reading for fun

Author Focus: Jennifer L. Holm

I have noticed the covers of Jennifer L. Holm’s numerous books on the shelves of our school and public libraries for years. Last month, I picked one up for the first time. Followed by another, and another until I’d read a good chunk of them. I am now a fan.

If you are looking for quality middle grade books for almost any kind of reader, Jennifer L. Holm might be just the author you are looking for. A few of the categories her books fall into include: historical fiction, science-themed stories, novels starring girls, books starring boys, a pinch of fantasy, humor, and a host of graphic novels that she co-wrote with her brother Matthew Holm.

Plus, her stories are really good!

Many of her novels are based on or inspired by stories of Jennifer’s own family. I learned bits of history that I never knew before, discovered characters I loved, laughed, cried and was thoroughly entertained by the stories that fill up her books.

The following books are excellent middle grade reads (including 3 Newbery Honor books) and I am excited to recommend them to you.

A Reading Challenge for Your Kids, Bingo Style!

Confession: I am a sucker for New Year’s resolutions, or goals as I like to call them.

Last year I set a goal to read 100 books in 2018; the week before Christmas I finished Frankenstein to complete it. This year I’m going for 100 again. I like setting a number, but I hold it loosely. I don’t want the pressure of reaching my goal to detract from the joy I find in reading.

I’ve talked to my kids about setting reading goals too. While I don’t want them to feel pressured by the goals, my hope is that they will be motivated by them. Some have set a number, some have said they want to read more nonfiction, others have ignored the idea completely. I am good with each of their responses. I want the idea of a reading challenge to be fun and if it’s not, then I don’t want them to do it.

For those who have set goals, I do what I can to help. Whether that means helping them start a notebook to track their reading or to periodically ask how they are doing. It’s fun to talk about (at least for me) and it’s one more way we can connect over books and reading.

5 Simple Ways to Encourage a Culture of Reading in Your Home

I have always been a bookworm. Books have played an important role in my life and from the moment I became a mom, my hope was to raise kids with a similar appreciation.

I know their love of reading will look different than mine, but my hope has always been that my kids would enjoy the simple pleasure of getting lost in a good book.

If you have a similar goal, I’m excited to share a few ideas. The ideas are simple. You probably already do several of them intuitively. They are also easy to implement, BUT they do take time and intentionality. In other words, they involve a little work. If you are up for the challenge, below are five simple ways to encourage a culture of reading in your home.

Summer Boredom Busters Courtesy of Mr. Dewey's Decimals

“Mom, I’m bored.” These dreaded words tend to echo around our house more and more as summer lengthens into July and August. Often followed with a request to play video games, no matter how many times I have told them no. My resolve to help my kids embrace boredom tends to be at it’s strongest in June. But my kids are persistent and by mid-July and August, their resolve for playdates with Mario begins to make me seriously question my resistance. 

I will often prescribe a list of ideas to cure their boredom woes. Read a book. Go play outside. Would you like a chore? Rarely are my suggestions met with enthusiasm. And when it’s the 304th time I’ve suggested the same tired ideas, we all sigh at my lack of creativity.  

Recently I had an epiphany. I don’t know that it will chase the boredom from their lives permanently, but it definitely provides more options with the potential to push them away from Mario towards more creative endeavors and strengthen my resolve against video games closer to the end of July. 


20 Ways to Keep your Kids Reading All Summer Long

In exactly one week my kids will be getting off the bus for the last time this school year. Summer break is almost here. I can't wait for the slower pace and extra reading time summer brings. 

Not all my kids agree, about the extra reading time I mean. The summer slide is a real thing, and no I’m not talking about your local park’s playground equipment. I’m talking about the tendency for young readers (especially the more reluctant ones) to fall off the reading bandwagon over the summer months. Several articles I’ve read suggest that by reading six books over the summer, you can keep your kids from losing ground on their reading skills. I don’t know about you, but that feels doable. 

If, however, getting your child to read one book, let alone six, feels like an unreachable goal, or if you are simply looking for more ways to maintain a reading culture in your house this summer, I’ve got you covered. Below is a list of 20 ways you can help your kids keep reading all summer long. 

A Book is NEVER too Young, When You are Reading for Fun!

“I used to read these all the time when I was little,” she said as she handed me a “Who Was” book to check out. She said it as if she was a little embarrassed to be checking out a book she'd read as a 3rd grader now that she was coming to the end of her 5th grade year. 

“I thought it would be fun to read it again," she added with a shrug.

“Absolutely!” I said as I handed back the book, and I meant it from the bottom of my book-loving heart.