SFP 162: Reading Aloud + Our Book Overhaul [with Emily Cook of Build Your Library]

I recently went through and did a huge book overhaul. I got rid of all the "twaddle" in favor of prioritizing high quality, well-written children's books. To quote today's guest Emily Cook, "well-read children will grow into well-read adults". In this episode, Emily and I talk about reading aloud and choosing great books for our children.

Show Notes/Links:

Hi, it's episode 162. And today we're talking about reading to our kids and I'm going to share some big changes we've made in this department In our house.

You are listening to the Simple Families podcast, the Q and A style show that brings you solutions for living well with family. Here's your host Denaye Barahona.

Hi, there, It's Denaye here. Thanks for tuning in. It's funny recently, I had someone email me and tell me that my voice sounds really tired, and I think I would generally disagree with that. But today I think it actually does sound tired and it probably has something to do with the fact that this past week has been really amazing, but exhausting as well, just a week ago, my first book, Simple Happy Parenting came out and the response has been so overwhelming. And I want to say thank you all for your support. And while we're on the topic of books, that's what we're talking about today. We're talking about reading aloud to our kids. I have a guest today, Emily Cook from build your library, and I have learned so much from her. So I'm excited to introduce you, but first here's a quick word from our sponsor. The sponsor for today's episode is Simple Contacts, and I will openly admit that when Simple Contacts approached me as a sponsor for the podcast about a year or so ago, I was hesitant because I thought, Hmm, a mail-order contact company.

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All right, today's listener. Spotlight comes from Melanie via Instagram, and she just wrote to me about Simple, Happy Parenting. And she said, I just finished the book. I would have happily read it in one day, but you know, life, I can't tell you enough how much I enjoyed this book. First, you have such a gift for writing. I've read several parenting books, and this was such an easy read with so many nuggets of parenting truth. I literally caught myself saying amen, sister out loud after reading some of the pages, I would reread portions to my husband. And he was equally as impressed. So many parenting books could put you to sleep in a second, but not this one. Also I couldn't help, but to declutter while reading it. And I started with the playroom Denaye. I lie to you, not my son said, this is the best day ever last night.

They played it peacefully for two hours straight there. I made dinner without the constant mom, mommy, mama. They were having a blast. I could cry because last night was so amazing. And I mean, there were a few squabbles, but they played exponentially better than before. And I honestly felt like I was already pretty intentional about what went in there, but clearly I had more to do I can't. Thank you enough. Thank you so much for your kind words, Melanie. I love hearing your stories and I love hearing about your thoughts and reflections on Simple Happy Parenting. So keep sending me those. You can send them via email or Instagram or however fits you. Now I've had a lot of people asking about what's on the agenda for upcoming programs for Simple Families. And I will give you a little heads up that I am going to be running the mental unload, which is the program that focuses on your own wellbeing and on partnership.

We'll be doing that again in July mid July. So make sure you're on the email list to stay in touch with that. And then I'll be launching the master class in the beginning of September. And for anyone new out there listening, the masterclass was really built as an extension of Simple Happy Parenting. So if you read the book and you feel like you want to know more and you want to simplify your home and simplify your parenting and do it within a community, the masterclass is going to take you to the next level. So again, the mental unloads going to run in the middle of July and the masterclass at the beginning of September, make sure you're on the email list, go to simple families.com and you can leave your email address at the top to get more info and updates about those. All right, back to today's episode.

So I stumbled upon Emily Cook when I was doing some research about homeschooling and she does work in the homeschooling space. But when I read her book a literary education, I just felt like you all needed to hear this stuff too, whether or not your homeschooling Emily's approach to reading was really eyeopening for me. And it's already made such a difference in my home. So a little bit about Emily. Emily is the author and creator of build your library. And she also has a YouTube channel called ARG schooling. And I'll put the links to all that in the show notes, not only does Emily have amazing insight on the read aloud process with our children, but she also has really great book lists. And I found so many great books that I would have never heard of otherwise. So Emily's work is inspired and infused with the teachings of Charlotte Mason and Charlotte Mason was an educator from around a century ago in England among lots of other things.

