reading with the kids


The boys and I have been in a really good reading groove lately.

1. Poetry: In the mornings I like to make sure the boys are ready 5-10 minutes before their bus is due to pull up. This started in the fall sort of by accident, when I thought the bus was going to arrive earlier than it did…so we always had time to kill. But how much time was always unknown. I started using that time to read them poems from a few different poetry books we have…mostly by Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky. And then, as we settled into the flow of the mornings, I kept up the time for poems. So, we spend about 5 minutes every morning on the couch, with shoes, coats and backpacks already on, reading and giggling at a few poems. We all really like this little routine and the boys refer to the poems all the time. They’ve sort of become a source of inside jokes. :)

2. Isaac: I was inspired to put this post together because of the shift I’ve noticed in Isaac’s reading. Isaac’s been able to read fairly well since the fall when it dawned on me that he was actually *reading* and wasn’t just reciting a book he had memorized (I had checked with his teacher if they had been working on Green Eggs And Ham and if THAT was why he was able to read it. But his teacher said that no…they hadn’t been working on that book at all. So…from that I surmised that Isaac was able to read. It’s always about sleuthing around when it comes to figuring out Isaac!). BUT…Isaac’s achillies heel with reading is comprehension. For reading to work, you have to not only *understand* what you read…but you have to be able to *demonstrate* to the adults that are pestering you that you understand it. So, sometime in January, I started reading with Isaac in an entirely different way. He would read a page and I would explain and rephrase and reword what he just read. It felt SUPER silly and VERY redundant. I wondered if it was helping him or annoying him or what. But here’s what changed: Before, when I’d ask Isaac “what was this book about?” he would just tell me the title of the book, like “Curious George and the Kite”. NOW when I ask him the same question he says “it was about a kite.” This might seem like a small shift…but it’s a REALLY important one. And it took A LOT of work. Repeating back the title to me doesn’t really show me much. But rephrasing it shows that in some way he’s internalized what he read. He’s now able to also answer “who were the characters” and “what was the setting?” and we’re working on “what was the problem?” and “what was the solution?” And it’s all going really well!

3. Andrew: When Andrew gets home from school, after he has his snack, he has some reading time. He reads independently while I work with Isaac. He usually uses this time to read some non-fiction books. He still LOVES the book “The New Way Things Work”, but he’s also been reading about constellations, the World Atlas and his joke books (does that count as non-fiction?). Then, before he goes to bed, he has another round of reading time…this time focusing more on fiction. He’s just finished his Judy Blume box set, which he LOVED. And now he’s starting a Ramona Quimby box set. I’ve been curious if he’d be able to get into the Ramona books (I LOVED them when I was a kid) because the main character is female. But Ramona is such a silly, trouble maker that he thinks she’s just great. ha! Andrew really loves reading and is always bummed when I tell him to wrap it up because it’s time for bed. He’s also a really emotional, imaginary reader. Books can scare him and make him cry, which really surprises me! That kid has my tender heart! (poor thing!)

I’ve definitely been investing more into their reading lately. Both in terms of time and money. I can’t seem to get into the library scene, but the amazon scene fits me like a glove. So hopefully the new-bookshelf scene will work out too! :) Because books are now spilling out from everywhere and I need a new system to wrangle some control over our growing children’s library! Yikes!

What books did you like when you were a kid? Any recommendations for me?

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About robyn

I stopped teaching Kindergarten in 2005 to become the mom of two crazy boys here in Brooklyn. At first I thought being a stay at home mom meant that I needed to pour all my time and energy directly into my sons, but I realized somewhere along the way that being a rockstar mom meant not only taking good care of my boys, but also taking good care of myself. And taking good care of myself means pursuing something creative...just about everyday. I started Made In Brooklyn to motivate myself in my creative goals as well as share my work with others and perhaps inspire them in their own creative journeys.
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6 Responses to reading with the kids

  1. Rinda says:

    Most boys I know went through a Garfield and a Calvin and Hobbes phase. Andrew might be ready for those. Henry was a sports fan, so he read a lot of Matt Christopher and then Mike Lupica.
    Have you guys done the Magic Tree House books? It’s a good blend of fiction and nonfiction material. Also, he might really like the Little House on the Prairie books. And My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George was loved by both my kids.

    • robyn says:

      We did do some of the Magic Tree House series. Those were really fun! AND YES! Calvin and Hobbes!! That’s PERFECT for Andrew! Great idea!

  2. LV says:

    Hello! I’m glad your youngest is getting much better with his comprehension and that he’s such a good reader! My two oldest school-aged girls are in first grade and kindergarten here in Queens. My oldest was born with Septo Optic Dysplasia and has learning delays. She’s in the local public school but in a 12:1:1 class and is at a “C” reading level! I believe she’s supposed to be at a G or H reading level by June. It’s what might hold her back. I read often to them, my oldest especially, but instead of reading along, she looks at the pictures and asks a lot of unnecessary questions that she could probably answer herself.
    Anyways, when I was in 4th grade, one of the books our class was assigned was, Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls. I have read it a few times after 4th grade of course, and still enjoy it. It might make him cry towards the end though.

    • robyn says:

      Andrew was in a 12:1:1 for a while too. :) But it ended up not being a great fit for him, so he’s now in a class that’s more specific for what he needs (LOTS of behavioral and social support!)…and it’s a class of 6! I’ve never heard for Septo Optic Dysplasia and had to look it up! I hope you are getting the support and your daughter need!

      Thanks for the book recommendation! It sounds super familiar, but not one I would have thought of myself. :)

      • LV says:

        Thanks! I’ve been enjoying your blog for quite a while now, I stumbled upon it by googling “special needs NYC” three years ago and have enjoyed it ever since but too shy to comment on anything. :)

  3. Marti says:

    I loved Where the Red Fern Grows! I definitely cried.

    Rob and I just finished A Wrinkle In Time. It’s got a nice sci-fi quality that Andrew might like.

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