Celebrating the Tearing of a Book

Today’s blog is meant to be much more light-hearted than the Sink or Swim blogs of last week.  But, behind the pomp and circumstance of what you are going to read, there is a serious message on how to improve a child’s ability to read, write, or perform math problems.  There’s not a better time than now to get started.  Let’s begin!!!

My youngest child who is 4 years old recently tore the cover off of a book.  Obviously, if there are any librarians reading this, you may want to hide your children.  Seriously though, the tearing of a book is a big celebration in the Thomas household and after reading this, you may seek to have your children tear a book as well.

People who have been reading my blog for a while know that I take education very seriously.  One of the ways I educate is through various activity books.  We have a quirky celebration though.  When we finish the activities of a book to my satisfaction, the front cover is torn off and placed on a cork board for all to see.  My youngest child just finished his first book.  Not only was the cover torn; but there was an ice cream celebration as well.  Now that the celebration is over, my boy has been clamoring to work on more things.  (Guess he and I have a similar sweet tooth)  I recognize though there’s much more to life than educational materials so I limit his work to about 15-20 minutes a day.  The book he finished was a simple alphabet book where he had to learn how to write upper and lower case letters.

I recently read a book by Malcolm Gladwell called Outliers which I highly recommend.  One of his chapters deals with education.  His claim is there are glaring reasons why our educational system falls short of other countries.  One has to do with economics.  In essence, lower class families can’t expose their children to the same experiences as middle class families over the summer.  Perhaps I’ll tackle that issue in the future but another claim was that certain other countries have longer school years.  In essence, they get to practice the skills being taught longer than Americans.

Obviously, if one person practices more than another in any discipline, it stands to reason that over time, the additional practice will pay off.  According to Outliers, “Americans typically go to school on average 180 days.  The South Korean school year is 220 days long.  The Japanese school year is 243 days long.”

From what I saw as a teacher, most parents don’t do anything academically with their kids over the summer.  Therefore, anything I do in a one on one atmosphere with my child should help him in the long run.  While 15-20 minutes may not sound like a lot of time; multiplied out over the course of the summer,  it makes a big difference!

For those of you interested, the materials I use can be found at most bookstores and office supply stores.  Any small amount of additional work you do can only help your child going into their next school year.  I wish you all the best and hope one day you will email me to brag how your child ripped the cover off their first book!

This Friday, I’d like to write a blog based on one of your parenting questions on any issue you choose.  On a former blog, I used to do this every Friday and it would consistently be the most read blog of the week.  No question is too silly and I don’t use identifying information.  I look forward to reading your questions at tantrumstroublesandtreasures@yahoo.com.

Have a terrific week!!!

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  1. Hi,
    I have a two year old daughter. Is it too early to teach her how to read? Do you have any ideas/tips on how to teach her? I don't expect her to read novels, I just want her to get a head start with alphabets etc. I want her top grow up enjoying reading.

    Thank You.

    • It depends on a few factors. The first question is this… Is the child really ready? Depending on if she is a recent two or closer to three, the answer may be yes. Also, the first step to reading is recognizing letters first in order then out of order. Can she do this?

      Usually, at her age, the best thing to do is to read to her frequently and introduce her to letters slowly. Magnet letters are a good place to start. I'm a big proponent of getting children ahead but she's so young, there's no need to get anxious. Hope this helps!!!

  2. Thanks for a great post! Since all three of my children have learning issues ranging from the pretty solveable, ie dyslexia, to my daughter who has a brain disorder that effects all aspects of her development, they have always qaulified for some sort of summer program, which we then augement with private tuturing, summer reading programs from the library, and just getting to enjoy reading together. I am a huge beliver in the need to continue children's education in the summer.

    I also love that kids can learn in a more creatative way, trips to the zoo or the beach can be great starting points for books and skill learning whether it is simple adding and subracting with my 6 year old, learning about an animal with my 9 year old with special needs or exploring a country that an animal comes from with my 12 year old.
    Learning is all around us.

    I am thrilled to find you and your blog at VoiceBoks. I can always use all the help I can get!!! I look foward to reading more!

    Kathy Radigan
    My dishwasher's possessed!

    • Thanks for dropping by. Here's one thing I have learned about all children. Take them from where they are and build them from there. Sounds like you are doing a terrific job. By the way, I'd be interested to learn what a possessed dishwasher is. Haven't heard of that one!!!

  3. Lynn says:

    I stopped by from the Wonder Wednesday blog hop to check out your site :)

    Great post! I'm passionate about education as well and cannot wait to see what kinds of questions people submit.

  4. Janice says:

    Thanks for sharing this on Family Time Tuesday. I couldn't agree more. Summer should not be an intellectual wasteland of TV and video games.

    Great post!


  5. Danielle says:

    Thanks for stopping by Life With Two Boys!

  6. Miriam says:

    My 4 and 5 year old are going to be in preschool and kindergarten respectively. At the moment we try to spend at least 30 minutes doing a constructive activity. Summer is a good time to catch up on some concepts.

  7. What better way to celebrate your child learning than tearing off the cover (and of course an ice cream party never hurt anyone)! I bought My Baby Can Read a while back for my 9 month old, but I haven't been that diligent with it. I suppose this is the best time to start it back up and see if my kid is a prodigy. 😉 Great blog, you've got yourself a new follower. :)

  8. April says:

    My 7 yo is an avid reader, but struggles in the math department. Love the idea of ripping the cover off and putting it up on a board. Will definitely remember that tip.

    • It's easy and fun. On suggestion is to start with a short book so the reward can be shown quickly. You can even start with individual assignments as you are building the system.

  9. April says:

    Wanted to add my twitter account.