Read Together

Jennifer at Snapshot is sponsoring this wonderful challenge, designed as a way to connect with your children through reading. I've been thinking of this and had some ideas brewing to implement on my own, but setting some goals and linking up with other bloggers and their ideas makes it a little more fun.

We've had bedtime stories since Calvin was an infant, really, and our boys truly enjoy picking their stories and sitting close to us while we read. It is pretty well-established at our house as a quiet together time and we've enjoyed some really great books (some of them over and over and over again, of course) together.

Bedtime stories have kind-of evolved into David's time with the boys, mostly because I'm ready to "check out" by the time arsenic hours are over and also because he is gone all day and story time provides a time for him to just "be" with the boys and do something that they all enjoy together.

This has worked well until the past couple of months, as it has become apparent that Charlie (almost 2) needs a little earlier bedtime than the older boys, and Calvin (6 1/2) has expanded his read-aloud interests into chapter books, but Henry (4 3/4) is still more interested in picture books and simpler stories that can be started and finished in one sitting.

So it often happens that I'm just doing what needs to be done to get the baby settled into bed before story time starts because he is tired, and he usually doesn't get a story or any laptime at that point.

Henry starts out sitting with David and Calvin reading Harry Potter, but even though he is hearing the story and generally follows it, he loses interest long before the chapter is over, but Calvin wants to keep going. So Henry starts wandering or disrupting and doesn't get a story time that fits his reading enjoyment level. And of all my children, he probably needs the one-on-one the most.

SO...my main Read Together goal is to make bedtime stories happen for all three children. This means sacrificing a little of the evening's "my" time (that's big!) to fit a story in with Charlie and a book or two in with Henry while David and Calvin are relishing Harry Potter.

My first step is just get a pattern of reading established that includes each child. Then, as we progress through the year, I will likely develop goals as far as specific books or amounts of time.

With Charlie, I'll start the bedtime process a little sooner so he's not overtired, and I'll be sure to fit at least a board book in, with him snuggling on my lap, before I put him in bed.

As for Henry, I'm going to read with him on my bed (that's a treat for him, to be in Mom's big bed!) while Calvin and David are in the living room. I'm going to let him choose a favorite book each night, and I plan on introducing some wonderful story books along the way.

He has such a fabulous imagination that I think could really be fed through reading, and it would give me a way to connect with him in a kind of common imaginary world. He is also starting to read on his own, so I'm going to look for some good beginning stories that he can attempt with some focused attention and help from me.

I haven't made a list of books for Henry, but I've come across a few that I want to try especially with him, because he loves silliness and fantasy and the absurd. And I love to listen to him giggle. I think this is going to be a really fun time with him.

I'd love to know what your four- or five-year-old's favorites are, and as we continue our reading, I'll post some of our favorites that you might enjoy sharing with your preschooler.

Thanks to Jennifer for hosting Read Together 2009. If you have goals or would like to establish some for reading more with your children, go over to Snapshot today and link up.

Happy Reading!


Psst...while you're here, and since you are probably a book reader...Do you have an Amazon Kindle? I initially was not interested in them at all because I like the tactile part of reading a book and turning pages, but collecting a library at home and having to pack books to move from place to place isn't all that fun. I have one friend who has one and is loving it. If you use one, what's the good and bad about it? Is it worth the money?


Camille said...

The Jaime Lee Curtis books surprised me recently. They're good for 4-5 year olds. I'd recommend It's Hard to Be Five: Learning How to Work My Control Panel. In our house we LOVE LOVE LOVE the Oliver Jeffers books, especially The Incredible Book Eating Boy. Here are a couple others we've liked recently...
The Sound of Colors
My Monster Mama Loves me So
Here's a Little Poem

I look forward to hearing what you guys' favorites are. I'm always on the hunt for good books. I don't have a Kindle.

Katrina said...

These are great goals, Traci, and I know Charlie & Henry are going to love that reading time with you!

I do have a Kindle -- my husband got me one for Christmas. It's the "first generation." I really, really like it. I have to admit that, overall, I prefer to read a "real book" most of the time, especially when it comes to novels. But the Kindle is excellent for traveling (I always pack too many books!), for reading nonfiction, for tucking in my purse for those spare moments I might get when I'm in line, at the dentist's office, etc. So while the Kindle will never replace actual books for me, it's a fantastic supplement, and I'm very glad I have one.

Janelle said...

We just discovered "Frog and Toad" stories that my boys are LOVING. I'm not sure how we've missed them for this long, but I'm glad we found them.

Unknown said...

I'll have to think about some silly favorites, because Kyle (4 1/2) also loves silly ones!! One that we do like is Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt (there are about 4 different ones I think). They're silly but teach great lessons as well.

As for the Kindle -- I just got one!! I do think that it would be great for you out of the country, because you can download books. I think it would be cheaper than buying and shipping English books, but maybe I'm wrong.

I got mine free because I was a judge for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards.

I haven't read on it a whole lot yet, because I just got it and I'm in the middle of a couple of books, but I think it will be great. The book I'm reading now is thick and unwieldy, and it is not so easy to read in bed, and I'm thinking that the Kindle will be great for that.

One thing that has surprised me is that it's not backlit, and has this "e-ink," so it's not really like reading a computer screen, which I thought it would be.

Trish @ Another Piece of the Puzzle said...

Boy, you've really got your hands full! I think it's wonderful that you are willing to sacrifice your time to meet their needs in this way (and believe me, I can relate to that end of the day feeling).

My son really loves Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and Pickles to Pittsburgh. And, although they are not stories, he is starting to like the I Spy books.