Monday, February 19, 2007

Read to Me 2007--My Goals

As I've said, this mission is designed first and foremost for me. If I have held myself up to be some super-Mom who reads book after book at each child's request, while doing crafts and whipping up a healthy meal, then I apologize. I know that all of these things are important, and I want to give the time that it takes to do them, but I often let other things get in the way. I am hoping that making a concentrated effort for a few weeks will honestly change my habits. I want to set some concrete goals and then evaluate how I achieved success, or why I did not.

With Kyle (age 2 1/2):

He's a busy boy, but sometime after he turned one, he really began enjoying books, so I would read to him at bedtime, of course, and occasionally make an effort to read more to him throughout the day. With this whole mission in mind, I have really been consistent about reading to him at bedtime and naptime. I usually read three books each time. I am happy with this process, but to stick to it over these last few weeks, it's involved change. Instead of just rushing up to naptime and tossing him in bed at the last possible minute, I've had to make sure that we have the ten minutes or so that reading requires. Ten minutes--that's nothing really in the grand scheme of things. So I want to continue reading at least three books at naptime and nighttime. I would also like to read to him more throughout the day. I think that I may reinstate our TV Free Tuesday, which was always good for more reading (for both of us!).

I also want to incorporate more variety. I would like to complete a couple of the units from Picture Book Preschool which has weekly themes, incorporating quality books centered around a different topic each week.

For Amanda (age 8):

I got some great ideas for short novels for kids from the The Read-Aloud Handbook (this book is as good as everyone says it is, in content, but especially for the lists of recommended ages, from picture books up through teens). I think that by reading a few short novels, as opposed to one long book, we will both stay excited. We might read a Mary Poppins sequel as well (my review is linked there--it was a GREAT read-aloud book). She is such an avid reader, but as she herself told me, reading together is a tangible reminder of my love and care for her. I love the connection it creates between us. But because she enjoys reading on her own, and because bedtime is such a rushed time, it's something that usually happens three or four nights a week, instead of each night. I would like to set a page goal, so that if reading at night isn't occurring with regular frequency, I'll make it a priority during other times throughout the day. I would like to read 280 pages over the month. That's an average of 10 pages a night, which is probably no great stretch, but it's the consistency that I'm striving for. It would also be nice to incorporate a bit more variety with her, as well, such as reading a great juvenile biography together.

As a family:

Since there is such a gap in their ages, it's hard to read to both of them together. I've been wanting to read more poetry to Amanda, since she's begun to show an interest (in Shel Silverstein, specifically), and it occurred to be that the sing-song rhythm of poetry could be a great thing for both of them. I can choose content that is more interesting for Amanda, but Kyle should be able to listen and enjoy as well. I think that a good time to read to them together would be after Amanda returns home from school in the afternoons. I have already ordered the Cybils winner in the poetry category, Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets from the Meadow, and it's on the way, so I will begin with that. If anyone has any other poetry recommendations for a third grader (that a 2 year old would listen to), I'd love to hear them.


Mamacita Tina said...

Shel Silverstein has poems that are absolutely silly, and I would think hold the interest of both your kids. Someone (I think Mary P. at daycaredaze.blogspot) recommended the book Poetry Speaks to Children. It has really good reviews at Amazon. Another good poet for children is Prelutsky. Thanks for mentioning what you are using, I'm going to look into them.

Mamacita Tina said...

Sorry, I forgot Mary P. moved to wordpress, she's at

Dad said...

Your comments about Shel Silverstein poems really brought back memories. His book, "Where the Sidewalk Ends" or was it "A Light in the Attic" that I gave you gave us both great pleasure. Go to:
for animated poems from each of his books. He even recites some of them himself. Amanda and Kyle will both enjoy. Tell them, its from Pops.

Lauren S. said...

Jennifer, I have been interested in Picture Book Preschool as well. I appreciate your comments if you try it. I may also add Mary Poppins to our novel list. I don't think we will finish my whole list in a month, but I hope this challenge will be only the beginning. Thanks!

Katrina said...

Great goals. Mine aren't quite as ambitious, but like you, I just want to reach some greater consistency. I smiled when I saw Shel Silverstein in your post, since one of his books is included in my goals.

Jane said...

I salute your efforts to read poetry to both of your children. Many of my students (in grade 4) are non readers. Through daily, repeated poetry reading many are becoming more fluent readers. All have memorized most of the poems. I think that you will find it very rewarding. I think that your children may even find that they both memorize and enjoy saying the poems together. Jack Prelutsky is a wonderfully funny poet. You can get his poetry books for the computer in the Living Books series too. You have inspired me to gather my poetry books and do a post about them. There are too many great ones to mention here!

At A Hen's Pace said...

Jack Prelutsky! (for poetry that both your kids would enjoy) I'd say he's perfect for ages 2 to adult. Silly but very clever, very similar to Silverstein but we like him better.


Lazy cow said...

I would add Edward Lear to the poetry list. My son was around 2 when he started enjoying The Owl and the Pussycat and The Pelican Chorus.