Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Learning to Read

It's been really interesting teaching my kiddos to read.  Since the boys were in school through the early grades, I could rely more on the teachers to do their thing and supplement a lot at home.  Both were reading really well coming out of kindergarten because they had an incredible teacher and again, me at home.

The amazing kindergarten teacher moved to Australia of all places, so Melanie had a different teacher.  She didn't do much with reading at all, she walking into first grade she wasn't reading much at all.  That was the year we started homeschooling.  Melanie chose to go to school, but after the first couple weeks, when she came home from school begged me daily to homeschool.  I made her do that for two weeks, and let her know that she wouldn't be bouncing in and out.  If she was coming home, she was home for the year.  She agreed, and we took her out.

It took her longer to get reading to click, but as I've found with each of the girls, all it takes is the right book at the right time and they're hooked.

For Melanie, it was "Adventures with Arnold Lobel" (my favorite story is in the Mouse Tales section called "The Journey").  When she discovered that, she read it over and over and I never had to work with her on reading again.  That girl always has a book or her kindle in her hand.

Carolyn has struggled even longer.  The patterns weren't clicking, and she fought with the same words even after she had read them and written them multiple times.  A few weeks ago I noticed the book "Jack and Janet" at my parents' house, and asked if I could borrow it to see if she would be interested.  Once she got started, she dug right in and would go hide for an hour working through the stories.  Hooray!  The magic book!  Wanting it to continue, I went online and researched other books in the series, ordered the next two plus one a few books earlier for Erin (who has been picking up reading pretty easily).  While Carolyn has been waiting for the next one to arrive, she took over "Adventures with Arnold Lobel" and finished that one the day before "Up and Away" arrived.  She is now happily working her way through that one and doing really well.  I still think there may be dyslexia or something else there, but it's so wonderful that things are clicking for her.

When the easier one, "Tip and Mitten," arrived for Erin yesterday, I told her we could check and see if she was ready for it.  Before I could sit down with her, she parked herself and read the first two pages.  Super proud of herself, she read them to me.  Same story as Carolyn, she's been hiding herself away working her way through the book.  I've had her read portions here and there, and she's doing fabulous.  While I was ordering the book between that and "Jack and Janet," she walked in to tell me she's done, and asked if she could read it again.  Of course!

These older learning-to-read books are actually really good ones.  The stories are so sweet - most based around a family and the situations they run into together.

Favorite Little Books

(Started this a long time ago, but left it to see if I would think of any more.  Haven't spent much time thinking about it since, so it must be time to just post.)

When they kids were little they all had their own specific favorite books that we had to read over and over.

With Adam it was anything with animals, especially horse books.  He beat up The Field Guide to Cows (simple but clever title when you think about it).  And oh, the police, fireman, and ambulance books.  Over and over and over.

There are a surprising number of books with a Sam in them.  Besides the regular fun, that's partially why Sammy enjoyed Green Eggs and Ham so much.  We also read anything trains.  Thomas the Tank Engine was his ultimate favorite, but anything with trains was good.  I remember reading Taking a Trip on my Train a lot.  Sammy and the Dinosaurs (though it's now Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs - why?) was great because not only does it have a Sammy, but it also has dinosaurs AND trains.  Cute cute story, too.

I read Where the Wild Things Are and Corduroy to the boys a LOT.  The girls never latched on to those very much.

Melanie started the girl round of books, and that has continued through the others.  Anything princess.  We would search for princess book after princess book at the library.  Melanie still loves princess books - anything Shannon Hale, anything Gail Carson Levine.

Carolyn - My monkey outdoorsy girl, she loves reading about Jane Goodall (Me . . . Jane is probably my most favorite favorite picture book biography I've ever read.  The ending is perfect, gets me every time.)  She also loved reading Girls Who Looked Under Rocks with me.

Jamie bought Erin The Enchanted Stables for her birthday one year.  She's a daddy's girl, so that was a favorite for a long time.

Madeleine loved the Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? books, which are surprisingly educational.  Funny when a 1 year old talks about whooping cranes.  We read those and Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb more for her than any of the others.  She also loves Old Hat, New Hat.

Some of the girls' favorite books include Big Sister, Little Sister, Tough Chicks, and Princesses Are Not Quitters. They all love to listen to those.

Some family favorites:
Richard Scary's Cars and Trucks and Things That Go - This was a family favorite when I was a kid, racing from page to page to find "gold bug."  My mom gave each of her kids our own copy as adults, so now our kids love to do the same thing.  Madeleine and I looked at it the other day, finding all the funny cars (pickle car, carrot car, doughnut car).  We decided that Adam should never have a doughnut car because he would eat it before he could go anywhere.

The Children's 20th Century Book Treasury - My brother gave us this one when Adam and Sammy were little.  The best treasury of children's books that I've seen, and a great one to cuddle up with a pile of kids and read story after story  It doesn't have all the pictures that the regular books would have, but when we liked the story we would check out the real thing.

We also really enjoy reading Piggy and Elephant books, pretty much anything by Arnold Lobel, and pretty much anything by Kevin Henkes.  They all have a touch of silly that we really enjoy.