Charlotte Mason was an advocate for avoiding dry textbooks and bad literature for kids. Now, when I say bad literature, I'm talking about things like pop patrol books and in our house recently, an angry bird transformer book. And in my conversation with Emily today, I'm sharing a little bit more about the angry bird transformer book, but just in case you're wondering, yes, the angry birds become a transformers. And I'll say it was probably twofold. A combination of Emily's book, a literary education and the angry bird transformer book that has completely transformed the way that we are buying and keeping books in our house. If you want to learn more about Emily or any of the things that we're talking about today, go to simplefamilies.com/episode162. So without further ado, here's my chat with Emily.

Denaye Barahona: Hi, Emily. Thanks so much for coming on the show today. Thanks for having me. I am excited to chat with you. I recently finished your book and I can tell you that I got so much inspiration from it. And I'm excited to ask you my list of questions and go over some of the things that I highlighted and got excited about. Awesome. That's great. So first tell us about you and tell us about what you do.

Emily: Sure. Um, my name is Emily Cook and I'm the author and creator of build your library homeschool curriculum, which is a secular literature-based curriculum inspired by the philosophy of Charlotte Mason. I'm also the author of a literary education adapting show. Let me send for modern secular homeschooling. I'm the mother of four amazing children who have always been homeschooled. My oldest daughter is turning 20 this summer and she's a college student majoring in creative writing. I have twin sons that are turning 17 this summer and they'll be graduating high school next year. And my youngest daughter is 10 and she thinks she's the queen of our house.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah, my daughter who's the youngest also very much feels like she's the queen. And she might, in some ways be the queen.

Emily: Yeah. It's the youngest child syndrome, I think.

Denaye Barahona: Yes, I totally agree. So let me tell you why I was attracted to your book and just sort of some of my, my background with reading. So I was attracted to your book. I'm interested in learning more about Charlotte Mason and, um, I think we should probably explain a little bit about Charlotte Mason, for those of you, those listening, who are not familiar. Um, but I'll tell you, I first tried to read the original Charlotte Mason works, which everyone says you should do. And I struggled to get through them. And the reality is that I really struggled to read classic works. And this is something that has become more aware of me that I haven't really read a lot of classic books and I have always had a hard time getting through them. And when I was in school, I sort of forced my way through them and didn't feel like I was reading them well.

Denaye Barahona: Um, and whenever I've tried to buy classic books for my kids, I find that I don't get quite as excited about them. Um, so when I saw your book about adapting Charlotte Mason, for a more modern perspective, that made me excited to think that there, that there is good literature out there rather than just the stuff that was written a hundred years ago. Um, but I was also hoping for maybe a little bit of insight into how we can inspire kids and even adults like me to read more of the classic stuff and enjoy it more. Yeah.

Emily: Yeah. I totally understand that because I think school tends to make harder than it needs to be. And so I feel like school kind of takes the love out of reading, especially with classics because they make you study them for months at a time and you get sick of those books. So it definitely takes the love out of reading.

Denaye Barahona: It absolutely does. So tell us now, Charlotte, Mason, wasn't originally a homeschool curriculum or even related to homeschool. Tell us just briefly what Charlotte Mason's approach was and why it's relevant today.

