Tuesday, March 1, 2011

national reading month!

i'm SO excited to have a theme (and a project!) for this month.
and what a worthy theme. our family loves to read, and for me, personally, reading is probably third (after breathing and eating) on my list of things i need in order to live. 

in light of this, i have a few things i'd like to share with you. first, as you may know, i have 7 kids (yep, you read that right), and it's not only the little ones that need your encouragement with reading. it's great that we focus so much on early reading - it's the path to a life full of wonderful words - but, we kind of tend to drop the ball after about third grade. which is a shame. 

when we homeschooled, i used the book the well-trained mind as the basis for all we did. i love the classical model, and... and i just realized i could go on and on about this forever, but we're getting off the subject. (note to self: do a well-trained mind post soon)

the point is, that one of the activities recommended by the authors is reading aloud with your children. now i know we all know this, and probably do this often with our younger children. but what about the older ones? 
it's important for new readers to practice reading on their own, and so, in the interest of this, i think we all too often hand them a stack of books at about age 8, and don't think of it again. 

but, if i may say... if you do this, you're missing out. 

i can't say that i read with ALL my kids EVERY day, but we do it a lot. i even read aloud with my teenagers. it's such a great way to bond, and if you pick the right books, gives you tons of great inside jokes (nancy and i have been know to roll our eyes and mouth the word 'lydia' ((the nauseatingly flirtatious sister in Pride and Prejudice))  to each other when confronted with high school girls being drama queens) , shared emotional experiences (who can read the outsiders without going through SOME kind of internal change?), and a killer vocabulary. 

and so .. (sorry, i know this has been long on babble, and lean on fun pictures) i won't be featuring ONLY children's books this month, but a panoply (how's that for vocab ;) of great books for all different ages. 

ok. so, for today, we have:
for the little ones, the classic, Love you Forever, by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw.

i remember my mom reading this book to my little brother, and we'd repeat it to each other often as a family. it is currently annika's favorite book, and i have to do the pick-her-up-and-cuddle-her-and-say-the-words thing every night before she'll go to bed. 
it's hard to read it as a mom without getting a little teary. :)

for medium sized kids, today's pick is Norton Juster's amazing, clever, almost allegorical fantasy, The Phantom Tollbooth.

i recently finished this book with owen and max (third and second grade, respectively) and not only did they love it and beg for 'one more chapter...pleeeeeease' every night, but owen took it upon himself to write up a little review of the story and copy out almost all of the fun pictures. 
this one is amazing. if you've read it yourself, reading it again with your kids will be even better, and if you haven't, i promise you won't be disappointed. 

and lastly, for the adults. (that's right, you! when was the last time you picked up a great novel? not some how-to book, not a textbook, not a manual, ... heck, i'll go ahead and say it, not even a sue grafton or a nicholas sparks. ((not that i'm a book snob... but... maybe just a little.)) and isn't it good to shake your mind up every once in a while? to feed it something carefully crafted and refined and bursting with meaning? not that you have to read ALL the books i'll recommend this month. but maybe pick one. just for you. ) 
^^^ wow, loooong parenthetical aside. apologies. 
where were we? ah, right. the grown-up book.
today it's the Gilead books, Gilead,and Home 

by the incomparable, pulitzer prize winning,  Marilynne Robinson.
she is an amazing woman, and someday, i'd like to grow up and be a writer like her.

so that's it. 
a long and winding post, 
and a few great books for you to check out. 

and lastly, to see what Polly from Helping Little Hands is doing for her read-along project today, check out her blog, by clicking on the read along link to the right. 

make today a fabulous chapter.

go here to see an awesome interview Marilynne Robinson did with John Stewart. she is so cool. 

No comments: