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From Pages to Solutions: Bonding, Learning, and Growing Through Problem-Solving with Books

Updated: Feb 9

photo of book stack with quote "In my home, I prioritize books to solve a ton of my mama worries."

Part of my mission as not only a mom but a literacy advocate to help other moms is to shine a light on the effectiveness of literacy in all areas of life. In my home, I prioritize books to solve a ton of my mama worries. If you got a problem, YO, books'll solve it - check out the facts while my DJ revolves it.

*Disclaimer - I don't have a DJ, and if you don't understand this it's because I'm old 😅

Problem: Too much screen time

Let me begin by saying that I am NOT one of the moms that limits screentime. My son is usually able to watch tv or use his tablet when he requests. Sometimes, we even pair our activities with tv - like watching videos about shapes and letters while he works on his wooden shapes and alphabet puzzles. However, I do encourage him (and if he's resistant we come to an agreement together) about doing time without screens each day so he can be physically active, flex his imagination, and work on different skills.

Solution: Interactive Books / Activity Books

I was such a sucker for Highlights when I was a kid because it was engaging with puzzles and games splattered throughout the readings. Highlights are still around, and still just as good, but kids today can also choose re-useable activity books. No more scribbling out errors or tossing it when you've completed it, because now you can wipe them clean and start over! I would've been addicted to these when I was kid if we'd had them around. For my son (2.5 yrs), we've found that books with cut outs and flaps are the most engaging for him currently. Any time he's reluctant to spend some time hitting the books, I always pull out one of the tried and true with flaps or holes and he's immediately on board. Try different kinds of interactive books and see what your child seems to enjoy the most, and if you need a little help in figuring out which ones may work best for your child's developmental level I would love to chat with you and make some suggestions!

Problem: Dislike / No desire to read

One of the biggest tips I can give to a parent is to never present reading as if it's a chore or punishment. Present it as a gift, entertainment, and a luxury and your child will automatically go into reading with a positive outlook. However, there will still be those children that just don't seem to enjoy it.

Solution: Reading material that is appealing to their interests, combined with a culture of reading

Get your children more comfortable with reading by letting them see you reading. Creating this culture of reading in your home is the best way to create the interest in your child. Find different kinds of reading materials - maybe your child hates chapter books, but would LOVE reading a graphic novel. That still promotes a culture and love of literacy while being tailored to fit your child's interests, which means it will likely be much more successful! If you'd like more information on tips for getting your child to love reading, I'd love for you to read this previous post I made all about it!

Problem: Need help in supporting education

Some families choose to homeschool because they prefer it. I honestly would love to homeschool my son once he is of school age. But even those families that choose not to homeschool have been forced into it with school closures due to the pandemic. What did most find out? That they were correct in choosing not to homeschool. It is not an easy task to take on, especially when it wasn't by your own choice. I truly send my heart out to the parents that have been juggling this for the last 2 years, because I don't think I would've been able to handle it. Yes, I have been locked down with a needy toddler and a lot of parents of school age kids have said the same thing to me, but I think I'd rather take diaper duty than NTI learning! Having said that, I met a ton of moms over the last 2 years that were seeking ways to make the learning process easier both for themselves and their children, and I have been able to show them some tips and items to do just that!

Solution: Find nonfiction / educational books that are also fun

Educational books don't have to be boring textbooks. I personally love reading historically based fiction, so you learn about history even if it is from the perspective of a fictional person. But also, finding nonfiction books that present facts in a fun way is key. Learning about the human body? Try reading this book about it while you put together a puzzle showing how blood travels through the body. Find books with bite sized chunks of information and not lengthy and wordy text. This makes it much easier for children to get through and retain because all the extra fluff is removed and they can focus on the important bits and pieces. Finding ways to relate the topic to real life so the it's less of an abstract concept is also highly beneficial.

Problem: Struggling to learn to read

Similar to the schoolwork and supplementing education, this one can be quite stressful for both parent and kiddo. Struggling to read can also cause a disinterest in reading for your child, so it's important to provide a relaxed setting and good material to help them learn in a positive manner.

Solution: Use a leveled set / program that takes out the guess work

Using a predetermined leveled set can help take the guess work out. Don't base this on their age, because every child is different and that's okay. Base it on their skill level and vocabulary, so the level they are practicing will be challenging while not feeling overwhelming. There's a great method to do this, which I've compiled into a handy guide here that you can get delivered right to your email inbox!

Problem: Below reading level / vocabulary level for age

Are you worried your child is behind? First, always remember that every child is different. They grow at different rates, learn at different rates, and are individually different people and this is okay.

Solution: Just keep reading

Practice is the fastest road to progress. Spend 15 minutes each day reading to your child, with your child, or having your child read independently. Studies have shown that even this small window of reading time per time is enough to improve your child's literacy skills and vocabulary. If your child needs the extra motivation, try a reading reward chart somewhere easily visible to your child near their bookshelf.

Problem: Low connection / engagement with kids

One of my standout memories from my childhood were the Saturdays I'd spend at the public library with my mother. She taught me how to use the Dewey Decimal System, we'd get lost in the aisles of books for hours, I often would find a book to read while there, and then I'd pick a couple to check out and take home with me while my mom did the same. I cherish those memories because my mom shared her love of books with me on a regular basis and sparked my love for all things literacy while creating a fun and 1:1 special time for us.

Solution: Read aloud

Reading aloud with your child not only helps improve their literacy skills and attention span, but creates an opportunity for bonding and memory making. Reading to or with your child shows them that their books and reading skills, and them in general, are important to you. You make your child feel special by offering that moment of undivided attention, and that means the world to a kiddo! It opens up opportunities for conversations by discussing the readings, and can help to have difficult conversations that your child may not yet have the verbal skills to express or are afraid to express until they see a comparable character going through the same thing.



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