Saturday, June 06, 2009

Summer Reading

Yesterday afternoon, George brought home the very last two Boxcar Children books from the library for Amabel, and this morning she told me she had finished them both. Whose kid is this?! Actually, I remember plowing through books sometime when I was a kid, but I don't think it started until fourth or fifth grade. My cousins gave me a box set of the first four or five Sweet Valley Twins books for Christmas one year and I read them all over Christmas break. Oh yes, the "purple unicorns" and the "snob squad" and all of it! Oh, and the mom was always "tousling" the older brother's hair. For the life of me, I couldn't understand that. I guess it's because I didn't have brothers. I am grateful for these types of easy reading series because it helps children get into reading. Once they have decided they enjoy reading, they are ready to move on to good literature that may be a little more difficult, but is also more rich and rewarding for the reader- books that may have been intimidating before. Because I was older, I moved on to Madeleine L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time Series, Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables books, and Louisa May Alcott's books. I don't think Amabel, as an almost eight year old, is quite ready for those though. 

However, it is becoming apparent that this child's appetite for reading is more than just I can feed. We have done Little House on the Prairie series (which I hope she will reread when her comprehension is better), the Ramona books, the Chronicles of Narnia (which I am sure will be reread more than once), and even an ancient series called The Happy Hollisters (okay, not ancient, but George's mom read them when she was a kid). She read Baby Island so fast (in one night) I didn't even get a chance to use the Veritas comprehension guide that goes with it. Also by Carol Ryrie Brink is my favorite book from when I was a little girl (one of the only ones I read as a younger reader- and I loved it so much, I read it twice), Caddie Woodlawn. I am waiting until her birthday to get her her own hardcover copy. I am also thinking of getting her the Betsy books by Carolyn Haywood, another favorite of mine from early elementary days. I am not sure if I have read the Betsy books by Maud Hart Lovelace, but I am considering these as well. Will she get the Betsys mixed up? 

She has recently read The Secret GardenThe Enchanted Castle, Matilda, and The Borrowers and is now working on the last two mouse books by Beverly Cleary. We have also ventured into other books by Beverly Cleary and have read several of the Marguerite Henry horse books. The library is getting us The Trumpet of the Swan and Stuart Little (we've already read Charlotte's Web), Five Children and It (another by Edith Nesbit), and Pippi Longstocking. I am particularly excited about Pippi Longstocking. It is a newer translation and is illustrated by Lauren Child of Charlie and Lola fame. This got me wondering about the Child's Clarice Bean books. Are any of you familiar with these? I can't stand sassy children that act like rebellious teenagers, and I always worry about modern books for this age group being full of that sort of thing. For example, I can't stand that Junie B. Jones kid. On the other hand, I think Charlie and Lola Sonner and their friends are perfectly delightful children so it seems safe to say that Ms. Child doesn't typically create smarmy characters.  Anyone who can tell me anything about these books would be most appreciated- the more details, the better. 

I guess I should mention that I plan to work The Wizard of OzAlice in WonderlandCharlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Story of the Treasure Seekers, and Black Ships Before Troy (plus a whole bunch of other ancient Grecian stuff) into our reading curriculum for next year if I end up homeschooling. Blah blah blah, the point is, what do you like? What do your girls (or boys) read? What did you read? I only tell you all of these titles to keep you from doing research on ones we are already working with and to give you an idea of her reading level (Boxcar Children were too easy, I think). But what am I missing? 

There are a couple of books which I think Amabel read a little early- Ginger Pye and Dancing Shoes. Each of these is part of its own series, and I wonder if it would be worth having her reread them to re-introduce her to the series. Are these series worth reading? Oh, and does anyone remember the Bunnicula books? So many questions. So many books. I figure I should just keep lengthening my list because she keeps plowing through it. I am sure her comprehension will improve over time, and while I sometimes wonder if she doesn't think reading is a race, I want to encourage her love of good books and always be sure to supply her with something worthwhile to read. Suggestions are hoped for. Don't worry about saying something that may or may not be too hard or too easy or something we have read before. I know I already mentioned a bazillion books, but every time I think we have enough to keep us busy, she tells me she's read everything we just picked up from the library. It's sort of a good problem to have, no? Well, thanks for you help. 


courtney said...

Goodness gracious. I think my head is still spinning. How awesome that's she reads so much! With my oldest only just being 5, I can't quite imagine this just yet! I'll think back and see if I can dig up anything. I loved reading when I was a wee lass, also....

Wright Family said...

ooooh! i used to LOVE the betsy books. i bet she will too. my friends and i even had a betsy tea party when i was maybe 9 or 10. i also used to love the bobsey twins but can't remember what age i was when i read them. i am very impressed with all she has read! i love all of those books! i'll keep thinking about what i used to read because i used to love reading as a child too.

jennifer h said...

My kids loved the Ginger Pye series, so I would definitely encourage her to re-read the first one to get into the series. A great place to get some good ideas for books would be the Sonlight curriculum website. Almost all of Sonlight is done using literature for the core, so their book lists are great. I am planning to create summer books lists from their curriculum for my kids even though I won't use Sonlight for homeschooling next year.

Fittsy said...

Of course I can only recommend things that have been recommended to me, since my littles are much smaller!

A friend recommended Sarah, Plain and Tall recently. And my sisters (Bethany especiallly) LOVED the Betsy Tacey series. I can't wait to read them with Libby.

The Brambly Hedge series. I've read the first book to Libby, but it's way above her right now. It does ahve pics, and it might be a nice read aloud for all of your children.

I love the memory of summer books from the library. The hot afternoons spent browsing for the right selections, the smell of the books and the pride in the long list of read books.

Anonymous said...

Magic Tree House? I think my mom's second graders love those? I fear we read some others that are quite up to par :)

Junie B Jones is a sassy mess, but sometimes I think Macie is Junie B Jones. Not the language, but she could play that role in a play, no problem! They even read those books in class and went to the plays at CPA. oh well

She is reading the stories that Julian tells and Little House this summer, and I know she also loved a book called 100 Dresses oe something like that?

wp said...

do you have gladys hunt's "honey for a child's heart"? it has lists upon lists of age appropriate reads for kiddos...might have a few suggestions. :)

lauren said...

oooh, i love this. you just gave me a summer reading glad y'all are about a half a year ahead of us! :)

what about american girl series? ellie is devouring those...and we've had some great discussions about history from them (e.g., addy series and slavery). we just finished stuart little and she also loves magic tree house.

miss you, by the way! i haven't been reading blogs much lately. email me soon and we'll catch up. :)

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