Their first-ever parenting book aims to help busy parents get their child “reading ready.” Their new book offers parents 75 quick tips, including age-appropriate booklists, to help infants, toddlers and school-age children discover the power and joy of reading.
As any parent knows, between homework, after-school activities and the upcoming holidays, time is very limited when trying to set aside reading time.
We spoke with Amy and Allison about simple ways to intergrate easy, five-minutes-a-day activites to turn even the most reluctant reader into a rock-star reader!
Q: What can parents expect to learn in Raising a Rock-Star Reader?
Amy Mascott: Parents can expect to learn simple and tangible ways to build literacy skills for their children in ways they never thought possible. Our tips are written for every parent; they're not written for teachers or reading experts or book-lovers. They're written for every, single busy, tired, overwhelmed, stretched-too-thin parent who really just wants their child to become a person who loves books and reading. We wrote this book for our friends, our neighbors, our family members - everyone - because we truly believe that if we can do this, anyone can do it.
Each of the 75 quick tips is short, quick, and easy to digest. Whether parents have 5 minutes or 50, there's some activity they can use in the book. They can read about it and do with their child right there and then.
Q: What inspired you to co-author Raising a Rock-Star Reader?
Amy: Allison and I have co-anchored the Scholastic Raise a Reader blog for the last few years, so it was very natural that we would collaborate on a book that featured our best tips and tricks. We actually have been friends since 2008; Allison and I connected early in our blogging careers and have collaborated on a number of different projects, campaigns and events. Together we strike a really unique balance, since our skill sets complement each other in a unique way. Allison's area of expertise is in younger children and mine is in older kids; Allison is a preschool teacher and graduate student and I taught high school English. Allison really understands the research and theory on child development, since this is her area of expertise and study, and I know the "in's and out's" of literacy from a Reading Specialist's standpoint.
Q: What do you find is the hardest thing today’s parent/grandparent/caregiver encounter when reading to children?
Allison McDonald: As parents ourselves, Amy and I understand how hard it is to be parents and the worry that goes along with every little decision. We know that parents are unsure of the right way to help their child develop literacy skills, we know that they are often too busy to keep up with current research, and that what they need are easy to complete activities, easy to understand advice, and real steps they can use in their everyday lives to put that worry to bed. That’s what this book is all about.
Q: What was your favorite “Rock-Star Reader” moment with your children?
Amy: My favorite 'Rock-Star Reader' moment with my children is most definitely sharing the Harry Potter books with each of my kids. It was the first lengthy chapter book I read aloud to them, and I shared it with each child at different times - when each one was ready. Introducing them to my favorite series by reading the first book aloud to each of them was something I waited what seemed like a lifetime to do. I had watched a fire for reading ignite in student after student when teaching this book, and to see it happen with my own kids was a dream. My own excitement for the characters, setting, plot, conflict and language was soon mirrored by each of my kids, and the comparison of the book to the movie was the perfect next step. It really was so much fun.
Allison: I love watching my oldest read to my youngest. My favorite memories of reading as a child were of my older sister reading to me and my youngest lights up when her brother reads to her. You’d think that that would give me more time to do other things but instead I stop what I am doing and watch their smiles as they share a book and become closer with every page.
Q: The holidays are coming up. What are some 5 top activities parents can do to keep their kids reading-ready and entertained during the long trip?
Allison: First of all, don’t forget to let kids play and entertain themselves. Every moment doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, structured or educational. Play is educational. That said, there are so many fun ways to slip reading in by what you pack and do yourself on the trip.
- Pack books with you. Picture books in a carry-on or maybe an e-reader filled with a series are waiting to be devoured. If you don’t pack it they can’t read it, so make room for books in your bag!
- Play games like "rhyming I-Spy." Instead of looking for a color, you are looking for an object that rhymes with a word the player has said. For example, “ I spy with my little eye something that rhymes with rain...plane!"
- Listen to an audio book on a road trip. This is a fun way to “read” a book together as a family.
- Plan ahead and read a book that has been made into a film before your trip and watch it on the trip. After you are done watching don’t forget to compare the book to the film adaptation.
- Read yourself. Being a reading role model is not optional, it’s something we as parents must do. Amy and I can’t stress this enough, it’s really important. You don’t have to be reading War and Peace to be a good role model. Just be an example of someone who reads for fun.
Q: Where can parents learn more about Raising a Rock-Star Reader?
Allison: Scholastic Parents Raise A Reader Blog is packed with these ideas and more and, of course, Amy’s blog Teach Mama and my blog No Time For Flash Cards are filled with simple ways parents can help their children build literacy skills and have fun while doing it.
Pick up a copy of Raising a Rock-Star Reader today!