious first, second or third grader.
It is with some hesitation that I make this final recommendation. Months ago, when I first thought about writing this blog, this book was a great connection point between my then four year and me. Since then, the magic has faded and lessons that were supposed to last 20 minutes stretched to 40 minutes and instead of bringing us together, my insistence that he learn to read was driving us apart. We have since stopped using this book. I still believe, however, that it’s a great resource. We may return to it in the future, or we may abandon it altogether for a different approach.
What I like is the systematic approach to reading through a word, learning the sounds of the letters and eventually combining them in order to sound out words. They have drawn a ball with a line under each word to guide your child’s finger through the word as they sound it out. I’m finding it a little hard to describe, maybe you should check it out.
For my daughter, it worked great. She picked up reading easily and we never made it through all 100 lessons. For my son, we may have a different journey, and I’m okay with that. I truly believe it’s about meeting each kid where he or she is and finding the best ways to challenge our kids to reach the next level.
Well, those are a few great resources for connecting with your kiddos through reading together that I know. Maybe you have your own great ideas—I’d love it if you shared them below. And...
I wish a thousand blessings on you and the many hats you will wear today.
Holly Freeman is a lifestyle family photographer based in Lakewood, Colorado. Her passion is romping through beautiful Colorado landscapes, capturing those deep connections between family members. If you want your own set of family portraits to cherish into the future, inquire about a photo session here.