Monday, March 19, 2007

They Asked, I Committed, We Read

It worked, it worked!

My overall goal was simply to do that which I knew was important--to read more to the kids by overcoming my own selfish ideas for the use of my time. Committing to read, publicizing my commitment on my blog, and trying to change my mindset really has worked to change our reading habits. I hope that the change will stick and continue, and I think that it will, since it is mostly due to a change in attitude (however, I will say that since it is attitude-related, I am also prone to slip back into that lackadaisical frame of mind).

I need to remember that reading is a great way that my busy-toddler-boy and I can sit still together. It's also a wonderful way to connect with my maturing-eight-year-old girl as we both make time for each other and enjoy sharing a good novel.

Let's look back at my specific goals:

Read at least three books to Kyle at naptime and bedtime each day--CHECK. I think that there was only one naptime throughout the whole time that I knew that he needed a nap and I needed a break right then, not three books later. Otherwise we enjoyed it and knowing that the reading was coming, it distracted him from his nearing-three chant of "I not take a nap," even though he still needs one, and actually settles into it quite easily when he admits that I'm right. So right after that protest, as we walked up the stairs, he would immediately remember and switch to "Read books? Want to read a book." After three (or four or five), he readily took his airplane ride into his bed.

More variety with Kyle--CHECK. We didn't use the Picture Book Preschool format, but I did check out books from the library as well as digging up some of Amanda's old favorites that had been boxed up. A few that we really loved are Jean Marzollo's rebus poem, I Love You (perfect for kids who want to help "read"), and Virginia Miller's Five Toddler Tales. Bartholomew is a nah-saying little bear to whom any toddler can relate, and George is a figure with whom any parent can relate (It appears that it is out of print as a collection, but Be Gentle, which is Kyle's favorite in the collection and some of her other stories appear to be available as board books). The drawings and parent child interaction are right-on.

TV Free Tuesday didn't happen, mostly because I'm out of the habit of it, and kept forgetting. However, we did have a few days where the TV was off, and I did try to say yes when he asked me to read books throughout the day.

Read 280 pages to Amanda--CHECK. We actually read close to 350 pages. We didn't read every day, as I knew we would not, but it was a regular habit, and on long afternoons or weekends, she often asked for more reading or I even suggested it.

More variety with Amanda didn't really come to be either, but as I mentioned in the review of Frindle, I think that selecting something that Amanda and I really like is more important to keep up that consistency. We really really liked what we read: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Frindle, and Shooting Star: A Novel about Annie Oakley (this book deserves its own review, so I will post it later this week).

Adding family reading and poetry into our routine--CHECK. We did not have a nice little after-school routine as I thought we might, but I found books that Amanda and Kyle both enjoyed, and so we read together on a semi-regular basis (see this review).

Goals for going forward to keep the momentum:

I am just going to keep doing what I've been doing. I am going to make sure that bedtime and naptime reading are non-negotiable (on my end), and keep selecting books that I want to read that I think Amanda and I will both enjoy. Sarah, Plain and Tall is up next. I've never read it. I'm going to specifically put down some titles of books on my Spring Reading Thing list, to allow me the acountability pressure to keep working for me.


Joyful Days said...

I like the TV free day idea, although I think applied to my house it would be any and all electronic media free to be of value.

You are so right about the parent's attitude being the key to more reading. Some childern will read on their own, but others won't. But I don't know to many kids who if they think about it will pass up time with Mom or Dad. Reading is just so cozy and personal. Much better than watching a movie together (though I am SURE we will continue to do that too).

Variety--really important. Unless I make variety mandatory we all (me included) get stuck in a rut around here.

I love, Love, LOVE Sarah, Plain and Tall. Roo loved it too. We read the first together and then we each read all the following books solo. One of my all time favorite books.

Lauren S. said...

Thanks for the preschool suggestions!

Katrina said...

Great job, Jennifer! I appreciate the list of books you and Kyle enjoyed, as I'm sure we'll be moving into that phase before I know it. I remember when Camden was that age (actually a little younger than Kyle is now) and was always saying, "Read a book? Read a book? Read a book?" :) I also am going to look into Frindle to read with Camden, but it may not be until after we read our warrior cat series -- he's hooked!

coolbeans said...

Jennifer - I am a big fan of turning off the television. I introduced T.V.-Free Tuesday to my family last year and while we don't always commit, it's so nice when we do.

If you'd like, there is a graphic you can use to tell everyone you're t.v.-free. It does say "Tuesday", but other bloggers who participated designated other days in their homes.