What We’ve Been Reading Wednesdays

Once again, due to changes in the kids routines and my interests, I’m finding myself trying to re-evaluate the best way to blog about our homeschooling life. I am finding that just posting about one topic at a time works better for me than attempting to write weekly wrap-ups. So I am going to start trying to establish a rhythm, blogging about certain topics on certain days of the week. Wednesdays, I plan to write about what we are reading. I like the idea of posting about what Dora, Gohan, and I are reading in one post. In addition, Dora is starting to branch out more in her reading requests and is not wanting to read the carefully chosen books that I have set out for her, which usually tie into our weekly science theme. So it no longer makes sense to post about her reads with her other work.

I personally am now reading the latest issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. I’ve subscribed to this magazine for many years. I love mysteries and I love short stories. Short stories really fit into my lifestyle as they usually only take about 15-30 minutes to read, which is about all the time I ever get to read in one sitting. With novels, I tend to get caught up in the story and then feel resentful when Dora needs me and I have to put my book down (yes, I suffer from Nerd Girl Problem #45).

Last week, I also finished The Son of Neptune, by Rick Riordan. I started reading the Percy Jackson series long before the movie came out. In fact, I haven’t seen the movie and don’t plan to. The Son of Neptune is book #2 in the second “Percy Jackson” series, otherwise known as the Heroes of Olympus Series, which focuses more on the Roman gods. I have enjoyed this series as much as the first series, though I have not taken to Riordan’s other series about the Egyptian gods, called the Kane Chronicles.

Gohan and I are listening to a recording of The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper.I’m having Gohan do 20+ minutes of reading of whatever he wants, plus 20 minutes of listening to more age-appropriate literature selections of his choosing (he chooses a book from a list that I have compiled). This way, he gets reading practice in, but also is being exposed to more challenging literature. This book was well-recommended and was his choice, but if I had been familiar with it beforehand, I would not have recommended it for him. It is a good story, but uses early 20th-century English/British terminology, which he is often not familiar with. In addition, there is a good deal of thinking and reflecting and not a whole lot of action, not to mention virtually, no humor. All in all, the writing style reminds me a lot of The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James, which is considered a high school level read. Yet, the plot would not be appropriate for high schoolers. Honestly, though I am enjoying the book, I am a bit baffled about why it is on so many people’s “recommended reading for middle schoolers” lists. I am having to really review each day’s “reading” with Gohan to make sure he is following the story.

Meanwhile, Dora is obsessed with fairy tales. We have recently moved beyond Fujikawa’s fairy tale collection to A Treasury of Children’s Literature, edited by Armand Eisen, which has slightly longer and more in-depth versions of the stories, not to mention a larger variety of literature selections. Dora takes fairy tales very seriously and they affect many decisions she makes throughout the day. For instance, today we went for a short hike to look for wildflowers. She really wanted to this, but when I mistakenly referred to the area that we would be hiking in as “the woods”, she suddenly started worrying about encountering The Big Bad Wolf. Finally she took a deep breath, raised her head, clutched my hand, whispered, “I am going to be brave,” and entered “the woods” (those two words should be read in an ominous tone). She also often re-enacts fairy tales, using her dolls to act out the stories. Two other books that Dora and I have read together that I can recommend are Otis, by Loren Long, and How Many Feet in the Bed?, by Diane Johnston Hamm. On the one hand, Otis is another book about the tired-out theme of modern technology vs. preserving traditional ways of doing things. On the other hand, the story is quite different from any other book that I have read. I like that the author manages to reconcile the fact that while traditional ways of doing things may still have a place in our life, it doesn’t mean that one can’t move forward with technology.

How Many Feet in the Bed? is a cute tale about a family taking some time to cuddle in the parents’ bed in the morning. It also teaches skip-counting by two’s.

What about you? Have you been reading any good reads? Do you have any to recommend? I’m always on the lookout for good books, my “to read” pile and list are ridiculously long!

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Labels: Literature
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff