WRADvocate Profile: Caroline Grant

Caroline Grant is our WRADvocate in San Francisco, California. 

She is a writer, editor, runner, baker, mother, reader, and avid movie-goer (not necessarily in that order). These days, she devotes most of her energy to raising her two young sons, editing Literary Mama, and writing about food and movies.

Caroline's WRAD event will be a pajama party read aloud at Books, Inc in Laurel Village, San Francisco. She'll be reading with local writers Nicki Richesin and Samantha Schoech. For the details:

Celebrate World Read Aloud Day at Books, Inc.!
3515 California Street, San Francisco
6 - 7 PM

Learn more about Caroline below, and if you're in the Bay Area, join the fun!

1. Can you share some of your earliest memories of reading and how they impacted you?

When I was a kid, I had a bookcase right at the foot of my bed so on Saturday mornings I could stretch out and grab a book to read without even getting out of bed. One of my favorites was Laura Ingalls Wilder's FARMER BOY; I regularly reread the passages about the Wilder family's meals. The book I have coming out next year, THE CASSOULET SAVED OUR MARRIAGE: TRUE TALES OF FOOD, FAMILY, AND HOW WE LEARN TO EAT is just the latest incarnation of this abiding interest!

2. What advice would you give to teachers, parents and caregivers who want to reach their struggling readers?

I think some kids struggle because they're not so interested in the books they are being given. So if a beautiful picture book doesn't spark a child's interest, maybe a set of LEGO instructions or a nature magazine will. I used to struggle with my child's interest in nonfiction reading; he wanted me to read him a kid's encyclopedia at bedtime, rather than a story! But it's important to let children find their own way to what they want to read, and not limit their choices, especially when they are just starting out. They have a lifetime to read, and they'll be happier about it if they're not made to follow a lot of rules.

3. Do you have a memory of someone reading aloud to you that changed you in some way? How did that change you?

When I was a kid, the youngest of four children, my father read regularly to my siblings and me. Maybe some of the stories were a bit over my head or a bit easy for my oldest brother, but we all loved the time together, it strengthened the connection between us. Now, I continue to read to my two children together every night, even though (at 7 and 10) they are perfectly able to read for themselves. I hope they'll continue to let me read to them for a few more years!

4. What do you think is most essential for teachers, parents and caregivers to do in order to nurture a child to become a lifelong reader?

I think it's important to offer kids a range of reading materials -- books, magazines, catalogues -- and then simply create lots of time in the day for reading, whether reading aloud or side-by-side quiet reading. Kids learn to love reading by loving the time they spend reading, and seeing the people they love reading, too.

5. What do you think the future holds for readers?

I love the current proliferation of reading devices -- e-readers, reading apps for phones, etc -- but books and magazines will continue to form the foundation of my reading. I just think the more ways for people to read, the better.

To follow Caroline and her work, you can find her on Twitter on @carolinegrant and on her websites: