Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sharing a long book

Will and I just finished our first chapter book together the other night. We read "Charlotte’s Web" and loved it together. (Actually Will’s reading it twice, because he wanted to read it with Rob too. So we just managed a couple bookmarks and now he and Rob plan are continuing from where they left off before Rob went away for a good piece of the week.)

This double reading thing is not our idea. We’re just trying to follow Will’s lead in terms of his reading interests at the same time that we steer him, without being pushy, toward books that look interesting to us. Sometimes he wants a very simple picture book like “Digger Man” (for obvious reasons, and because the two brothers in it remind him of himself and Owen); sometimes he wants to fall back into the story of Charlotte and Wilbur.

I have to admit though, that I was enjoying "Charlotte's Web" so much that I sometimes worked a bit to lure him back. Occasionally when he’d say he wanted to read something else I’d counter with: “But remember, Wilbur was just about to go to the fair…… I wonder what will happen next.” And he’d be eager to read every time – and always asking for another chapter once we’d tackled one. When we finished the book, he looked at me and said, "Let's read it again." (I’m sure it also helped that Will had seen the movie “Charlotte’s Web” a while back.)

Rob and I had both tried reading "The Mouse and the Motorcycle" by Beverly Cleary with Will about a month ago. Will lost interest after a bit – and I did too, although I remember loving the story when I was in elementary school. E.B. White is a notch above Beverly Cleary in his storytelling capabilities -- even a children’s author can lure me in with a bit of humor or a turn of a phrase.

Now Will and I are just getting started on "Little House in the Big Woods," one of those books from my childhood that I’ve been excited to revisit (so I had the Easter Bunny plant the book in Will’s basket). It didn’t matter a bit to Will that the protagonist featured on the cover is a girl. He is enthralled by the idea of a gun-toting Pa and all the wolves and bears lurking outside the house. And for all of those reasons I think we’ll keep this a daytime book. Hopefully that way it won’t become fodder for nightmares (which still disturb Will semi-regularly and almost always feature animals coming into his room).

What are some chapter books or longer stories that you’ve enjoyed reading to your kids -- or that you're looking forward to reading to them once they're ready?


Grace said...

We read the entire Little House series, Trumpet of the Swan, Stuart Little, The Secret Garden, some abridged versions of Black Beauty, The Wizard of Oz, and The Swiss Family Robinson. We did finish the Mouse and Motorcycle and enjoyed it.

Annie Addington said...

That's a greatlist. We'll have to revisit the Mouse and the Motorcycle after a while. I didn't give it much of a chance -- and Will's still young enough that he has to be super-enthralled to opt for a book with minimal pictures.

shannon said...

Nora's first was Emily the Traveling Guinea Pig by Emma Smith. We found that most animal adventures are pretty alluring. I remember loving Beatrix Potter. Nora now has moved on to reading the Boxcar Children solo and can't get enough.

John & Kelley said...

My daughter is three and I've been wondering when I could start the "big" books. She LOVES being read to and loves hearing my own made-up stories as well. After reading your post, I'm encouraged to try Charlotte's Web. I am looking forward to reading the Ramona Quimby books with her, and I have several shelves full of Newbery Award winners and other great children's books I can't wait to share with both my girls. The Chronicles of Narnia are also on my list--just for the sheer excitement of the story. We'll definitely read the Little House books as well. So many books!

Dana said...

We just finished reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe with Eva, who is 4.5. She really enjoyed it. Much of the writing seemed over her head, but her comprehension was surprisingly good.

I remember Charlotte's Web being terribly sad- that wasn't an issue for Will?