Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Reading with the Kids

The kids and I have been doing quite a bit of reading during their summer break. We've been reading about some cool teenage and child mutants who were experimented on by some wacky scientists who injected them with avian DNA. They've got wings and a number of other unique abilities. We're having a blast with it as it's written in a way that's very current and attractive. There's a bit of an edge to the way they speak, "tongue in cheek" if you will, and that makes it pretty funny. The books I'm referring to are Maximum Ride by James Patterson. He usually writes thrillers and super books for grown ups but this is his first attempt at something for the little guys and it's great.

Aside from reading the Maximum Ride series with the babies, I'm also doing some one on one reading with them so they can practice reading in English out loud, and they are doing splendidly. They were a bit shy at first, but now they're having a blast. Thing 2, aka Miojoboy, is reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain and he's loving it. He cracks up at the old fashioned words and expressions used in the book like, lick and lam. You had to hear him laughing when Tom says to the cat, "Siddy, I'll lick you for that!"And he couldn't stop laughing when a little further down the page Tom said, "I bet you I'll lam Sid for that.." Now he's going around everywhere telling people he's gonna lick and lam them.

Samurai Jack is reading through a series of British books called Goosebumps. While it doesn't have much "nutritional" value, it is helping him with his reading out loud and I've noticed a significant improvement in the last couple of weeks.
They both run to the living room when I tell them it's time to read and don't want to stop even after we've been reading for an hour. This is a major change from what it used to be like. I was once so frustrated that I stopped trying to read with them altogether. They would always fidget and play and sneak toys in and I took it personally that they didn't want to be there reading with me. When I mentioned this to Angie's mom she suggested something truly revolutionary, enlightening, and to say the least novel: let them play while you read. I coudn't believe I'd never thought of this before.

You see, when we were kids, we weren't allowed to look at our hands or anywhere other than at our pages or the person who was reading. It was such a strict and hard-and-fast rule that I think subconsciously I was holding my kids to that same standard, not realizing that it was totally unnecessary. It never crossed my mind to just chillax and let them fidget and play while I read to them. You know what happened, eventually they stopped playing and started asking questions, participating and taking a real interest. Now I award points to the one who can guess what happens, who "it" is, where we left off, etc. Nothing actually happens with the points, no prizes or anything, but those points are still important to them (Heaven knows why). So, if you're reading this Julia, I thank you. Your suggestion was 36k platinum gold!

1 comment:

someone said...

Yes, from hearing bits and pieces of your reading that series with them, I TOTALLY want to read the books myself :)

Believe it or not, that's what got me hooked on the Harry Potter books: hearing bits and pieces of when you and Dan would read to them...

Thank you!