Saturday, May 31, 2014

Reading Aloud At Older Ages

We are running towards the finish line in the school year.  I will save my end-of-school-year-projects-and-homework-and-speeches-and-productions rant for later.  Or, maybe I didn't save the rant after all. 

Anyhoo, I am SOOOOO looking forward to summer.  And summer reading!  Reading has always been a big part of our family and yet only two (2) of my children LOVE reading for pleasure.  I have many theories on this but none seem to prove true.  Even the "screen-time" theory doesn't work because my oldest three kids had very little screen time (yet most preferred many other activities to reading).  Granted, some of my kids are struggling readers due to dyslexia and/or ESL challenges--but it still presents a mystery. 

The fact that NOT all my children love to read makes me even MORE inclined to find ways to add books to their lives.   But I don't want it to be a chore, ya know?  I do believe that reading aloud is a great way to involve reluctant readers (or struggling readers) to enjoy books. 

I love what Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, has to say on the topic.  "We read aloud to children for the same reasons we talk with them: to reassure; entertain; bond; inform; arouse curiosity; and inspire.  Reading conditions the child to associate reading with pleasure; creates background knowledge; builds 'book' vocabulary; and provides a reading role model."

Trelease also reminds us that a good children's book has three times the rich vocabulary that conversation holds.  He says that kids who come from deprived backgrounds have heard only 1/3 of the words compared to children from higher socioeconomic homes.  AND Trelease reminds us it is important to continue to read aloud to kids in middle and high school. 

Having said all that, one of my main summer goals is to incorporate more reading aloud to my children--even the oldest kids.  I hope to do this in traditional fashion but also by adding more recorded books to our everyday car trips.  I also want to go over the fairy tales with the younger crew--so many lost out due to coming into our home at an older age.  And I want to incorporate reading picture books to all my children--partly for the same reason but also because I have come to believe there are many benefits to picture books at every age. I have a bit of a trick in getting my older kids to enjoy picture books again (in place of a summer chore they can read books to a younger sibling).

At the same time, I know that some of my kids will be reluctant to participate in "Mom's-great-idea-summer-reading-aloud-program-it's-good-for-you-to-read-more-books-idea!" 

I would love to hear your ideas on how to incorporate more reading aloud (or even silent reading) into a family (especially for the teens)--and especially without turning kids off to reading.  

Up next, some of the read-aloud chapter books my kids have enjoyed the most--and some on our list for this summer. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Brain Rest

Life continues to move full-steam ahead (and I sometimes have to remind myself that I like the fast-paced life.) 

Unfortunately, Kim has been in the slow-lane the past few weeks recovering from a concussion she suffered after a simple fall in long-jump practice.   

It happened in early April and she is just now to the point she is back in school full-time.

I am surprised at how differently concussions are perceived these days compared to when the older boys played football.  Brain Rest is now considered key.  Brain Rest consists of basically laying down in a quiet room and doing NOTHING (not even watching TV or reading).  Kim didn't have much choice as even sitting up brought tremendous headaches.  It's been quite worrisome!  To say the least!

She did try to participate in life.  I remember at Easter she helped dye eggs (yes, mission accomplished on the eggs!) and make family Academy Award Winning "Selfies." 

But even simple activity would end her up here.

After lots of doctor appointments, concussion specialists, a trip to the ER, acupuncture, physical therapy and "cupping"--

In addition to lots of brain rest and tons of sleep--she is finally starting to feel back to normal.

Which is good.  Very good!  So thankful!!!

A few more pictures of Easter since I have a whole lotta making up to do!  You will notice that the Easter Bunny was caught on camera this year!