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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.

I am going to to use this post to share a parenting idea: something that enriches my daughter’s life and our relationship. I thought some others might want to steal it. I do not purport to be a parenting expert. This is recreational advice.

Context: 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 snuggle in. It’s quality time together AND we get the benefits of reading together.  I get to bring a book to life for her and she gets to lose herself in it. 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.  For me it is a pure and simple joy.

The idea: 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 the book she’d pleaded with me not to stop reading from the night before. Her eyes closed—I wasn’t even totally sure she was listening at first.  But then I paused  and she opened her eyes and said what she says at night: “Keep reading, Daddy.”  So I did. She stopped me again in a few minutes and asked a question: Why is she doing that?

I read some more. And then I told her it was time to get up and have breakfast. There were hugs and a piggyback ride and we went downstairs- she asking if I might read to her more over breakfast.

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, obviously, 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.

Anyway, 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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