Tuesday, February 16, 2010

take a look, it's in a book, a reading rainbow

Cal has suddenly expressed a Great Interest in reading. To be fair, he is very proud when he can read things on his own, but he still prefers being read to, because why should he have to put in all that effort when he can just lay back and let Momanddad mangle the more rickety portions of The Lorax for him? Reminds me of that Simpsons where Homer is in the hospital and sees that guy on the ventilator. "And here I am, breathing on my own like a sucker." (I paraphrase.)

But anyway, it puts a song in my heart to be a nerd and have my child express these budding nerdistic qualities (some of my most cozy memories of childhood are lying on the couch with a giant pile of books next to me--no, I was not very good at sports, nor did I have any friends, why do you ask?) so of course when Cal started talking about reading, I immediately pounced onto Amazon and ordered him a kings ransom of "I Can Read!" titles, Uncle Elephant, Frog and Toad are Friends, Bread and Jam for Frances etcetera. Oh, and Amelia Bedelia. It remains to be seen if the somewhat more nuanced fumblings of Amelia Bedelia will be above a four year-old's head (this is a kid who says that his favorite part of "Monsters Inc." is when Mike Wizowsky burps up the microphone) but whatever, we'll see.

I worked him into a fine frenzy rolling yesterday when I kept telling him that the books were set to be delivered that afternoon, that evening at the latest (creating the saddest possible tableau of him sitting next to the door looking for the mail truck) until I realized that it was President's Day and thus no mail delivery. And so it goes. But for sure they will come today, and frankly I am just as excited as he is. My little old man is becoming old for real!


  1. Anonymous2:05 PM

    It's wonderful that Cal loves being read to! (Some kids don't.) This is a huge opportunity.

    When children are read to, they develop their language skills very rapidly, because they are hearing words used in context - words that would otherwise be above their reading level. Hearing the written word aloud is an incredibly powerful tool in literacy.

    Plus, it keeps them occupied for HOURS and isn't tv or video games!

    What's not to like?

    The magic is this: books on tape/CD/or loaded onto an iPod.

    Back when he was Cal's age, I saw that my son could sit for HOURS and have us read to him. I therefore pounced on the opportunity to have books flowing into his ears as often as possible! (Plus, a parent can only read aloud for So. Long. before they go insane.)

    My eleven year old son is - and has been for a long, LONG time - addicted to books on tape. Well, actually, that's books on CD, but he started his addiction to them while they were on tape.

    When he was Cal's age, he used to carry his tape player EVERYWHERE through the house.

    Then he graduated to books on CD.

    Now he's very high tech. He has a small iPod, and we have loaded that thing with literally more than a hundred books that we've ripped off of library CDs (because I am cheap, stay at home with them and have no life).

    But listening to books has been a huge portion of my son's life for many years now and has brought him SO much enjoyment (he is also now insanely verbal, and he has listened to - literally - an entire literary decade or so of educational fiction and non-fiction, all in the form of entertainment). When he was Cal's age, my son would sit and listen to books while playing with Legos or puzzles or some such. And the narrators that read the books on tape/CD are amazingly excellent.

    (Plus, I still read aloud to my children, even though they're 11 and 16).

    I highly encourage you to try this out on Cal! (If you have not already done so, which you may have. In that case, ignore my comment!)

  2. Oh, I love all the Arnold Lobel books! Such great ones. Mouse Tales is especially fun!

    Those books are at a 1st-2nd grade level, so if Cal has not yet learned enough phonics to decode them I recommend Progressive Phonics. It's a free program that is witty and fun, and did I mention it's FREE? You just download the books and activities, or read on screen. For actual printed and bound books, the ones by Nora Gaynos aren't so sappy as many others and work through phonics skills.

  3. It was a great show...

    A girl I grew up with was the "Reading Rainbow is brought to you by...." voice.

  4. You're kidding! I hope that's on your CV. I am totally serious, that is very cool.

  5. That clip brought back so many memories! It is so great to hear how excited Cal is for reading. It was such a big part of my childhood! A lot of my friends are having children nowadays, and it has inspired me to make a list of all of my favorite books as a kid -- from "Goodnight Moon" to "The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle". I remember Amelia Bedelia and her silly antics! Somehow everything always turned out okay...

  6. I was definitely not a reader when I was a kid. There was an occasional Goosebumps, Cam Jansen, etc but nothing around Cal's age. But now I'm addicted to my Kindle. Just a little hope for those parents whose kids don't like to read, yet.

  7. We (my roommate and I) just went to the New England Mobile Book Fair on Monday to buy a ridiculous quantity of books for some of our little friends (and soon to be friends [ie not born quite yet]). We got Bread and Jam for Frances, too. And Gooney Bird Greene (which is great, but probably a little beyond Cal at the moment unless read aloud). LOVE BOOKS.

  8. Maura8:19 PM

    Oh man, Amelia Bedelia. Those books were the best.

  9. Anonymous9:53 PM

    Michelle, Take Cal to the library. He can have his pick of books and they are free! My local library also had story time, puppet shows, arts and crafts (all free!).

  10. OMG!! I had totally forgotten about the Reading Rainbow theme song, but watching that clip, I remembered every bit. Wow, I loved that show. (And no, I wasn't good at sports either.)

  11. Cecily7:59 PM

    How exciting! Geordi LaForge I mean LeVar Burton is awesome! I was also a voracious reader growing up - library books, kids book-of-the-month clubs, National Geographic World magazine, Highlights magazine... I remember watching Reading Rainbow and then trying to get the books myself out of the library to re-read them.

  12. Anonymous8:54 AM

    whatever happened to LeVar Burton?

  13. peiyun8:32 AM

    Amelia Bedelia! I second Andrea up there who said that Mouse Tales was the best. I remember writing stories in montessori with those in mind.

    I'm so excited for kids who start reading! I hope Cal has a great great time on /this/ journey :D

  14. Try Katy No Pocket, too.

  15. And Caps for Sale.

  16. biscuitx10:14 PM

    or as a graduate school classmate said (in all seriousness) a FEROCIOUS reader

  17. Anonymous4:56 PM

    Of course you should have piles of books at home, and read the favorites again and again. But...don't forget that wonderful resource, the children's section of your local public library!

    Oops--I just read the comments section and saw that someone else had the same advice. It's great for discovering all sorts of books you might not otherwise find (new, old, out of print). Plus it's so much fun to be surrounded by books and readers.

    Also, I recommend the anthology "I'll Read to You and You Read to Me". Lots of classics out together.

    Happy Reading!

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