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My 8-year-old wants an iPod

My husband loves music; there's always something on in our house. His enthusiasm is contagious, and Molly has announced that "her own iPod" is on the top of her Christmas list. Which she's started. In September.

I'll admit I'm not crazy about the idea. I envision her wearing her ear buds all the time, tuning us out. She's promised she won't do that, and that she'll still talk to us! Even at dinner time!

Favorite classroom read alouds

A friend and I were talking yesterday about the chapter books we used to love reading aloud to our second grade classes. We both have vivid memories of hot and sweaty kids coming in from recess, settling into their desks and our reading aloud for 10, 15 or 20 minutes (!) with the class begging for more chapters.

Pen pals, old school style

On the last day of school, Anna came home with a stamped envelope from her kindergarten teacher. Mrs. Z had offered to be pen pals over the summer with kids from her class. By 4:00 that day (the last day of school, after getting home at 3:00), Anna had written her first pen pal letter.

The Rats of NIMH: THAT'S how people learn to read?

Our current family read aloud is the classic book, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. We've just gotten to the Toy Tinker chapter, so don't tell me what happens! The girls are dying to come home from school today and hear more; my husband pleaded that we wait until he gets home so he can listen too.

Spring break reading

We're on spring break this week, but I thought I'd share a few of the books we'll be reading together during our road trip. I've blogged before about some of the terrific read alouds we have read, and my criteria for choosing them. The same ones apply for this list too.

Half Magic is the book I'm the most excited about. It sounds like a fun adventure with wonderful characters. I'm hoping the girls love it!

Do as I say, not as I do

I heard that expression for the first time when my mom was teaching me to drive. She has a bit of a lead foot, and had gotten a spate of speeding tickets when I was a teenager. The new driver that I was, I stepped on the gas to reach the speed limit as quickly as possible. She turned to me and said, "Do as I say, not as I do, especially when it comes to driving!"

I find myself using that same expression these days as I talk to parents about reading to their kids: Do as I say, not as I do. Yes, it's true...I haven't been reading to my girls.

'Tis the season to read and write

Like everyone, we're in for a busy couple of weeks. Our homework and storytime routines sometimes get pushed aside, and at first I was feeling guilty about that. But when I think about how the girls are spending their time, there's plenty of reading, writing, and math going on...it just looks different! Here's how Anna spent her afternoon yesterday on the computer:

Dear Santa,

I don't care what they read, or do I?

I don't care what they read as long as they are reading.

There's some food for thought! Is that true? It doesn't matter what they read as long as they're reading?

Big trouble, written down

Something I never thought I'd hear...

"Joanne, this is Mrs. Z from school. Anna's bringing home a note today. I thought I'd give you a head's up."

Oh boy. It seems Anna had trouble including someone in a game on the playground yesterday. What a sad "backpack unpack" we had... Anna was distraught to have to show us the letter she wrote describing the incident. Here she was, fresh with new writing powers, needing to use them to write about her trouble at school. Darn it.

What we're reading aloud at home

I thought I'd share our summer family read alouds...maybe you're looking for a good chapter book to share with your kids?

I have two basic criteria for our read alouds: (1) I pick books that are just beyond Molly's reading level. That way, I'm reading books that expand her vocabulary and thinking while exposing her to books that would be too much for her to tackle on her own, and (2) I pick books I have recently read (or re-read) and am excited about. I know my enthusiasm is contagious — once we start a book we have a tough time putting it down!

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"The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can't." — Mark Twain