I started with an old book that I had – a really old book that I had found at a garage sale. It was set in Colonial America and had something to do with an Indian attack. It was torture! It almost seemed like a punishment to make the boys sit and listen. What was wrong? We got through the book, but they were in no hurry to do that again… What to do? I tried a new strategy… Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. There is something about that book. It is silly, it is magical, and we all wish that we could get a tour of that factory, especially that chocolate waterfall!
|Our favorite books. The children’s
books worth keeping are in the attic
(where these Halloween decorations
belong). We have given away many
books over the years.
Just like that… we were a reading family. Reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory each time the youngest child was about 4 or 5 years-old helped them to enter our family reading time. We read through so many books over the years; how I wish I had kept a list. A few of my favorite reading memories:
- Harry Potter Clean Up: This meant that when it was time to clean the room, I would sit in the recliner (usually with a baby), and read a Harry Potter book until it came to an exciting spot. Then I would close the book and choose a number. If the number happened to be “4”, each child ran and put away 4 items. Then they would hurry back to listen and we would begin the cycle again. This only works with action-packed, suspenseful books.
- I remember many nights, after Jackie had gone to sleep, trying to rock little Natalie to sleep, while Nathan and Greg took turns walking with Baby David to try and keep him happy until he had his turn in the rocking chair. Those big boys were about 9 and 7 and I can see them in their pajamas, walking back and forth – so carefully holding that little baby for me. I would rock and read.
- Once the boys came home from school and caught me reading ahead in Treasure Island. They were so disappointed! We made a rule then and there – No Reading Ahead! I never, ever broke that rule. It was more fun to discover stories together.
- When the children were older, I usually had one book going in the girls’ bedroom, and another in the boys’. Sometimes I would put them all to bed and sit and read aloud in the hallway so everyone could hear.
|Mark’s books. He likes to keep them
where he can see them. Many of them
are work related and safe from us.
- All time favorite series: Little House on the Praire and The Chronicles of Narnia. We also love Beverly Cleary books, especially if they have Ramona in them. I like the first four Harry Potter books, but couldn’t make it to the end of the series.
- When we were in the car we always had an audio book going. This became more difficult when the children began to drive because you really cannot listen if someone is missing. Both grandparents live 13-14 hours away, so long road trips still mean audio books. Two years ago The Count of Monte Cristo ran for the entire Spring Break and beyond.
- My children each developed a great attention span – so rare in this world of video games!!
Her personal collection.
I often had to stop reading because I began to lose my voice so easily. I blame this on years of high school cheerleading. Maybe it was too many books. Going to bed without a book being read was sad. Greg’s chemotherapy treatments were so disruptive to our schedule that we completely lost the habit. How sad – but this brings me to The Book Whisperer – my mysterious blog post title…
Last year my Dad was telling me about something he read/watched regarding the way that schools are killing reading. By making children stop and analyze everything they read – reading has become a drudgery rather than a pleasure. I totally agree. I have homeschooled every child for at least one year – usually around 3rd-5th grade. I could hardly stand the reading assignments I found for them. I have often wondered why my children didn’t read more often… When I looked for information on my own – I discovered The Book Whisperer…
|Natalie’s favorites on her
nightstand. The Book
Whisperer is quickly
expanding her repertoire.
She is a sixth grade teacher who expects her students to read at least 40 books during the school year. Many of them end up reading 60. Her lowest every was a young man who read only 24 or 25… considering most of them used to read 3-5 books, these numbers are astounding. How does she do it? In a nutshell, she provides them with a wide array of choices, and then expects them to read. It is that simple.
|Kimberly’s Christmas list – a
bookshelf nigh stand at the top.
I blogged earlier about now knowing what kind of “program” to use over the summer – (none, we just played), and when school came I still had no ideas. On the way home from dropping off Jackie I listened to The Book Whisperer (audio book) and realized that this would be a fun program for the family. I typed up a form for each of us and that is all that it took. We have very few rules, just make sure to cover the required genres and any book over 350 pages counts as two.
The best part? Mark and I are required to read! We are so excited. Reading has been such a luxury over the years (especially for the one of who doesn’t travel and spend hours on airplanes). Now we have a great excuse to sit on the couch and read. I really don’t know if I can pull off 40 books, but I am having a great time trying!!
|Here is a copy of our book whisperer forms….|