Thursday, January 7, 2016

Harry Potter

Wylie picked up the Harry Potter Books in the summer and fall of 2014. He started reading them voraciously and non-stop. He would sit in the green chairs or in the corner of the couch curled up and just reading consistently. We were concerned with the Goblet of Fire book as it gets into the teenager subject matter and issues.
He put the book down for awhile and started reading lots of other books but wasn't keen on the Harry Potter books for some time.
It is now January 2016 and Harry Potter is back in the game. He's very excited about the story and yet again is ignoring the rest of the world to read about the boy wonder.
Ron Weasley is still the greatest character.

For Wylie this knocks off picking up a book he started but put down.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The 2016 reading challenge

Reading is a big part of our life as is the library. Video games have not taken over Wylie's reading time nor has homework taken over.
2015 represented a year in which we faced many challenges with finding appropriate reading material for Wylie. He was reading at a much higher grade and comprehension level, yet appropriate subject matter and content was tough to find.
We relied on our local library to give us the access to tons of books that may or may not be interesting.  Wylie self-selected to reading non-fiction books on particular topics of interest to him and fiction books that were semi-interesting to him. The librarians were incredibly helpful in recommending fiction books as well as helping Wylie navigate the library to go peruse the aisles of interest.

A blog that I notice (Literary Mama) posted a Reading Challenge for 2016. Wylie and I decided we are going to try to do this challenge which should be interesting.
Here is that challenge...
Read the following in 2016:
1. A book published in 2016
2. A book you can finish in one day
3. A book you've been meaning to read
4. A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller
5.A book you should have read in school (Wylie is opting to make this a book suggested by school)
6. A book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, parent, sibling, child or best friend
7. A book published before you were born
8. A book that was banned at some point
9. A book you have previously abandoned
10. A book you own but have never read
11. A book that intimidates you
12. A book you have read at least once.

This should make for a book a month and an interesting year!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Wylie recommended books...

An interesting writing prompt from a blog "The Literary Mama"
Write a review of one book you’ve read based on your child’s recommendation or urging. Why does he/she like it? Why were you hesitant to read it? Did your initial impression about it change? Why did he/she really want you to read it?

I've read many a book I wouldn't normally pick up and read or pick up and read to Wylie because he has gravitated toward it. This includes but is not limited to books on hero dogs, star wars characters, pirate school, and dinosaurs at school. There are books he wants to read or wants me to read to him that I would rather chuck in the trash mostly because the story is sappy and icky and rather poorly written. There are also the books he picks that end up being favorites that we sit and read together for over an hour at a time.

I now have less control over the books he picks from the library as his school has a very well stocked library and has two librarians to help the students pick out books. What I really LOVE about this is that the librarians DO NOT BELIEVE in making children pick books at their reading level! This means Wylie is bringing home chapter books he loves, and is bringing home books that he will struggle to read certain words in but still loves the story. What is tough about this policy is that sometimes he brings books home that I would rather not read to him and secretly hope he forgets about quickly.

Wylie Reading Update

We are nearing the end of first grade and Wylie is reading off the charts. He is a very studious reader and a very eclectic reader as well. Each week his class visits the library at school and can bring home up to four books at a time. Wylie brings home everything from Magic Tree House books (covering Titanic, Rome, Greece, San Francisco, and Egypt) to National Geographic books (Tigers are the main interest) and Sports related books.
He is also reading among his books at home:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Geronimo Stilton
Book One in the Series of Unfortunate Events
Donald Duck Original Comics which are stories told in comic/graphic novel version.

His reading level based on school assessment is around 5th or 6th grade. His comprehension of non-fiction topics is around 6th to 7th grade. This means he is reading non-fiction science, astronomy, history, geography, and similar subject areas and understanding them. He is asking questions that involve making connections and considerations of the topic. He then if needed puts the knowledge into practice.

All of this is great except I miss him asking to be read to at night. He now likes to read on his own.

Neil Gaiman

I read Neil Gaiman's "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" this weekend. It took me a bit to get into it, but then I just hit my stride and read the whole thing.
Initially I picked it up because of the author alone and my enjoyment of "American Gods," but this one straddles the fantasy and reality line so thinly that I really enjoyed it.
Here is my take on it:
1. If you have the time to block out the rest of the world and just read this book cover to cover in one sitting/breath DO IT.
2. It will absorb you in almost every manner of thought.
3. We ALL had a childhood of good, bad, or indifferent that involved grownups and life changing events. This is a view of that childhood from a child's point of view.
4. It is a child's point of view and memory of events, remember that as you read it as an adult. This is not simple adult version of a child's point of view. IT IS the child's point of view.

I really loved this book.
There are passages in which a young girl is leading the story and reaching out to lead you with her hand. She is not narrator but her voice is equally as strong in the story. The narrator is a middle-age man who has shed his age and returned us to his childhood. In particular just a few days of his childhood. He gives a background leading up to the events in the story yet seamlessly moves us from background to events to present day in the book.

There are parts of the book that are not just words but full images and memories of our own. Most of us had a point in childhood where our imaginations took us far into a fantasy world where we could be powerful and magical and our size and age did not matter. Neil Gaiman takes us into the world with his narrator. Instead of completely dissolving into the fantasy, he keeps reality and "this world" in tandem and along side the fantasy.
We can all say "it's just a fence covered with crows," but what we see is a crotchety being covered with carrion birds waiting to take our soul to another place. We see and know the "reality" but feel and experience the magical.

Fantastic book.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Wylie and Reading

I haven't posted in a very long time.
Mainly because Kindergarten started and we have been very busy reading and learning and reading and doing maths and reading and doing science experiments and reading and learning new games and well TONS of reading.

In January Wylie had officially zoomed through and completed all the Kindergarten reading books in his class curricula. His book selections from the library moved from books to have us read to him to more non-fiction books that he could read and explore on his own. These ranged from the DK Eyewitness series to National Geographics. He also brought home books that he was reading in class and wanted more. These were the Henry and Mudge books.

It is now the beginning of May. Wylie is reading currently at a 4th grade level and his teacher is working to find curricula to engage He still trips over words and wants us to read to him. In fact he will get his pajamas on early so that he can enjoy a bit of television and still have time to be read to at bedtime. He doesn't give up his reading time and has been known to wake up in the middle of the night completely upset he didn't get his book at bed. Of course the waking up part is usually because it has been such a busy day he fell asleep before he could be read to!

We will share interesting books that we are reading soon.

Monday, August 6, 2012

David Sedaris and Ann Patchett

I was intrigued by a colleagues review of "Me Talk Pretty One Day" by David Sedaris so I hunted it down at the library. It starts off rather dull and only when he begins to explain his life in France and attempts to learn the language as well as the French reaction to his attempts does the book actually turn out okay. I'm not a Sedaris fan.

I also picked up Ann Patchet's State of Wonder--about a biotechnology scientist hunting down a field scientist in the Amazon. It is through travel and experiences outside our comfort and norm that we learn about how to view other experiences. In some ways you realize how inward looking the main character is and how self-centered she is although she views everyone else in that manner.