With school just around the corner, I’ve tried to up the girls’ reading time a little bit more each day. As I mentioned in my BetterMePH post, reading is central to the girls’ schooling.
Sometimes wanting to read is the hardest part. Reading proficiently and consistently comes next, and I have heard my girls’ teachers use the phrases to help them develop “grit” and “reading stamina”.
Sam is my reader. It is harder to get her nose out of a book than it is to get her to start reading. Our biggest challenge for her was finding books for older kids with not-so-mature content that she could still appreciate. It is why she has a recommended reading list in the Kids Know It section of the site — her first blog post.
Jamie was the child who started out as not much of a fan of reading. She learned to read as a baby (thank you, Your Baby Can Read), but I think it had more to do with her confidence level and her maturity towards bigger words. I remember stories from her teachers when she was little about how surprised they were that she could read words, but would get self-conscious when people took notice.
Recently, I spent more time reading aloud with Jamie each night to build her confidence, grit and stamina. In the last few months Jamie has gotten more confident and taken a greater interest in chapter books. I noticed she picked apart her Two Tots doll house bookshelf and starting pointing to the books that were “too easy”. Then she crossed over to Sam’s reading cabinet and started browsing for books there.
I took that as my cue to encourage her to read and find books that were to her speed and interest. So over the last few months, Jamie has also built her own recommended reading list that she’d like to share with fellow five-year olds.
Diva and Flea, by Moe Willems.
Jamie has always been a fan of Mo Williams. And as the Piggie and Elephant journeys were getting too easy and too comfortable, I was happily surprised to find a Mo Williams chapter book about a cat and a dog in Paris. I immediately bought it ( you can’t go wrong with Amazon!), and because Jamie loves animals and saw that it was by Mo Willems, she gamely picked it up and read it on her own.
The Mercy Watson Series. As I browsed online for best chapter books for children, I came across Kate DiCamillo’s Mercy Watson story. It’s about the adventures of a pig who lives with a farmer and his wife. Jamie saw the first book on this year’s Barnes & Noble Summer Reading program, and so she picked up a copy on her own for free.
The book was quite silly, but silly enough for Jamie to appreciate. We looked, and are continuing to look for more from this series.
Zoe’s Rescue Zoo Series. This was one of Sam’s recommendations for Jamie from her shelf. There is a little girl who can talk to animals (Princess Sofia much?) and she and her family run a zoo that rescues animals. Zoe helps each new baby animal adjust as needed. Jamie has gotten through two of the books and is now on her third.
The Princess in Black Series. As much as Jamie loves animals, she also loves her Princesses. Last year Sam picked out the first of the Princess in Black series when she filled out her Barnes and Noble Summer reading form. Jamie found it on the shelf, and was curious enough to open it up. The Princess in Black’s text is big and each page is peppered with pictures, making the feel of a chapter book easy. We recently discovered that there were more Princess in Black Books, and so of course when Jamie saw it and asked me to get her a copy, I gamely agreed.
Anna and Elsa Series. Ah yes. The never-ending legacy of Frozen. The tales of Anna and Elsa are little stories after the Frozen movie has happened, when Queen Elsa is comfortable with her powers, and the rest of their Arendele adventures begin.
Jamie received the first two of these books as a gift, and Sam got the three after them (it is now up to #8). Jamie started to read it however this one has less pictures on the pages, so it feels a little bit more sophisticated than she’d like, but she is curious about it nonetheless. We are going slow on this series and taking our time.
Books by Julia Donaldson. Back in Manila, the girls and I watched The Gruffalo performance. We bought the book during intermission, and that’s how we discovered Julia Donaldson. Sam enjoyed a lot of her other books, and while they are illustrated like children’s books the words are smaller per page, and some are harder to read. Jamie can get through them on her own now, but every once in a while she still enjoys snuggling with me to have me read through these silly books while she points out the new thing she sees.
I love watching the girls build their reading skills. It helps that they choose what they read too, and that we talk about what they’ve read so far. Jamie especially has come a long way in just a few months. She now has the habit of settling herself down and opening a book to read at her leisure. It’s a lovely sight to see. 🙂
Do you have any book favorites your kids would like to share?