Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What My Kids (and I) Have Been Reading

This month, I'm going to use this Kids' Picks spot to highlight some books we've been reading aloud (view more bloggers' picks at 5 Minutes for Books).

When we were at the library recently, Kyle found a book that the librarian had put out on top of the shelves (bless them for calling our attention to great books that might otherwise get lost in the stacks), Animals Under Our Feet. It's part of the "We Both Read" series, which has a page with more difficult vocabulary on it for the adult to read, followed by a page with a few sentences for your young reader to read aloud. Not only does it encourage a child to read (without becoming weary of it), but it has some larger words emboldened that are then repeated on the child's page. Since Kyle learned to read more with a whole language approach (self-taught, at that), this helps him adds words to his reading vocabulary such as nocturnal, predator etc.

When I was at the library alone, I picked up some more in the series, and he was thrilled to see them. We are currently reading About Dinosaurs (We Both Read).

Amanda and I have almost finished (less than 10 pages left, but she had to leave for school this morning with it unfinished) The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. I know that by now every one with a child over the age of eight has heard of this book, and has said, "Oh yes, I should read that." I'll just add one more pebble on the scales of "read it now" that you are weighing in your mind. Though this was Amanda's third read of the book, she loved having me read it aloud to her. I will say that much of the vocabulary was pretty advanced, and at over 450 pages it is long, so if your child is not at at least a fifth or sixth-grade reading level, I would suggest doing it as a read-aloud. It's a very clever book, so will definitely appeal to older tweens and young teens as well.

One reason that I know it's a book that will be beloved for years to come is that it's the kind of book that as it's wrapping up, my first desire is to go back and read it again immediately. But alas, there is no time for that.

Yes, we are diving right into the second book, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey. Amanda has actually not yet gotten around to reading the third one (The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma), so I'm hoping to convince her that we should do it as a read-aloud.

It took us a full three months, but there were a few weeks, especially over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, that we didn't read a page. We read the last 100 pages after Christmas. So, with commitment, we can do better on future long books.

Now me:

There are a couple of mom memoirs (say that 10 times fast) that have giveaways that are still open. I enjoyed both of them: The Water Giver (hurry, last day to enter), and All Things at Once by Mika Brzezenski (open through Sunday).

I finally read a book by Amanda's favorite author Margaret Peterson Haddix --
Claim to Fame

I reviewed another cute book for older tweens, The Sweetheart of Prosper County.


Amy said...

Kudos to your boy on the self-taught reading! Those read-together books look like what we need. I'll have to look around for them.

I still haven't managed to get to the second Mysterious Benedict Society book, but I will!

Carrie said...

Those animal books sound fabulous.

And oh my word. I can't imagine being at the last 10 pages of an awesome book and being called away! How frustrating! =D Well.....hopefully you were both able to rectify that right quick! So very glad to know you enjoyed it!

Lauren said...

I still haven't read the Mysterious Benedict Society, but I am going to have to add it to my list! I also need to get some of the We Both Read books for me and my Best Girl to share.

Brooke from The Bluestocking Guide said...

Guess what I reviewed?

The Mysterious Benedict Society

Brooke from The Bluestocking Guide said...

Guess what I reviewed?

The Mysterious Benedict Society

morninglight mama said...

I really appreciate those 'we both read' kinds of books- such a great way to encourage kids to read. And yes, I'm one of those people that STILL has MBS on our TBR list, and we definitely have to make it our next read-aloud, after When You Reach Me, of course! :)

lifewithmyboys said...

My 6 yo loves the "you read to me, I'll read to you" type books so I'll have to look into the We Both Read series. Actually right after reading your post I jumped right on my library website to see if they have them, which they do. Can't wait to check them out!

I just read the Perilous Journey and I think I enjoyed it more than the first one.

Z-Kids said...

We own MBS, and I hope to read it soon! Thanks for highlighting it...

Heather J. said...

I know all about that taking-forever-to-get-through-a-read-aloud-book thing! Kiddo and I have that problem all the time. :)

Annette said...

I may not have older children, but I loved the MBS!