This Holiday Season Give the Gift of Reading…Literally

This is the first of the Read by 4th guest blogger series.

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When Ava was about four years old, I realized she wasn’t reading as well as I thought she should.

I thought, “Well, my dad told me I was reading well by age four. Why isn’t she?”

As parents, we want better for our kids, so I proceeded to blame myself. Although she was in K4, I had to remember that I, too, needed to be teaching her the basics of reading.

I came across something on social media about kids having the gift of reading…literally.

That Christmas, I decided, “Let’s try something new!”

That’s when I came up with my “Unwrap and Read” project. I’d wrap about 24 books and place them under the Christmas tree. Each night leading up to Christmas, Ava would pick one book, unwrap it and sit down to read it with me.

My search began in Ava’s room, where I started collecting a few books. Some were her favorites that I read to her when she was younger. Next, I bought a few new books, just to shake things up and heighten the element of surprise.

Look, we know these kids are always tempted to unwrap a gift before Christmas…this was the opportunity for that.


Now, Ava is 8 and I still try to find creative ways to improve her reading as well as her vocabulary skills. I’m still doing the Unwrap and Read, but she doesn’t finish reading one book every day because she is into chapter books.

So what else did we incorporate?

I decided Ava would basically learn a new word each week. We have a children’s dictionary and I would have her close her eyes and randomly pick a word. She would then read that word and the definition. To check out her writing skills, I would have her write that word and the definition. It has even gotten to the point that if I hear Ava say a big word, I’ll have her spell it!

These ideas are easy on the wallet. You can always borrow books or even reuse books you already have for the Unwrap and Read. If you don’t have dictionaries around, you can always pick words from the books the kids are reading and learn the definition via the internet.

All you have to do is set aside quality reading time with your child and be patient as they reach literary milestones.



Born and raised in Miami, Cappuchino decided radio would be her joy when she toured Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida. By her second semester  at FAMU, the half-Thai, half-Black beauty was given the moniker Cappuchino  (because of the hue of her skin).

Cappuchino received a B.S. in newspaper journalism but decided to focus on  radio. She spent seven years at KMJJ-FM in Shreveport, Louisiana, where she  became the assistant program director and midday host before moving to  Philadelphia to work with POWER 99FM in January 2012.

Cappuchino is a life-long learner, speaker, mom, and wife.