Earlier this summer, I was inspired by a friend on Facebook to read a chapter book with both kids at night. My 7 year old daughter and I had occasionally been reading chapter books, but I had yet to approach this idea with my 5 year old son. Some people were skeptical, including my husband and my mother, but I was determined. To try to ensure success, I became armed with a plan: I needed to pick a chapter book that still had some pictures in it (my son is a very visual learner), was not super long, and-here’s the key– was made into a movie. Initially I had narrowed it down to Stuart Little and The BFG, but eventually decided on the E.B. White classic.
(Here’s the two books I had it narrowed down to):
So initially when I presented the idea, my daughter was excited (as expected), but my son was adamantly against it. Now to be fair, he was against it partly because he thought I was going to read it all in one night, and he was right, that is an unattractive thought. But even after that, he still was hesitant, and I’ll admit, I forced the first chapter of the book onto him that first night. But the story of the little mouse eventually drew them both in and they were very excited to listen to me read a chapter of the book each evening.
Now I already know that the book is better than the movie, but I wanted to see what my children’s reaction to this would be. The book and the movie, Stuart Little, have a lot of differences, so there was a lot missing. They both enjoyed it, but when talking about it later, my son said, “The author got things wrong”, so I had to explain to him that the book actually came first. 🙂
So, fast-forward to this week in September. One evening my son randomly tells me, “Mom, next time we go to the library and we get books to check out, I can get a chapter book. I am NOT afraid of chapter books.”
What?! You could’ve knocked me over with a feather. I wanted to immediately get in the car and go to the library, but that wasn’t really feasible at that moment. I also knew that as a kindergartener, he’s not ready to actually read a chapter book himself. However, thank God for Graphic Novels!
During every visit to the library for about 5 months now, my daughter gets at least one book from the Lunchlady series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Whenever she’s not looking at them, my son tries to steal some time with the problem-solving cafeteria ladies. So this library trip, each child got their own Lunchlady book to enjoy and then swap.
Can’t go wrong with this villain-nabbing Lunch Lady.
So again, as a parent trying to instill a love and enjoyment of reading with your children, you may not reap the benefits right away, but just be patient, they will surprise you.