How to Teach a Child to Read - with Paula Skidmore

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Paula feeding her grandson Henry.

Meet the Mom

Paula Skidmore is 58 years old and she is my mom. Since she is the first person I turn to when I have parenting questions I figured she would be a good person to kick off this series of posts.

First off let me offer a disclaimer. My mom is the opposite of tech savvy.

Recent Example: I was trying to show her something on her Facebook account but she couldn't remember her password and she no longer has access to her recovery mail since it was through our former internet provider when we lived in New York.

Also, as she was responding to these questions, I had to show her how to use the touchpad mouse on my laptop after she realized she could not scroll on the screen like she does with her kindle.

Having sufficiently disclaimed let me add a caveat. I told her it was an interview but she seems to have treated it more like a survey. Since we did this very late on the night before she left to return home I did not have the chance to extract more from her.

Now, with that out of the way, on to the questions. I've taken the liberty of adding some clarifications and anecdotes of my own. They are all in bold text. I’m sure mom doesn't mind.

Q: What blogs do you follow?

A: None

(No surprise there)

Q: What book have you recently finished?

A: In the Garden of the Beasts

Q: What TV are you watching?

A: The Voice and NCIS

Q: What is your guilty pleasure?

A: Gardening

Q: How old are your kids?

A: 28,26,24,21

(Okay so clearly we are still working out our interview process because that’s not a very good question. Maybe tell us about your family would be better.)

Q: Where do you call home?

A: Hackettstown, NJ

Q: Describe your family in 3 words.

A: Creative,Responsible, Hard Workers

(That’s technically 4 words mom.)

Q: What is your favorite meal to make for your family?

A: Hawaiian Haystacks

(Mmmm. Yes they are delicious.)

Q: What is your favorite family activity?

A: Playing rook.

Ask A Mom

Q: What is the one thing that you dislike about being a parent?

A: Having to discipline.

Q: What is one kids related item that you just cannot live without?

A: Bank Account

(Not sure if she was making a joke about the cost of raising children or saying that kids should have a bank account so they can learn money management at a young age. Either way I fail to see how a bank account is a kid related item.)

Q: What is one piece of advice that you wish you had been given as a new parent?

A: Play with your kids a lot.

Q: How do you teach a child to read?

A: Start early reading to them. Start with teaching them the phonetic alphabet then have them sound out and write short words such as pot, dog, cat, etc. Teach sounds such as ing, ch, sh, ow.

(Well that's not much. I guess we kind of missed the point of the article. We'll do better next time.)

Q: Who do you idolize/wish you were more like as a mother?

A: Mary Smith, Hyrum Smith's wife. She was very brave, hard working, and spiritual.

Q: What makes being a mom worth it?

A: Seeing my kids with their own families.

(Aww shucks.)

So there you have it. Now all of you have met my mom. I think she's pretty great and the best mom in the world. (I'm a little biased.)


If you want more from my mom that’s just too bad. She can barely work her smartphone. She doesn't blog. She has a few social media accounts but she doesn't add strangers and only uses them to keep up with family.

We are planning to do an Ask a Mom post every Friday so keep checking back. To make sure that you don’t miss anything, sign up for our email newsletter.

Also if you have any ask a mom questions that you want answered or you know of a mom that we should ask questions of, please let us know in the comments.

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  • Loved it. No one should feel guilty about gardening though! Paula’s beautiful gardens have brought us such joy!

    Emily Conable on
  • I loved this, Rob! Your Mom and I can relate so much – being a Mother – the best and most challenging vocation in the world to me – it has brought forth more of me than I thought was within me and all for the greater good. Keep the blogs coming, Rob – this was wonderful, and please send along my best to your Mom.

    Catherine Uhly on

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