Emily: She was revolutionary for her time, back in the time that she was alive and spreading her ideas, it was around the turn of the century. And at that period of time, teaching was all about filling children with knowledge and memorizing facts. And she believed that children were capable of learning on their own, that they didn't need a teacher drilling information into them, that they could use real books and learn ideas from those things. And her ideas were amazing for that time. And they're still very much usable today. And I just think that's a really important thing about teaching children is that you don't have to be the bearer of all knowledge, that you can show them how to learn and they can take what they can from books and other resources as well, like documentaries. And there's so much knowledge in the world that's available,

Denaye Barahona: Right? We as adults don't have to be the end, all be all of the knowledge. And that makes me think I had this very pivotal moment when I was probably five years old where I was riding in the car with my mom. And I think I may have told this story on the podcast before, but we were riding in the car and I asked my mom what's the song playing on the radio. And she said, I don't know. And I was like, what do you mean you don't know? And she's like, I just don't know. And it just, at that moment, it became apparent to me that my mother didn't know everything. And before that, I guess I just had always thought she knew everything in the world. And that has always made me really cognizant cognizant of the fact that I want to teach my kids. That there's a whole lot out there that I don't know. And there's a whole lot that they can teach me too.

Emily: Yes, yes. I've always made it a point with my children that if they ask a question, I try not to answer it for them. I try to say, I don't know, let's find out. And then we go and look up at a book or watch a video and explore it together.

Denaye Barahona: Right. Rather than being a know it all leading them to find out the answers for themselves. So with Charlotte Mason, she advocated for certain types of books. Can you tell us about what a living book is and what the opposite of a living book is?

Emily: Absolutely. Our living book is a book that is, well-written often by a single author who is passionate about the subject matter. And it's written in a way that really brings the story or the subject to life. It doesn't have to be fiction, can be non-fiction as well. And it's just, it's. I like to say that if you have a favorite book that you've always loved, that is probably a living book because it's stuck with you and the opposite would be Twaddle and Twaddle. It would be a book that is either written down to a child or it's poorly written. It's usually something like a really long running series with the same characters or, um, something like cartoon characters, like based around a popular cartoon and textbooks could also fall into this category just because they're usually written in such a dull, boring way that it, you're not really learning anything. You're just sort of trying to memorize the information.

Denaye Barahona: Right. And you know, I really that's become more apparent to me as I've started to learn more about this idea of living books, that textbooks are really for just getting a whole bunch of knowledge into your head really quickly. Yeah.

Emily: Yes.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. The important words are highlighted. You write them down, remember this, this and this. You're not really taking the information and working with it and analyzing it the way that you are with other types of stories when you're hearing material through, in other ways like with living books. So Twaddle really interests me. So I have always kind of been of the mindset that reading any kind of reading to our kids is great. And we should just let them read what they like to read. And I never really put a ton of thought in it. I tried to buy great books and beautiful books for my kids. And we do have a lot of really beautiful, fabulous books. But in the past year I've noticed my kids really leaning towards garbage books. And this became so obvious to me about a month or two ago, when my son, I bought this for him, like I'm embarrassed to admit that I bought this for him, but it was this book.

Denaye Barahona: Um, it was an angry bird transformer book because he likes angry birds and he likes transformers. So the angry birds have actually become transformers. And there's like a whole story about it. And it's very long. We read this book every day for like, I dunno, like six weeks. And, uh, finally I was just like, this book has to go away. It was terrible. It just, it was absolute, the content was terrible. The writing was terrible. It was miserable to read like my husband and I would argue about who had to read it next day. It was so bad and he just wanted to read it over and over again. And so I'm kind of operating under this idea that like, I'm just glad that he wants to read. And I'm glad that we're reading to him, but then all of a sudden I read your book and now I'm like, wait a minute. Like every minute that we're spending reading him this garbage, we're not reading him something good. So it's just, it's less about even about filling their head with all the Twaddle and all the garbage, but it's more about like, what else you could be reading if you had that time, if you took that time back. Yes. Yeah. I totally

Emily: Agree with that. I think that it's, it's one of those things I don't, I'm not against Twaddle per se, but I won't read it aloud. Like if my children really want to read an angry birds book, then they can read it on their own. I'm not going to read it to them. So I'll, I'll offer that as sure you can have this book, but you're reading it and you know, I'm more in line with, um, I don't read aloud Twaddle because I want the time that we spend together with a book to be fun for both of us. So I want to be enjoying the book too.

