Thursday, August 27, 2009

Reading Aloud (With Recommendations and Links!)

If you've known me for any length of time, either on the Internet or in person, you know I love to read. And not JUST blogs. I read actual books--mostly novels and memoirs, but also some nonfiction--maybe not as many as I read before I discovered blogging, but I will never stop reading books and short stories. If I'm not actively busy with something else, I'm reading.

However, recently Miss Pink has interrupted my reading time with a request I can't resist. She wants me to read to her. Now, I've always read to her since she was old enough to chew look at a book. But over the summer, her demands increased exponentially. Literally every time I sit down, she asked me to read to her. Her reading skills are good for a beginning first-grader, and she can read quite a few picture books, but those are not enough for her. She wants to read chapter books--books with more of a plot than the average picture book. Although it's hard to beat Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. Man, that pigeon cracks me up every time.

So I am conscripted into reading chapter books to her. She knows I almost never say no to reading. We worked our way through a bunch of books about fairies and horses this summer (and also one called The Anybodies, which was written for, oh probably the 10-12 year-old age group, but Miss P had no trouble understanding it. The author imitates Lemony Snicket's self-referential commentary not very successfully, but the actual story is fun and suspenseful; I wanted to read ahead when Miss P was asleep, but restrained myself.)

So being a teacher and unable to help myself, I thought she might like reading The Secret Garden and then watching the movie together. She loves gardens and animals, after all. She said yes and we began. The first half of the book intrigued her, but I noticed that the last few days she had stopped asking me to read it. We read other books, and I realized she was probably growing tired of the more challenging book.

I still love The Secret Garden, but as I read I noticed how many words, expressions, and the setting itself were old-fashioned and foreign to a six-year-old in 2009. We tried The Borrowers because she loved all the Littles books, but The Borrowers was even more full of things she'd never seen or even heard of, and as wordy as a Victorian novel. Last night after finishing a chapter, she whispered to me as if she were afraid of hurting my feelings, "Mom, I don't really like The Borrowers because it's from the old days. Or even The Secret Garden. I mean, I like it, but..."

"I understand," I said. "I hope you will give The Secret Garden another try when you are older, though."

"I will," she said, snuggling down under her covers. "Maybe when I'm eight."

I'll take it. Where was that pigeon book again?


  1. I LOVE that Pigeon book!!

    I tried to get Livie to watch The Secret Garden, and she lasted about 10 minutes. I had forgotten how... well... slow it is.

    BTW, the library at school allows first graders to check out 1 book at a time (and the teacher assists them in choosing a book at their level), and they go to the library twice a week. Parents are not allowed to come in with or for their child. So, it's back to the Crowley public library for me. :-(

  2. If you need some recommendations, all of my kids LOVE any of the Junie B. Jones books. They make all of us lol. Another great chapter series was Gregor The Overlander. Also, at Target in the dollar section we found some classics that had been adapted to easy readers and are reading Anne Of Green Gables right now. I don't think my 8 or 5 yr old would last through the original, but they really like this shorter version so far. Thanks for the links, btw.