Around the beginning of August, my mother used to always warn us that she was going to start to get us ready for school, which chiefly meant going to bed earlier and waking up earlier, which I hated. I mean, why did we need the practice? Why did I have to waste quality evening TV time to go to bed or wake up out of my good morning sleep just to sit and stare for a good hour before I really wake up? I despised it. Now fast forward 30 years, guess who’s doing the same thing with her own children? Oops…
So, its about time for us to wind up those lax summer routines and get back into the routines for school. (And I’m not going to lie, waking up early is hurting me probably more than it is them.) At any rate, as you also get back into those routines, I thought I’d share a resource that I thought had some great ideas and reminders when #RaisingReaders.
This short article from Reader’s Digest gives some great tips that can help you make those bedtime reads enjoyable, even if your child is sulking because it’s earlier than its been for the past 2 months. Good luck! 🙂
When I saw Mr. Schu mention Kelly Starling Lyons’ new book on Twitter, I knew it was a book we had to have in our house. Jada Jones: Rock Star is the first in a series about Jada, a fourth grader who knows a ton about rocks! I mean, just look at the cover, isn’t she just screaming “Children will love me, read me!”
Well, thanks to the generosity of the author, we were able to get an Advanced Readers Copy of the book, and my children and I read this short chapter book over a few nights as our bedtime read.
Jada is your average 4th grader, who starts the book a little upset because her best friend, her ace, her rock finding partner, has moved far away, and she’s trying to figure out how to navigate her way to finding new friends to hang out with.
Now one of the things I loved about Jada was that her passion was rocks. Not because I also have a passion for rocks (because I don’t), or that my kids have that passion (because they don’t either), but because the author made it seem like such an ordinary hobby. I thought for sure my kids would make a comment on her passion for rocks and minerals as something they thought was odd, but they did not. In fact, a few days after we finished it, I found out my son was asking their babysitter what her favorite rock was (which was feldspar by the way, who knew?). I contribute that to how Lyons portrays it as important to Jada, but still makes her relatable, so it does not seem like an odd hobby in the book.
So the book goes through Jada’s struggles to find new friends, the drama with working with others on a group project, and finding a balance between doing what she wants for fun and what her friends may consider fun.
All in all, my children and I really enjoyed this bedtime read. Although it was a chapter book, my 6-year old son stayed engrossed because there were illustrations throughout the book and my 8-year old daughter got into the dynamics of Jada and her classmates. Even though we did it as a family read aloud, I think the book has a great relatable storyline and would be a great book for a child transitioning into chapter books to read on their own. Plus its a series, and we always love a series–Jada is definitely someone we will be keeping up with!
Side note: This is reason #3496854 why diversity in books is important. When I asked my daughter which of the three girls she was like, her response was, “I look like her [points to illustration], so I’m like her.”
Jada Jones: Rock Star by Kelly Starling Lyons will be released in September 2017, and this #RaisingReaders family definitely recommends it.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas has been at the top of the New York Times Bestseller list and has been talked about all over Twitter since before it was released, so I’m not sure there’s much I can say about the specifics of the storyline of the book that hasn’t been said. As I said in my Goodreads review, I feel like Angie Thomas was brave to write a book about an issue as current and controversial as Black Lives Matter. The effect that this book had on me as both a Mirror and a Window to my own life experiences, is one that makes it a rare gem for me. So for those few of you who haven’t read this book, here are some reasons why you should read it:
For those of you who turn away because of the YA (Young Adult) label, don’t. This book is great…
So, my daughter loves graphic novels, I myself have enjoyed quite a few graphic novels this summer, and I’ve already written about how I’m excited my son got into chapter books via graphic novels. However, graphic novels and I almost had to come to blows this summer.
My 6 year old son tends to be a visual learner. He loves looking at illustrations to analyze stories, checks out lots of National Geographic Kids books at the library and spends the majority of the time staring at the photos in them. All of this is fine, I recognize and love it.
However, my boy is also sort of a reluctant reader. When we go to the library, he loves picking out books, is all about them on the ride home, and occasionally even for another 30 mins or so after we get home. He also likes being read to at bedtime. However, when given choices, rarely is reading independently the one he chooses, which is starting to try my patience.
The initial joy about his attachment to graphic novels has turned into frustration because he won’t even try to read the words. When he first started reading graphic novels, he had just started kindergarten and hadn’t learned to read yet, so I wasn’t concerned. But now, 1st grade is coming quickly, and he left Kindergarten reading above grade level. So you would think that would inspire and motivate him to try to read the words? Nope. Nada.
“Mom, Ican’t read the words!”
“Let me help you, we can read together”
“No, these words are too hard!”
Now the last thing I want to do is make him dislike reading or think its a chore, so I don’t push it, I just walk away dejected. I won’t keep him from reading graphic novels, but I also want him to read the words in the books he has. If he has books that are closer to his “level”, which would be shorter and have fewer words, then it raises the probability that he will actually read and understand them.
Recently, I have decided that there’s got to be an in-between, some sort of compromise that will make us both happy. What I’ve decided is that I’m going to read the graphic novel to him. Why I haven’t done that sooner, I have no idea. Especially since he already enjoys rereading our bedtime story when its a picture book. Let’s cross our fingers that this plan actually works out.
Graphic novels are wonderful, and a great way to get kids, including mine, reading books. However, I’ve got to practice patience and adjust my bedtime reading with my child so that my reluctant reader doesn’t become a non-reader. Wish me luck!