Denaye Barahona: Right. And that's, that's fair to ask. Yeah. And I think a lot of adults will say, Oh, this is kid time. And you shouldn't that it's all about them. But I think that that is a total fair ask to say that it should be time that you both enjoy, because if it is, you're going to do it more. If you're reading things you enjoy.

Emily: Yeah. Because you don't want to be like forcing yourself through a book. And then that will know that you're forcing yourself through the book and they're going to start thinking, well, this isn't fun, so why are we doing it? And it starts to feel forced.

Denaye Barahona: So I, after I read your book, I went through and I felt like it was long overdue. I went through my kids' books and I got rid of all the Twaddle, all the character books, all the Disney books, all the, um, just the stuff that I didn't really feel like was adding value, but stuff that my kids still loved. And I felt horrible in the process. Like I felt really, I felt like such a mean mom, but I did it when they weren't around they're three and five. They weren't around, I put it in a closet in a back closet. So they wouldn't just happen to run into it. All the books that they have been reading basically for the past several months. And I'll be darned, but they have not asked for a single one of those books.

Emily: That's the other aspect about Twaddle is it's usually pretty forgettable. So you take it away. They don't think about it anymore.

Denaye Barahona: Right. And that's an important piece, right. That it doesn't evoke thought and it doesn't cause them to ponder and to wonder, and to want to learn more.

Emily: Exactly.

Denaye Barahona: So we are officially Twaddle free for the time being. I'm not to say that, like, we're never going to bring another book like that into our house. But, um, I think that it's been such a good experience for me to see that I could actually take that away, make it disappear and they haven't missed it even one bit. Um, and now we are still reading just as much, but we're just reading better stuff.

Emily: That's awesome that you were able to do that. Yep.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And it just, it, it w it was a lot smoother. The process was a lot smoother than I expected.

Emily: And I think that taking that step can be very scary because you don't want to feel like you're being mean, like you said, but, but I think once you replace those books with something that's more thought invoking and filled with really beautiful language, I think that they're going to get so used to those books that they'll never turn back. Right. And I

Denaye Barahona: Actually found a couple of, um, fairytale books that had a lot of the popular Disney stories, like the little mermaid and beauty and the beast, but they were written in a slightly different way. They were not Disney books, but the, the stories were still there, but the vocabulary was so much more broad and the depth of the book, it just, it felt like a higher quality book. And we've been reading those and my kids have been 100% happy with those. And there's, there's no desire for the, the ones that we had before. So if for anyone listening, this is a very doable and worthwhile project to go through your books and get rid of the stuff that's really not adding, adding to your family. So, as parents, I had mentioned that I don't really enjoy reading classic books very much. And I really wished that I did now when I look through the Charlotte Mason booklets, because there are a lot of Charlotte Mason book lists, a lot of them list books from 50 to 100 years ago, things that don't necessarily peak my interest. Do you have, I mean, should I just start focusing on more of the modern books or should I find a way to fall in love with the old

Emily: Honestly, I think it would be totally fine to not read most of those classic books, because I feel like it's such a misconception that for a book to be considered worthy of Charlotte Mason education, that it has to be written in her lifetime. And I don't think that that's true at all. I think there's so many amazing well-written modern children's books that are probably going to be considered classics in the next 50 to a hundred years, but they're just as worthy of study and reading as any of those classic books are.

Denaye Barahona: Right. So when we're reading these better books, living books in particular, how do you say, how should we read these to our kids? Should we stop and talk about the, talk about what's happening? Ask them questions. What are you, what's your general approach with young kids?

