Welcome back to our monthly literacy guest Q & A when we chat with someone who is passionate about literacy development in young children. This month I’m happy to introduce you to Shara Lawrence-Weiss. Let’s get to know her a little bit better and hear her ideas on literacy.
Shara, tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Australia and moved to America at the age of six. Then we moved back to Oz and returned to America again when I was ten. I have three sisters: I’m the second child. I have a background in early childhood, education, freelance, marketing, business ownership and charity service. I have worked with children for more than 23 years and I have four kids of my own (boy, girl, boy, girl) ages 14, 6, 4 and 9 months. I work at home, full-time, with my husband and business partner, Rick. He’s also my best friend, thank goodness.
Tell us about Dr. Sally Parenting Tips and Early Childhood News and Resources?
Long story short: I was writing for an online site years ago. They promised to pay but payment never came. I told my husband, “I like my articles. Let’s just start my own ECE site and move my articles there.” Within three weeks, that site was getting more traffic than my business site and the readership stats continue to be high, three years later. I love writing there and have complete freedom to post, as wanted! I also invite guest authors to write on a regular basis.
The Dr. Sally Parenting Tips site was built by my husband and I, for our friend Sally Goldberg. Sally and I co-taught some literacy workshops at Bookman’s Bookstore years ago. We met at a networking meeting in Arizona and Sally reached out to me, via email, after hearing me talk. The rest is history! Sally posts on her site about parenting tips, teacher tips, early childhood resources and more. Sally has a PhD. I do not. We remain friends, nonetheless (smile).
What are a few of your favorite literacy posts that you’ve blogged about?
Here is one about reading comprehension.
Here is one that I wrote about reading “with” or having your child read “to” you.
And, here is a post I wrote in about ripping up books.
What are some activities that you’ve done with your little ones at home to promote literacy?
- First and foremost, we have books all around our home and within reach of our kids. We have bookshelves in almost every room of the house. Our kids go over and pick up a book to flip through, at all hours of the day. I place books in their rooms, in our bedroom, in the bathroom, in their play area and more.
- They watch us read – I find this also helps to encourage them to enjoy books.
- We watch TV programs that encourage reading.
- We listen to kid’s songs about reading.
- We talk about reading, books and literacy.
- We talk about the books they are reading in school.
- I bought a cute little antique table from a thrift shop and created a “Book Nook Chalkboard” for my daughter – so she could read a story and then draw a picture to go along. (Literacy connections)
- In addition, I make books for my kids, using book binding materials from my book business. I write the stories, myself, so they are fully personalized.
Do you have any literacy rituals in your family?
Yes. We read to the kids every night before bed. With my teen son, he can earn rewards for reading (such as more game time, etc).
If you could give parents one piece of advice about reading and/or writing with children, what would it be?
Gosh… don’t assume that all kids will learn to read and write at the same time, or at the same pace, or in the same way or with the same enthusiasm.
Each child is different and what worked for one may not work for another! Find what works for each kiddo, and each personality. Allow them to offer feedback and to be a part of the process you go through, to find the best solutions.
Getting To Know You A Little Bit More…
If you could have brunch with three characters from children’s literature, who would you invite?
Amelia Bedelia, Anne of Green Gables and Alexander from “The Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day.” I would ask him, “Did you move to Australia and if so, do you still have bad days there, too?”
Hardcover or e-book?
Hardcover. I can see the value in ebooks but I’ll always be a fan of the flipping pages and the smell of paper.
What is a fond childhood memory you have?
My father, playing the piano, while his four girls danced around the living room, not a care in the world.
Where is your favorite place to read a book?
Next to my husband, in bed.
What book is on your nightstand or e-reader now?
The Kazdin Method for Parenting by Kazdin
Shara, thank you so much for sharing with the Growing Book by Book Readers. We wish you continued success!
Stay tuned next month when we will have another literacy guest spotlights to share! Are you a parent, teacher, librarian, blogger or lover of reading? If you would like to be featured in the Literacy Guest Spotlight Q & A, please contact me.