DISCLOSURE: I received a subscription in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.
One of the things I feel passionate about while raising my children is teaching them to love reading! Raising readers is a job that begins in the home, so working on building literacy skills is a part of our daily routine.
I’m a book lover, and I think it’s so important for my kids to see me reading. I encourage them to read as much as possible. We go on weekly trips to the library and I never say no to a book order or book fair. Building a library of books that they love is important, but it really doesn’t matter what they read…as long as they are reading!
Last Spring, Grant and I had an important decision to make. Lily was our first child who had a Summer birthday and it was a late one. She celebrated her 5th birthday just before the Kindergarten cutoff date, and we were on the fence about whether she would start Kindergarten or if she would stay in preschool for one more year.
Ultimately, with the input of her teacher, we decided to send her to Kindergarten. Lily loves school and thrives in a social setting, but I knew she would have a few struggles. It is very common in our school district to hold kids back if they have a Summer birthday, so Lily started Kindergarten with quite a few kids who celebrated their 6th birthday before she even celebrated her 5th, or celebrated their 6th birthday shortly after school started.
I never expected her to be on the same level as her peers who are a full year older, but it feels like we’re constantly racing to bridge the gap. While some of them came to Kindergarten already reading, Lily was still working on letter recognition and letter sounds. We now have to aim for that higher standard for Lily, which means we put in a LOT of work at home.
Flash cards, phonics games, leveled reading books and learning apps are a part of our daily routine after Lily gets home from school. Everything is finally starting to click, but sometimes you need to think outside the box to really spark their interest!
Enter Ben the Rooster!
Ben, who is an adorable barnyard rooster, wants kids to love reading, too! Ben is a great pen pal for kids ages 3-8. Through the postcards that he sends twice a month, Ben encourages young readers to read, think, create and write!
Lily was so excited when something arrived in the mail just for her! When she pulled the postcards out of the envelope, the first thing she said was that the cartoon rooster was really cute. But when I started reading the postcard, Lily’s eyes lit up. She was so happy that somebody wrote to her!
In the first postcard, Ben introduced himself and encouraged her to tell him about her favorite book and draw a picture about the book on the included blank, stamped postcard to send back. Lily immediately ran off to grab a pencil and markers, and got to work. She drew the picture of her favorite book, dictated to me what she wanted to say to Ben, signed her name and excitedly added a few hearts. The next day, she was beaming as she put her postcard into the mailbox. “I can’t WAIT to hear back from him!” And just over 2 weeks later, another postcard arrived in the mail!
There’s no doubt that Lily loves her pen pal, but as a parent, I love him, too! The postcards, which are mailed on the 1st and 16th of each month, are beautifully illustrated in a way that appeals to young children. In each postcard, Ben tells a story, gives facts, asks questions and encourages the child to draw a picture on the blank postcard to send back. This service is FUN and educational!
Lily recently received her third postcard, and she was so excited to read a story about a lost tooth! She can relate to that one! What I observed this time was that Lily immediately picked up the postcard and tried to read it on her own. She spotted every sight word that she knew, and shouted out the words. She began to realize just how much she could actually read, and her smile got bigger with each word. That was it! That was the spark I was waiting for!
I sat down next to her, and we read the postcard together. I read the more difficult words, and she jumped in every time she knew a word. She even sounded out a few new words along the way. When we were done reading, Lily counted her teeth for Ben, then immediately got to work on her postcard to send back. This time, she worked with me and wrote the words she already knew on her own. She mailed off her reply and is eagerly awaiting her next postcard!
Ben the Rooster is a sure winner in our home. As Lily declared, “Ben’s one of my best friends forever and I just love him!” Anything that helps inspire the love of reading gets my vote of approval!
GET TWO MONTHS FREE!!!
There are several subscription options for Ben the Rooster. You can subscribe on a month to month basis, purchase a 6 month subscription, or purchase a 6 or 12 month birthday subscription, which includes a birthday card.
Want to give Ben the Rooster a try? Use the code BENFORTWO to get two months free!
Thank you, Ben (and team), for helping to build Lily’s literacy skills! She is a big fan of Ben the Rooster!