01 Nov

The other day I had lunch with Kassy, a super mom and long-time homeschooler visiting from California. I lucked out and got to teach her high school daughter and niece a number of years ago. Not surprised at their success in life, I asked Kassy what I should write in upcoming blogs; she told me to simply share my success recipes—she is quite a cook.

For me, reading is like breathing. I still like holding a book in my hands. I grew up reading by flashlight under the covers after ‘lights out’. My mom read late every night. We all read, and made a lot of library visits. I loved getting my first library card. If we want our kids to read, they need us to model reading. It all starts with tiny tot lap reading and goes from there. Ultimately we read enjoying foreshadowing, the figurative language, the conflict and final resolution. We may slow down near the end, as we don’t want that book to ever end.

Some of my all time classic favorites include Matilda, Charlotte’s Web, Stone Fox, Hatchet, Sarah Plain and Tall, James and the Giant Peach, Anne Frank, Dear Mr. Henshaw, Island of the Blue Dolphins. Reading out loud, reading whole books (not just excerpts), is a joyous experience. Sharing with each other and writing about our reading, rounds out the experience. Retellings can be really fun, using things like puppets, art, and theatre.

Here are four simple things I love about my favorite books. I’ll bet these are yours, too.

  1. The character/s: Who? How old? Says things like, acts like, looks like, Family? Friends? Problems? What do I think about the characters?
  2. The setting: Where and when does the novel take place? Does it matter?
  3. The plot: The beginning. What is about so far? Making first guesses. The middle: what is it really about now that I’m into it? The ending. What it’s been about and how do I feel about it? By the way, I never read the ending first, but I do make a lot of predictions!
  4. The theme: I make inferences about the reading, drawing on my personal experiences or lack of. Major themes I enjoy include love, friendship, family, loyalty, courage, conflicts, heroes and ‘sheroes’, making tough decisions, anything motivational and inspirational.

I read literature for a variety of reasons, including connecting with life experiences and savoring well-written language structures. Literature offers us an opportunity to meet people and visit places through reading and respond through a variety of written and oral experiences.

When encouraging your children to read, practice finishing the following statements with them.

  • I love this book (title).
  • I couldn’t put this book down because:
  • My favorite character is:
  • My favorite part is:
  • You should read this book because:
  • Next I’m going to read:

Most of all, have fun!



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