Thursday, September 13, 2007

Reading Is Fundamental

Now that school is in session, I get to enjoy something on a monthly basis that I always miss during the summer vacation. No, I'm not talking about anything amorous. I'm talking about the Scholastic Book Orders. Those three or four page catalogs that the kids bring home from school that offer to sell you discounted books. I love these catalogs! These offers appeal to me at two levels. First, I love to read and second, I am very cheap. Where else can you get a Harry Potter set for $50? I just like looking through them, even if I don't buy anything. Our catalogs usually have many classics of children's literature. Authors, E. B. White, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Roald Dahl are regulars. I'm sorry to say that I don't care for about half of the books in the flier. The Spongebob, Dora and other cartoon based books usually don't rise to the challenge of children's literature. There seems to be a lot more Barbie, Bratz and any other Nickelodeon show books too. But, whatever gets kids to read is OK with me. In the past, we have enjoyed a few Scooby Doo chapter books. The pictures were few and the mystery was entertaining. Even though I knew the monster was going to be a guy or girl in a costume, like it always is. And yes, the bad guys would have gotten away with it, if weren't for those meddling kids.

We have used Scholastic to build the kids library quite extensively. Children's book companies, lately, like to get you hooked on a series. That way, every time a new book is published in the series, you have to buy it or else. That also sets you up to buy their 'boxed sets' if your child likes the first book in the series. This isn't so bad when the grandparents start sniffing around for Christmas list ideas. Number One Son's favorite book sets include 'Magic Treehouse', 'Jack Sparrow' and 'Magic School Bus'. Sweet Pea likes 'Clifford', 'Curious George' and 'Frog and Toad'.

I enjoy reading these books as much as the kids do. I don't always get a lot of time for real reading. Reading the Sears ad in the bathroom doesn't count. N1S's books usually have some history or science lesson hidden in the story. I usually learn as much as he does. SP's books often have wonderful artwork and a good moral. Along with the good read, I get to enjoy time with my children teaching and entertaining.

I also like how these book orders mark the change of seasons. There are Halloween and leaf books in the fall, and Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa books in the winter. They also give me a timely 'heads up' for when Valentine's Day is approaching. We keep our seasonal books in a separate basket and bring them out during the appropriate season. We have to read 'Skeleton Hiccups' every fall, and 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' every winter.

If your school offers Scholastic book orders, I advise you to take advantage of it. If you don't like a book you buy, you're only out a couple bucks. The only down side is that your kids' rooms will overflow with books. We have donated a couple laundry baskets full back to the school already. I know we probably buy too many, but how can you say no?

I am hoping that the children enjoy their books enough to revisit them when they are older. When they get old enough to actually read for pleasure, maybe they will pick a book from their shelf at random and be reminded of the first time it was read to them. Hopefully, their memories will be strong enough to enjoy the same books with their own kids. When that day comes, I will be ready to play the role of 'the Grampa who reads to us'.

I would, hopefully, like to be known to my grand kids as 'the Grampa with hair' too.


lkc_lai said...

I agreed with you that reading is fundamental. How you start teach your children to read?

For your information, my danish also likes "read" but in another ways. He likes to bite. Is it normal? Did your children do the same thing as danish done?

Danish can't see us to read especially he saw newspaper or magazine. He will rush to you and take the newspaper from you. Terrible boy.

SciFi Dad said...

Totally agree with you. My wife (a former Kindergarten teacher) went through withdrawal when she took time off for the munchkin... she found a community center that offers the Elf and See Saw forms for all parents, so we're back on that wagon again (for the next, what, 10 years or so?)

Go Lions Go!

DJ Kirkby said...

Oh! The book schemes seem to be a lot more expensive over here! Of course we still have else would I indulge my bizzarre fascination with reading childrens books? N3S got on brilliantly this first week of 1/2 days at school, fingers crossed for next week when he will be going full time...

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.