Tuesday, December 11, 2012

#Happy1stBdayBaby: What Children Need to Learn to READ

As a first time mother who hasn't spent much time with babies, I need more explicit parenting advice than many.  That's why I loved the book What Children Need to Learn to READ: The complete parent's guide to ensuring literacy, a love of reading, and school readiness.  Written by Michelle Vallene, a mom, elementary school teacher, and founder of Learners Lane, it is the perfect resource for any parents who wants to introduce literacy from birth, including the completely clueless like me.  Some parents may find some of the advice and activities to be "common sense" but for someone like me with little baby experience, I appreciate that Vallene starts from the basics and builds up.  

What Children Need to Learn to READ is a resource book, filled with games, activities, and songs that promote literacy skills.  It is not a thick book on the various theories of education (thank goodness, I had those in college) or the results of research studies regarding early literacy.  Instead, it is a book filled with practical advice for parents resulting from Vallene's own experiences with little ones.  That's exactly what I like about the book.  Very few activities need extensive preparation, you can simply pull the book off the shelf and choose an age appropriate activity when you have the chance.  The activities range in age and ability from newborn to early elementary (depending on the child's ability, somewhere around age 7).  Although, as I mentioned above, the book has some "common sense" activities (for example, nursery rhymes which many parents might say/sing anyway - which, I actually am glad are included because I have forgotten many of them), the majority of activities are new to me.  A few of my favorites include "Riding on a Pony", "Go Fish Sight Words", and a detailed plan for planning a book party with your child's friends.  

Another invaluable feature of What Children Need to Learn to READ is the thick resource section in the appendix.  The author's suggestions range from children's books to computer games that teach literacy skills to parent resources.  Michelle Vallene also sent me a copy of a CD to accompany the book with 36 kids songs/rhymes.  Lucia loves it (it it helps me to remember some of the lyrics I forgot long ago). 

You can purchase the book through Amazon and the MP3s here

As part of the Happy 1st Birthday, Baby! giveaway event,
author Michelle Vallene is giving away a copy of 
What Children Need to Learn to READ! Open to residents of the US.
Giveaway runs Dec 11-Dec 15. Enter here.

I received What Children Need to Learn to READ and the accompanying CD to facilitate this review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  Opinions are 100% my own.  See Disclosure Policy.


  1. Even as a former teacher, I would love some ideas to use with my boys.

  2. I want it for my son, so that he can grow up to be smart. :)

  3. i want it to help out my sister in law with her one and a half year old daughter, it takes a village!

  4. I would love this for my son. It would be really helpful!

  5. I want this book because it sounds very useful!


I'd love to hear what you have to say! You can also contact me directly by emailing me at messywifeblessedlife@gmail.com.