Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Armchair BEA: Introducing Mary Elizabeth from A Novel Idea

Today for Armchair BEA it is interview swap day! I was teamed up with a new to me blogger, Mary Elizabeth from A Novel Idea. Welcome to my blog Mary Elizabeth!

Q: At A Novel Idea you blog about children's books. What were your favourite children's book when you were growing up, and do you think those books influenced your love of them as an adult?

A: I loved reading all types of books, but I especially enjoyed chapter books! Some of my favorites were: Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Superfudge, and the entire Little House on the Prairie series. I really liked books where I could strongly identify with the main character. I think these books influenced my love of reading, since I read these books (and others) so often! I have always been a strong reader, so it has always been a positive activity for me.

Q: You have a series of posts on your blog called Literacy Tips where you give suggestions on how to get your kids to read. What do you think the biggest mistake parents make is when it comes to children's literacy.

A: I think parents tend to underestimate how early the literacy process begins - it starts during infancy! Literacy isn't just about reading, but about all communication involving written and spoken language. Reading to your infant is essential - it definitely plants the seeds of literacy!

Q: I don't know how it happened really but my son is not a reader - absolutely breaks my heart. Is there a point where it is too late to get your child to read?

A: Having been a classroom teacher, I don't think a child ever reaches a point where he or she cannot become a reader! Some people don't even become avid readers until adulthood! Don't give up on your son - you can help him become a reader in many ways. Try listening to books on CD with him - I know this sounds strange, but it is a valuable strategy. I would implement this strategy with dyslexic children, and they enjoyed being able to follow the story completely without having to worry about phonics and word recognition. I then began introducing other students to books on CD, and they enjoyed listening to them as well. The children are still building their vocabulary and reading fluency by listening to stories. It is a very powerful tool.

Q: Your other blog, Ten Thousand Hugs, has a different focus, more a mommy-blog style. Which is the easier blog to write for? In what ways are writing for the two blogs the same and different?

A: I find that writing for "A Novel Idea" is easier, since I follow the same schedule each week. My other blog does not have as much focus at the moment, but I am working on two summer projects with my children that I will blog about on there. I really enjoyed writing both - I love to write and create posts!

Q: When you started A Novel Idea you were writing a children's book. Is this something that you are still working on?

A: Yes! I am still working on that, but not on my blog anymore. I need to note that on the blog for my readers!

Q: How do you juggle parenting, blogging and writing? Do you have any other hobbies as well?

A: I have a difficult time juggling everything, since I have four small children at home. I just find pockets of time to blog during the day, and, of course, when the children are sleeping! Yes, I do have other hobbies - yoga, running, scrapbooking, and reading.

Thanks so much Mary Elizabeth. My answers will be up on her blog later. (Updated to say you can read my interview here).


  1. Cool blog...thanks for the introduction.

    My brother despised reading all his life until he was he enjoys it.

    One thing I wish I had done with my son is start "chapter books" earlier.

  2. Thank you for doing this interview! I am now following Mary Elizabeth's blog. My oldest son is giving me problems with reading. He likes books and he's a good reader, but he tries to get away with just looking at the pictures, but he'll be in 3rd grade this fall and I told him that he's going to have to read chapter books more. It's like pulling teeth with him. My younger son will be in 2nd grade and he likes the chapter books. So, basically I really need the literacy tips!

  3. I definitely agree with starting literacy efforts early! My parents read to me from the day I was born, and I think that's largely what instilled the love of reading and learning in me. There's a picture of me when I was around 3 years old, sat with a giant book in front of a bookcase! I was reading chapter books before I started kindergarten.

  4. Great Interview:

    I love Romona when I was kid. She was my book best friend!

    I love the fact that she is an advocate for children's reading. She is right that it begins at birth :)

  5. I need to start reading to my baby. It just seems silly when she's not paying attention.

    Great interview! Thanks for the introduction!

  6. I think kids are different -- some will read more than others; just as some will be more athletic than others. That being said, I do wish my older son was more of a reader and try to encourage, but not force, him to read more :-) .

  7. Very nice interview. Here's my posted interview of Valerie of Life is a Patchwork Quilt

  8. nice interview! glad to see there is someone else addicted to book challenges :)

  9. I love her focus on literacy and children. I agree that we should never give up on that. You never know when you will strike the right chord.

    Thanks for helping us get to know Mary Elizabeth a bit better!



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