Emily: What I like to do, especially with small children is I don't interrupt the story if I don't have to, if they have questions and they want to interrupt, I'll sometimes allow that, but I try not to break the flow of the story because I feel like it just gets disjointed and then we forget what was happening. So I like to just read. And then when we finish our reading for the day, however much we'ved read, one chapter or three, then I just say, so what do you think is going to happen next? Or what did you think about what that character said? Like bring up things that happened in the story and talk about it. I try not to ask too many questions because I don't want to be quizzing my children. I don't want them to think of it as a school activity. I would rather make it a conversation. So I'll say something that I thought about, and then I'll ask, what did they think? And we'll turn it into a discussion.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. That's such an important point. And actually a couple of years ago, I had a speech therapist give me that same tip and I've reflected on the way that I was reading and just kind of conversing in general with my kids. And I was asking them a lot of questions that I already knew the answers to. And sometimes they just wouldn't respond to me. And now I, I realize that, like, they know if I'm asking that, like, if we read a book and I say like, what was, what was that character wearing on his head? Like they know that I know if it's a specific fact that I'm quizzing them on, like, they're like, why are you asking me questions? You already know the answers to is essentially the message that I got from them. So yeah, making it more, discussion-based talking about the different elements and the plot and their thoughts on the book really changes the dynamic from a quiz to a comment.

Emily: Yes. It's so important that you make it a conversation. Cause like you said, if you start asking them really stupid questions, they're going to know that those questions were stupid and they're going to start to think like, well, why should I ever bother talking about books? So yes. Always try to form it in a conversational let's chat kind of way. And they'll come out with some really great insight if you let them. Right.

Denaye Barahona: It shouldn't feel like a test because I think the minute that we turn books into that type of experience, quizzing them and testing them at the end that then they start to pull away.

Emily: Right. Absolutely.

Denaye Barahona: So, How do you balance, I mean, at this age, my son's just starting very in the very early ages of starting to read. So we're most of our reading, I mean they flip through books on their own quite a bit, but most of our reading is reading aloud. So as they get older, how do you find a balance between reading aloud to your kids versus letting them read independently?

Emily: I've always tried to Institute a quiet reading time at some point in the day. It's not always been the same time as my children, age things get different, but I've tried to always have at least half an hour where everyone is quietly reading and I try to make sure I'm reading at that time. And we're all just expected to be quietly reading. And I feel like that really gets them into the habit of doing it so that as they get older, it's just natural. That it's time for me to go read.

Denaye Barahona: Right. And as they get older, we should still keep reading aloud.

Emily: Yeah, absolutely. I still read aloud with my teenagers. My actually this summer we're reading good omens before the TV series drops tomorrow, I think on, um, Amazon prime, but I'm reading it with my twins. And when my daughter came home from school, she asked if we could back up so she could join in. So I'm now reading aloud to all of my older three children. So that's really fun.

Denaye Barahona: That's I mean, it sounds kind of like a dream. So give me like an idea of what this looks like. Do you sit around on the sofa and they just kind of sit around and listen. Yeah,

Emily: Typically, yeah. I sit on the couch and um, we can all fit on the couch anymore. So I usually sit on the love seat and then they all sit around me somewhere in the room and I just read and we no phones, no phones, no phones allowed during read-aloud time. So we put all the electronics away and just try to focus on the story.

Denaye Barahona: And I feel like this is something that is a fruit of your labor, that you started this early and have continued this it's probably hard. It would be harder, but not impossible for parents of older kids to start this. Do you think?

Emily: No. Absolutely. I think you can start any time. I think especially though with older kids, they might feel like it's weird for the first little while, but if you just start with a really great exciting book, I always say, don't start with the classic, like high school, typical literature, pick something fun that like the Hunger Games or Harry Potter that they're going to be interested in listening to. And I think that the more you start doing it, the more natural it will become.

Denaye Barahona: Okay. That's good advice. So as my son, he's five, now he is, he's getting to the age where he's interested in learning how to read. And I also, for whatever reason, in putting this expectation that he should be able to sit for longer periods and listen to a novel with a chapter a night or something like that. And he just, isn't like, we've tried to start some longer books without pictures and I lose them after like the first page. What are your thoughts on, on that really just kind of following our kids and see what they're ready for.

