Ramp Up Back to School Reading with a Kindle Paperwhite & FreeTime App

kindle paperwhite

How is back to school going for everyone? For us, it has been smooth sailing. In year’s past, the start of school was always tough on our oldest, because it meant getting back into reading.

But this year, our oldest son has not missed a beat with his reading as he practices a lot. Over the summer he really got into reading what he calls chapter books. These are stories he actually follows chapter by chapter and not the quick reads we have done in the past.

To help his interest, we were lucky enough to try out a Kindle Paperwhite and the FreeTime feature it has. While our son’s interest for holding a book and reading was good, holding a screen really blows up the interest level.

Like all Kindle devices, it’s easy on the eyes and meant for reading, not playing games or surfing the net.

Then add in the FreeTime app and this device is a major hit.

Kumon: Work Hard and the Results Will Come

For close to three months, Harrison has been attending Kumon twice a week and doing work almost every day. It’s been a long road, a lot of hard work and this week we saw the results. Amazing results. Even the wonderful people at the center are surprised at how quickly Harrison has moved.

When he started, he was not enjoying reading and learning as much as we thought he should. It was a perfect storm of things I believe that was holding him back. It was never having the smarts, we were sure of that. Harrison I believe hit the Grade One wall. SK was all fun and games and now actual work was cramping his style.

Last name ever, first name greatest. Congrats Harry on 100% on your #kumon test.

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He had to learn to do work in a specific time frame, focus on the teacher and figure out how to do it all on his own. That is quite a challenge for a kid just starting real school.

Kumon Update: Seeing Good Progress After A Few Weeks

As you may know, Harry, our oldest, is going to Kumon twice a week to accelerate his reading skills. Through the blog, I was contacted by Kumon to give the program a try and to share my thoughts on the experience.

Well, we are a few weeks in and I would say we are seeing good progress so far. As I mentioned before, it’s all about structure, routine and repetition. You don’t spend a lot of time doing it, but you do daily for 10-20 minutes.


Here is how our Kumon schedule works.

  • Sunday: Harry does a booklet in the afternoon.
  • Monday: Harry does a booklet after dinner.
  • Tuesday: We go the Kumon centre where Harry does 30 minutes, which includes a booklet with one of the instructors. Here is work from the week is reviewed. We are given new booklets.
  • Wednesday: Harry does a booklet after dinner.
  • Thursday: We go the Kumon centre where Harry does 30 minutes, which includes a booklet with one of the instructors. Here is work from the week is reviewed. We are given new booklets.
  • Friday: You guessed it. Harry does a booklet after dinner.
  • Saturday: Harry does a booklet in the afternoon.

Each booklet takes about 10 or 15 minutes depending on Harry’s energy level. Sometimes it is hard in the week, because we are all pretty tired by 7 pm. It is certainly one of the struggles, but so far there have been no issues.

Kumon, Kumon. It’s Time To Accelerate Your Kid’s Education


Do you remember when you started to read? Or when you started to do basic math? I don’t. But as our family enters the wonderful world of public school, we are quickly learning, you are never too young to start learning about reading, writing and math. As soon as they hit JK, they are doing letters and numbers. I think it’s great.

Our oldest, Harry is in Grade 1 and he is so eager to be able to read, he gets angry that it can’t happen faster. What a great problem to have. That’s better than no interest at all.

We have been reading to him since day 1 and I am sure that is a big part of why he loves books. Even when he was in daycare, the staff always would comment at how he just loved books and would sit and look at them every chance he got.

That being said, once this guy knows how to read, look out. I look forward to his story telling, his imagination and his overall interest in the world, just exploding. As I remember, I was not that into reading until much later in life. I could never separate reading for school because you had to and reading for pleasure because you wanted to. Now, I love to read when I have time and I love to write and be creative if you could not tell.

So as parents, can we help speed up this process of Harry learning to read? Or do we just leave it to the schools and wait for it to happen?

Fortunately, in 2015, there are so many options at our disposal to supercharge our child’s learning. There is the standard home tutoring, there are computer courses and web apps and there of course is parental help.