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A Quiet Conversation

I was wondering what I should post today. Well…I've been wondering since yesterday because that's when I was supposed to upload a new post. The thing is that I'm not sure I'm writing about things that are helpful to you.

Thanks to my training and years of experience I have tons of information rolling around in my head. The issue is plucking out the bits that moms find useful.

I have a list of things that parents have asked me about like: what books a child should read, when is a book too advanced for a particular age group, what subjects are ‘okay’ for a child to read, etc. But these may not be the concerns that you have for you young reader.

How about this? You ask me a question about kid’s books, kids and reading, or just kids and I will devote a post to the questions that you ask. Here’s your chance to get the professional opinion without the professional price.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Growing Your Reluctant Reader



Often times parents become really concerned because their child is choosing not to read. I know the feeling. One day, while in second grade, my daughter announced that she wasn’t going to read any more!

I asked her how long she planned to keep this up and she responded, “Oh, maybe I’ll read when I’m a teenager.” And she literally stopped reading. This was crazy because my daughter had been a very strong reader since kindergarten!

We started getting letters from school saying that she was struggling with her reading. They even placed her into a remedial reading class and offered tutoring after school.

I must confess that I didn’t handle it in the best of ways. First, I lost my mind. Then I asked her in every conceivable way, why she wasn’t reading. Each time she would say, “I’m waiting until I’m a teenager.” At least she was consistent.

Then I came up with this great plan. I told her for every minute of television she had to give me three minutes of reading. So every night while I was preparing dinner, she would bring her chair and book into the kitchen with me.

This worked, but there is a less painful way I could have approached the problem. I think it worked because she was already a strong reader and there was a series on TV that she was really interested in at the time. So here is a better plan for you.

Find out what your child is interested in. Is it comic books, graphic novels, catalogs, magazines? Maybe it’s a story they’ve written themselves. Or a note you’ve written. It really doesn’t matter what they read as long as they are getting the practice.

Participate in the reading with them. How about having them read the recipe to you while you prepare a dish for dinner. Or better still, what about a recipe for a special treat. You can always have them read the instructions to you while you’re putting together the latest ‘assembly required’ purchase.

There’s also the old standby of reading their favorite book with them as each of you takes on the characters as if it were a Broadway production. The point is to make it fun and relationship building.

Fortunately for me, our daughter survived the kitchen chair torture and loves to read. So do her children. When it comes to encouraging our children, the key is relationship first, fun second, and torture last. (Please know I’m kidding about the torture option wink)

Building Your Reader



Last time, I blogged about the importance of reading to your children. Today I’d like to address building reading habits into your children.

We all, as parents, want our children to become great readers. Sometimes it happens without our paying much attention, like the child who reads under the covers long after ‘lights out’. Sometimes it’s almost like pulling teeth getting our kids to read. I’d like to offer a few suggestions for getting them started.

For the early reader, start by reading to them and as you read, have them read along. Then the both of you decided upon one word that they will read. So that every time you get to that word it’s their turn to read it out loud.

The word could be as simple as ‘do’ and ‘the’ or as complex as ‘anything’ and ‘sometimes’. In either case make sure it is a word your child can readily recognize and easily pronounce.

Make it fun! See how many different voices your child can use when they say the word. Or have them clap or snap their fingers. Here’s a secret: the more sensory modalities (touch, taste, sound, etc.) you use when learning something new, the more deeply ingrained is the learning.

For your older reader, you might want to substitute a line, paragraph, or a page instead of a single word for their turn. Have them try reading with different accents or treat their reading as lines from a script. The key is to make it a fun and relational time!

It doesn’t matter what you read, it could be anything from cereal boxes to comic books. The point is to expose your child to the written word and help them understand what they are reading.

At the end of your fun reading time, ask questions. Ask them what their favorite part was. Ask them about the characters. Ask them which character they would like to be or what they would have done differently if they were that character. Be sure to share your thoughts and ideas with them, too.

Reading Michael Vey: A Book Review



Hi All, as promised here’s the review of the book Michael Vey: Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans.

Michael Vey: Prisoner of Cell 25 is the story of a high school freshman who doesn’t quite fit in. There are several reasons for his not being part of the ‘in crowd’: 1) Michael is small in stature. 2)He has Tourette’s syndrome (a tic disorder). 3) Michael has an affinity for electricity. His attraction for electricity is what gets him into trouble, but it is also this odd ‘superpower’ that saves the day.

The plotline is that Michael is one of seventeen children who developed a superpower related to electricity. As usual, there is an evil villain who is trying to gain control of all of these children to exploit their powers.

The villain captures Michael, his mother, and some of his friends, and tries to force him to do his bidding. Michael is able to escape, save a few of the other children that are like him, and wins the heart of the popular girl in school.

I had been told that this book had good values, but I never know what people mean when they tell me that. When I read it I was pleasantly surprised. There is not one word of profanity in the book, there is no sexual content, and the ‘fight’ scenes are wonderfully light-weight and handled in a manner appropriate for children to read (and possibly emulate).

I have two cautions: 1) In the final battle, the villain’s army shoot guns at the escapees, but no one is hit. And 2) the popular girl becomes the hero’s girlfriend and thanks him for saving her life with what appears to be a brief peck on the lips.

Overall the story is entertaining, clean, and action filled. I would say that it is a ‘safe’ read for ages 10 years and up. I would have no problem with a parent reading this book to their 8- or 9-year-olds.

I would be glad to answer any further questions you might have about this book. I am also open to suggestions for my next book review.

Thanks for stopping by!

Welcome to Moms’ Break Room

Hi and welcome, this is the Moms’ Break Room. A place for moms to take a moment to relax, get refreshed, and find out what’s happening in the world of children’s books.

I’m Stephanie Jefferson, debut author of the new Princess Kandake series. I retired from working as a psychologist with a specialty in children and adolescents. What I do now is write books for kids ages 10 years and up, I’m a Small Group leader at church for 7th and 8th grade girls, and I play with my grandchildren every chance I get.

My plan for this blog is to provide the kind of information that would be helpful for moms. We can talk about reading. We can discuss and review books that are for children, especially focusing on the books for independent readers. And because I am a psychologist, I don’t mind answering questions on growth and development and how the books your babes are reading impacts that.

Before we go much further I’d better come clean with who I am and what my perspective is. I am a conservative Christian, so everything I say comes from that set of values. This applies to my psychology background as well as my writing. I can guarantee that every book I have written and I write will be ‘safe’ for your children to read. That means I will not be including sexual situations, profanity, or other things that I believe do not honor God.

Wow! They sure left in a hurry.

Oh well, I may as well tell you the rest of it. The other thing is that from time to time I will bend you ear (or eyes) with the promotion of one of my books. And while I’m confessing…each book I write has an underlying theme: the building of our children’s character and teaching them to stand up for what they believe in.

So now you know that I’m a writer for the ‘Tween audience and each and every book is written for the purpose of entertainment and character building.

Oops, I almost forgot, one more thing. I’m an action writer. My stories always have something going on and the characters do get into fights.

Well I think that’s it. So what do you think?