Emily: Yeah. I think you, you really have to take your time, engage with your child is actually capable of, I think, especially with younger children, they'll let you know when they're ready, because they'll be able to sit quietly for longer periods of time, but there's nothing wrong with Xing off reading chapter books until they're even six, seven, eight, because that's, that's when they're going to be actually focusing and paying attention. I feel like it's, it's almost a waste of time to try to read a longer, more difficult book to a very small child, because they're probably not going to get anything out of it, but reading it, reading it, their level is really what you want to aim for.

Denaye Barahona: Okay. So yeah, I've tried a few times now over the past year or so, and I think I'm just going to keep trying every couple of months with a new book and see how it goes and see if he's interested.

Denaye Barahona: A lot of great books too, that are sort of an in-between like, for example, My Father's Dragon is I just bought chapter book, but it has a lot of pictures too, so that, that can help keep their focus. It's a great bridge book from picture book after book.

Denaye Barahona: Okay. So I haven't tried reading that one yet, but I did buy it. So I have that one. I'm excited about that. I've seen a lot of good recommendations for that.

Emily: It's a great series. It's a trilogy. So they're, they're really, Oh, it is.

Denaye Barahona: Okay. Um, so what do you think about podcasts or audio books for kids?

Emily: I think audio books can be great. They can be a great option for if mom just can't read for whatever reason and they can be really great for getting that read aloud time in, and you can still listen with your child. So it's still a family activity, but yeah, I'm a big fan of anything that gets a family to focus on a story together.

Denaye Barahona: My kids spend a good chunk of their day with our AU pair. Who's from Poland and English is not her first language. And I completely recognize that reading in English is labor intensive for her. She does a great job of it and she does it a lot, but at the same time, like it's exhausting for me to be reading a lot to the kids. So I understand that it's, it's just a lot for her. So she does do audio books pretty often with them. And my kids love listening to audio books. Like they'll sit for long periods of time, like she'll be making lunch and they'll listen to an audio book or that sort of thing. Um, but it makes me think about like this idea of the fact that it is a lot of work to read to our kids. Do you have any tips for parents who are just like tired, especially working parents who at the end of the day just are very low on energy?

Emily: I think if you can try to read aloud, that's awesome. If it's just going to be one more thing on your list of things to do, then that will reflect to your children when you're forcing yourself to read. So that's when audio books, I think become a great asset because you can still have that time together with a story, but you're not forcing yourself to do something. You can all sit and relax and enjoy it together.

Denaye Barahona: Right. And I think it's important to note that we also can't force our partners to read more books than they want to, to our kids. Exactly. Because I, my husband sometimes, but I mean, he's tired. He works long hours, so he gets home and he definitely is of the mindset of praying that the kids pick a short book for bedtime. Um, and I totally get that. And then I find myself sometimes wanting to say like, just let them read a longer book or it's okay if you want to spend a few more minutes, like it's good for them. And, but I also have to balance this fact that he's tired and he really needs to be the one that dictates the reading process with our kids when he's reading to them. And it's my business when I'm doing it. Are you the primary reader in your family?

Emily: The primary reader, but my husband does enjoy it. He, he likes picture books far more than chapter books and he has his favorite picture books that he always wants to read when the kids are, when the kids were small. So that was his territory. He did a lot of picture books, but I'm the primary reader as far as chapter books and novels go. Okay.

Denaye Barahona: Okay. And in your book you had talked about just some simple tips, like sitting up straight when you're reading in order to be able to read for longer. Yeah.

Emily: Yes. Yes. I I've gotten a lot of people. Talk to me about like the actual mechanics of reading aloud. Yes. They find it stressful or difficult or their voices go out really, really quickly and they just can't quite do it. And I think one, it's a, especially if you're new with it, it's a process. You have to build yourself up to being able to do it. Like you wouldn't be able to get up and read a full speech without ever practicing. So don't expect to be able to read aloud without some practice first. So, you know, build up, start with picture books, something really simple and easy and let your voice get used to reading aloud. But also yes, posture is very important because if you're slouched over, that means you're not getting enough air and you won't be able to read for very long. Also always have some kind of liquid tea, water, whatever, so that you can take sips of water and keep your voice going and keep your throat from getting dry, simple things like that can make the whole process so much easier. Right.

