Bird received Despereaux from me for Christmas. The book (paperback) is beautiful. The cover art and interior pictures are delightful, the pages have that ripped look to them, the paper is substantial. Plus, it won the Newberry Award. I couldn’t wait to finish Bridge To Terebithia so we could start it, which occurred this weekend.
While I enjoyed reading Bridge to the girls, it was a little too advanced. They enjoyed it, but the content was too mature and they really didn’t get out of it what they should have. I, on the other hand, was balling my eyes out and trying to read out loud at the same time. Which is difficult, to say the least.
I don’t know if I have enjoyed reading a book to them as much as I’m enjoying Despereaux. The writing style is told in a narrative that captures your attention. I just love it when certain books “break character” and speak to the reader directly (Middlesex did this to great effect.) I think the review on Amazon called it “Dear Reader” style. Additionally, the characters are fun to give voice to as they are each so unique (a boisterous father, a French mother, whiny, dim-witted siblings.) It is a short book, and I’m trying to make it last.
Mare has been practicing her reading the last two nights. Prior to this I hadn’t really been working with her – I really don’t believe in pushing too hard and/or interfering with the techniques the school will be using to introduce reading. But she seems ready and is asking, so I pulled out some level 1 readers on Sunday night and we got started. She is terribly excited and consequently doing very well. I still see lots of memorizing the story and guessing what the words are, but then again, I see her already getting the fundamental words, such as the, I, and, so, pig, cat, etc… after just one practice. She glows with pride – almost as brightly as mama.
After reading a book, she decided we should make up a pattern (they are working on patterns at school and she looks for them everywhere these days.) She suggested she would read a page, than me, than her and so on. I agreed, saying it would make the reading go a little quicker. “Yes,” she added, “and also my mouth won’t get so tired.” I thought this was interesting – I wouldn’t have thought that reading aloud is that strenuous for her mouth, but then again, when you are just learning, it certainly takes a lot of concentration, to recognize or sound out the words and then to move your mouth in a way that isn’t directly from your thoughts. Or perhaps, that was just her way of expressing the mental effort it takes. Either way, I’m trying to be conscious of not overdoing it, no matter how enthusiastic she is.
Listening to her read aloud, I can hear her consistently mispronouncing certain sounds. The most obvious is the “th” blend. She substitutes “f” or “d”, which is pretty typical for a young child but something I think she should have outgrown by now. I talked to her teacher about it at her intake conference, but she said the problem wasn’t severe enough to warrant speech therapy. I have decided I don’t agree and will be begin pushing more. I want to see that particular habit gone by the end of kindergarten.
We went to the school library yesterday so that Mare could get a new level 1 reader. Bird was excited as well, as she hasn’t had anything new to read at home for a while. She picked two paperbacks from her current favorite series “The Boxcar Children“. She devours these books.