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Doug Lemov's field notes

Reflections on teaching, literacy, coaching, and practice.

02.01.17Tucking In and Tucking Out


The general idea.


Sometimes people say to me, “You should write a book about parenting.” I assume they think that based on what’s in Teach Like a Champion. Goodness knows watching great teachers has made me a better parent. (Hint: nonverbal interventions with your own kids!) But it’s definitely not because they have ever seen me trying to get my 8-year-old to basketball practice on time. If they had, they wouldn’t be asking. Actually there are about a hundred interactions a day that would disabuse them of the notion. But even if I thought i could advise on parenting, I would say ‘no’ to that idea. I mean, I get enough hate mail as it is. Weighing in on parenting would give me more trolls than the Brothers Grimm.

I say that because I am about to use my blog to share a parenting idea: something that enriches my daughter’s life and our relationship. I thought some others might want to steal it. But I do not purport to be a parenting expert. This is recreational advice. Please do not feel the need to respond by telling me how wrong or how awful I am.

The idea: Tuck-in time at night is often the best time of the day for me and Goose, my littlest daughter. I read to her and we cuddle. It’s quality time AND we get the benefits of reading together. Usually, she pleads with me to keep reading when I say “lights out.” And whether I agree or not, when we turn out the light, there are hugs. We are happy and close, our relationship is strengthened, and reading is reinforced as a part of our relationship.  Over time, it has become one of the things we do when we want to spend time in each others’ company. Hopefully this will make her always love reading.

I started to reflect on how much I valued tucking her in with a book and how beneficial it was. And then one day I decided that if tucking her in with a book was so great, I could tuck her out that way too.  So one morning, I went up to her room ten minutes early, kissed her on the head to wake her and snuggled in next to her and started reading.  She listened quietly with her eyes closed—I wasn’t sure with how much interest–until I stopped.  And then she opened her eyes and said what she says at night: “Keep reading, Daddy.”  So I did. She stopped me and asked a question or two. I read some more. And then I told her it was time to get up and have breakfast. And she hugged me and we went downstairs.

So now there are two times when we share the blessing of reading together: “tucking in” and “tucking out.” I can’t do it everyday, but when I can it’s pretty wonderful. It’s made our relationship stronger and made reading together an even bigger part of our relationship. I thought you might want to try it.

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2 Responses to “Tucking In and Tucking Out”

  1. Joe
    February 25, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    I’m stealing this. Thank you.

    • Doug Lemov
      March 21, 2017 at 10:51 am

      glad it’s useful. hope it goes perfectly! -doug

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