OMGBookworms: ‘Pragmatic Mom’ Mia Wenjen Gets Kids Reading!

If you’re looking for the ultimate OMGbookworm, Mia Wenjen is it.

This Pragmatic Mom‘s love of reading was clear as early as 4th or 5th grade, when Mia became impatient with the librarians who always suggested the same books to read. Mia decided to take matters into her own hands, first by checking out every biography she could get her hands on, and then by working her way through every fiction chapter book in the library, literally reading everything from “A” to “Z.”

While earning her undergraduate degree at Harvard, Mia and her friends started a business that is now an international staffing firm. She now works part-time and raises her three children, ages 7, 10, and 12, and writes for the wonderful blog she created, Pragmatic Mom.

Mia has been passionate about encouraging children to read since her oldest daughter had a bad experience in first grade. Mia had to help her daughter become a voracious reader, and now she delights in helping others do the same! She admits that, “It’s my entrepreneurial instincts that make me want to try new things until it works so I am relentless in suggesting books, electronic reading devices, and ideas to see what will stick.”

We here at OMGmother are fortunate to have spoken to Mia about how OMGparents can encourage their godchildren, nieces, and nephews to become OMGbookworms!

My OMGfavorite books to buy as baby shower/birthday gifts are…
Goodnight Moon and Goodnight Gorilla

My OMGfirst foray into reviewing children’s literature was…
When I handed my oldest, then in second grade, The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo. We had just enjoyed reading Because of Winn Dixie by same author (immensely — it’s my world’s favorite book) and this thin chapter book had large-ish font and had won a National Book Award. How was I to know it was so depressing WITHOUT actually reading it?

It was then I decided I needed to screen books for her as Newbery books did not necessarily come with age appropriateness that matched my criteria. No more Grapes of Wrath-themed books for my kids — I want elementary school books to be a tad more innocent.

What advice would you give to uncles, aunts, and godparents out there who would like to encourage their OMGchildren to love books and reading?
Be active. Take your nieces, nephews, grandkids to find books. Shop at yard sales and book stores. Take them to the library. Change it up and take them to libraries they are not familiar with… perhaps the library near you?!

Getting kids to read is all about matching up interests with age-appropriate books. Start with what they like and then have fun hunting down books together. Then read them together. Snuggle up. Make a special place to read. It could be temporary like a fort or a tent or a special place in your house or theirs. Make reading books that special thing you do together. The gift of loving to reading is a gift that gives back!

What activities would you suggest they do with an OMGchild who is already a voracious reader?
Book Club for Kids! Start a book club with a few of their friends. I posted an easy format that you can use on my blog, including a long list of books and activities that worked for us .

A book club for kids is a great way to share books that your child has loved and there are great opportunities for teaching additional social skills like teamwork. My kids say that their very favorite activity in the world is their book club.

Any final words for OMGparents out there?
I do believe that all children have the capacity to discover the joy of reading and it’s changed my life so considerably that I wish this for every child. And every child is different so there is no magic formula except for trial and error and never giving up.

Thanks so much for the great ideas, Mia!

And to find more great advice for OMGbookworms, check out Pragmatic Mom!

2 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for featuring me! I’m excited to do reviews for OMGMother!!

  2. Thank you, Pragmatic Mom! We are excited, too!

Leave a Reply

*