Denaye Barahona: That was completely eye-opening to me, that, and I was slouching. We have a sofa in my kids' play area, which is where we usually read. And it has a really low back on it. And I usually like kind of like half laid out and half set up and I was in a terrible position and my voice always gets tired really easily. And I just think like I talk a lot, all day. So why is it that I can talk all day? But then when I try to read books, my voice gets tired.

Emily: Yeah. I understand. Yeah. That's, that's definitely one of those things that people don't tend to think about. But yeah, if you can prop yourself up with a pillow, I like to sit with a pillow behind me because that'll help me from slouching and it's also comfortable so that it's still relaxing.

Denaye Barahona: Right. And so what about the kids who won't sit still for books?

Emily: Oh, yes. I've had several of those. Um, what I find helpful is giving them something to do with their hands. My daughter, for example, my youngest is very, very antsy, but if I give her some paper and a pencil and she can sit and draw, she'll draw pictures quietly while I'm reading. And so she's engrossed in that activity, but she's also able to focus. So she's still listening to the story, but her hands are busy. So therefore she's sitting, still being quiet. Legos are also great for this too.

Denaye Barahona: Oh, okay. I like that. I actually have been trying to occasionally bring a book up to the bathtub and reading while my kids are in the bath.

Emily: I used to do that when my kids were really small. Yeah,

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. They're contained. Right. They can't right away. So they have to listen.

Emily: Yes. Also, I've, I've been known to read at meal times because they're all sitting quietly and there's food in their mouth. So they're not talking.

Denaye Barahona: Yes. No, I think that that's really great. So if kids, if young kids aren't sitting still for books, do you think this is any cause for concern for parents?

Emily: No. I think it's very natural. Children are going to want to get up and move around and they're going to want to talk and ask questions. So it's normal, but giving them things to do with their hands, um, asking them before you start, can we save all the questions till at the end, unless it's really important. And that just inspires them to maybe not talk as much and quietly, and they get a lot more out of the story too, than if they're running around in circles and being crazy. Yeah.

Denaye Barahona: Now do you, what about this is I guess a little off topic, but what do you think about, um, eBooks for kids? Do you have any thoughts about that?

Emily: I don't have a big problem with them as long as, um, they're not using their tablet too much. And like my daughter has a tablet and she does have a few books on it. She also has, um, some educational games. What is the one she likes teach your monster to read? She used to do that one a lot. So I think that can helpful and useful. And it also helps too, if you're trying to have a more minimalist lifestyle that you don't necessarily want to own 50 picture books, but you can have all of them on a tablet and they're still getting story. Yeah.

Denaye Barahona: And I have noticed, I think some kids are more sensitive to the, is it called blue light of the screen of iPads. And I have, I could, because I have a Kindle, like a classic Kindle and then we also have tablets and my kids really only use the tablets when we're traveling. So they don't get a ton of exposure to them, but I thought like, Oh, we could use them to read books. So like, why not? They're just, I just the regular, not like any kind of like animation, just typical books, like Kindle books on an iPad. So I tried this one night before my son went to bed, the same, we actually read one of the same books that we have in book form. And he was so wound up afterwards, which was interesting. Yeah. Yeah. And it just kind of showed me that he doesn't react the same to a book on an iPad as he does to a hard book. But he, I don't see that from him on a Kindle. When I read on just like the black and white Kindle screen, it doesn't seem to overstimulate him,

Emily: You know, that's interesting. But I think just knowing, and this is for me personally, I like to read on my Kindle at night because I, I like to read before I go to bed, but my husband does not like lights on in rooms. So I have my, um, what is it, the Kindle Paperwhite. And I like to read on that and I can read on that with no issues for hours at a time, but if I am on a laptop or my phone or something, and I'm trying to read, cause I have the Kindle app on my phone, I get too easily distracted by other things going on on my phone. So I wonder if that's something similar for children.

Denaye Barahona: I totally agree with that. And maybe part of it's knowing that, yes, you're reading this book on the iPad, but there's a lot of other fun stuff that can lure you away at any given moment. Sort of the, the wondering about the unknown. Um, but yeah, I feel like with, for myself, I've been trying, I have a tendency to lean towards eBooks on my Kindle more so, but I have been trying to read some more books feeling like my, I think my kids need to see me reading books.

Emily: Yes. And they, they barely ever

Denaye Barahona: Do so I'm, I'm trying to make that more of a habit because I feel like they need to see me sifting through the pages and it's different than seeing me on my kindle.

Emily: Absolutely. I've tried to always make sure my kids have seen me with a book so that they know that that's an activity that is a lifelong activity, not just something you do and you're in school. Right.

Denaye Barahona: And I had thought I could just, you know, read on my Kindle in front of my kids. And every time I do, my son says, Oh, he's like, what are you reading on your tablet? First of all, that's always his first question. And then he asks me if he can read a kid's book. So it's this idea that you can switch around and change and do a lot of different things on it. And, um, I think it just, it sends a slightly different message. I think it is slight, but it sends a slightly different message when we're reading

Emily: An actual book in front of our kids versus

Denaye Barahona: Reading on a Kindle or another type of E-reader.

Emily: Yeah. I agree with that.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And I, and not to say that it's bad by any means, but I do think there's something to be said about sticking with a good old fashioned book and having our kids, seeing us enjoying the process and being inspired by that.

Emily: Definitely. Definitely. I want my kids to see real books and to gravitate toward that first. Yes,

Denaye Barahona: Yes. For sure. Well, this has been really helpful, Emily, and I feel like I've learned so much about this and to be honest, I never really thought a whole lot about the reading aloud process with my kids before I read your book. And I just thought, you know, just buy books and just read them. And I think that there are ways that we can do better and we can enhance the experience for both us and for our kids. Yes, definitely.

Emily: I agree with that. I think it's such an important thing to devote some time to that each day, too. Like just bonding with your children over books. Yeah.

Denaye Barahona: So what is the best way to get in touch with you Emily, or to find you online?

Emily: Um, I have a website buildyourlibrary.com. I'm also on YouTube. If you look for ARRRG! Schooling (youtube.com/arrrghschooling), I have YouTube videos where I talk a lot about books and reading, and I have a Twitter I'm at B Y library on Twitter (twitter.com/BYLibrary) and on Instagram (instagram.com/bylibrarycurriculum)as well. Okay.

Denaye Barahona: I put all those links in the show notes for anyone that's interested in following along. And do you have any book lists that or anywhere to access book lists of your favorite book?

Emily: Yes, I do. I have book lists on the build your library website, there's booklets for each level of the curriculum. Those don't have to be related to curriculum. You could just use those as reading lists. There's also book lists in the back of my book, a literary education and my YouTube channel is literally just me talking about all the books that I love all the time. I talk about a lot there.

Denaye Barahona: Great. Well, I'm going to put all those links in the show notes so everyone can get in touch. Thank you so much for this.

Emily: Thank you so much for having me.

Denaye Barahona: I hope you've enjoyed this chat with Emily. If you want to learn more about her and about the things that we talked about today, go to simple families.com/episode162 as always. Thanks for tuning in and please take a second to leave a rating or review in iTunes. I appreciate your support. Have a good one.

Denaye Barahona

Dr. Denaye Barahona is a loving wife and mama of two. She partners with families to tackle the challenges of raising children. Denaye is a minimalist who claims to be a decluttering expert (don't let her near your closet). She loves to travel, talk health-and-wellness, and give unsolicited advice. She has been featured on the likes of The Today Show, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, The Minimalists, Motherly, Becoming Minimalist, and numerous other media outlets. Denaye holds a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Clinical Social Worker with a specialty in child and family practice.