National Family Literacy Day – Reading as a Family

National Family Literacy Day - Reading As A Family (2)

Happy National Family Literacy Day!

(November is also National Family Literacy Month!)

I love reading and writing. I have since I was a kid. My kids don’t share that love quite yet, but I’m hoping as they age and I phase out their 21st-century technology (I’ve already put their iPads and the TV into storage), they will read and write more often. I am really trying to make weekly trips to the public library happen. I just wish the library didn’t have so many toys. Kids might be more interested in choosing books if they didn’t have a gazillion other things to do at a LIBRARY.


In the summer, it’s so hard to get the kids to do anything even remotely related to school – and they associate reading and writing with school, which is…boring, of course. But I always have them sit down before bed and I read them a book or two, then have the older kids each read a book. They like that because it’s like being a teacher – showing the class each page and making funny noises.

In the fall, winter, and spring, we read at bedtime, and now that their devices are gone, in the mornings before school, on the weekends instead of morning cartoons, and I also have a pile of books in the car for Hannah for the forty-five-minute car-line wait. We will be reading and writing a lot more this season. We had snow in October this year, so I’m expecting an extremely cold, snowy winter.

I’m starting a habit of having the kids practice writing after dinner before they get ready for bed. It doesn’t leave much time on weekdays, but on the weekends, we get a bit more creative, with crayons, colored pencils, and other tools to make it fun. Because honestly, most of the time, it’s like pulling teeth trying to get them all to sit down and write.


I read to them upstairs while they are getting ready for school and at the table in the kitchen while eating breakfast. Avery will read to us in the car on the way to and from school/Target/etc. I try to get them to read at the library, but as I said above, too many toys.

After they have been bathed and dressed for bed, they gather their favorite blankets and pile onto my bed for story time before bed. I usually just read them the library books we picked out the Saturday before since two out three kids don’t like chapter books (there aren’t any pictures to look at in chapter books).

I have them write at the desk in Avery’s room or the dining room table. Hannah and Lauren practice letters and numbers, and I have Avery pick a prompt a day to write about (some personal, some fictional, some seasonal). I try to have her write more than a few lines, and focus on her spelling and keeping her letters all about the same size.


Books about Moana, Elena of Avalor, Elsa and Anna, Daniel Tiger and pretty much any other character are all things they love to read. I make it a habit to check the library’s online catalog for certain characters and books the week before we go, so things our library doesn’t have can be ordered from the neighboring libraries. Avery also loves learning about different things like dinosaurs, rocks and minerals, cats, and horses. I try to get them to each choose a fiction and a nonfiction book every time, but sometimes, characters win out. As long as they read it, I don’t mind! We also practice sight words with flashcards any time we can fit it in.


I do not like reading nonfiction. At all. I like fiction – especially the paranormal kind. The Mortal Instruments series, Clockwork series, Harry Potter (of course) and Matt Archer series (one of my all-time favorites). I have over 500 books in my Kindle app, but honestly, I only read a few of my favorites over and over. It’s comforting (just like how I watch Supernatural and iZombie over and over. Never get tired of it.)

I also write paranormal fiction. Bigfoot, vampires, werewolves/shifters, and my current work in progress, about Nordic mythology (lots of research for that one, so it’s pretty slow-going). I’ve never finished anything and I’ve never shown my work to anyone. I don’t think I ever will, just because I don’t want to be judged. That may change if I ever finish something worth publishing. We’ll see.


It’s also National Stress Awareness Day. I read because it calms me down. Reading helps me fall asleep (and it gives me something to do in the middle of the night when I just can’t go back to sleep). I read because it’s the only thing I’ve done for the past twenty-five-ish years that remains constant (except for the two years after Hannah was born when I just could not read anything to save my life. It was a sad two years, book-wise.)

National Family Literacy Day - Reading As A Family (2)

Continue Reading

Summer Book Club | Kids Edition

Summer Book Club | Beth Hardinger Blog

Samson The Piranha Who Went to Dinner | Beth Hardinger Blog

Summer Book Club | Kids Edition

This week, Avery chose a book about a piranha. Samson: The Piranha Who Went to Dinner by Tadgh Bentley. Avery’s almost 8, and enjoys chapter books (shorter ones – she hasn’t quite moved into Harry Potter territory yet), but this wasn’t a chapter book. I try to have them pick out their own books, for the most part, even if the books seem a little too easy – or a little too hard.

Samson is beautifully illustrated. He’s definitely the cutest piranha I’ve ever seen! Samson the “foodie” piranha loves to explore, unlike the other piranhas. He wanted more than just the same old thing, day after day, especially food. Samson learned that some new, fancy restaurants were opening nearby, so he ventured out to try them.

Summer Book Club | Beth Hardinger Blog

The best things about the book are the phrases the other fish say to Samson. A few of Avery’s favorites were: “Salty mother of mackerel!”, “Scaly Neptune’s crabcakes!”, and “For the love of smoky sea bass!”

Basically, the story is about always being yourself – being you is okay. Samson learns that if the world doesn’t have what you want – a fancy restaurant with yummy food – you do what you have to do to get what you want. You don’t have to hide what you are.

Summer Book Club | Beth Hardinger Blog

I found a cute activity to do along with the book! We will be trying this soon! All three of my kids loved this book!

Summer Book Club | Beth Hardinger Blog

Continue Reading