You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2008.

What’s the flap about? Seems publishers in the UK want to put fairly narrow age ranges onto their children’s books.  Librarians and many authors are opposed (read more here).  I am too, but for different reasons; here they are.

One of the strongest factors in encouraging reading in children is allowing them to choose their own books.  “No, Johnny, why don’t you get this one?” just is not an encouraging “conversation.” Think how it would feel to you, especially if you had just spent your time and energy on choosing that book and obviously come up with a reason to get it.  In my (strong) opinion, it doesn’t respect the child as a person.

But, you protest, what if it is “too hard?” Well, let Johnny find that out. It won’t take him long and then he will put it down and find another (hopefully, you brought home more than one book from the library). Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I believe the value of choosing outweighs the possibility of having to put it down for another (honest, the world will not stop spinning and he will not give up on reading because of it).

More importantly, what if it is above Johnny’s current reading level–but he really, really, really wants to read it?  Another essential key to reading is motivation.  And he’s got it, right then with that book, and not with the “easier” book.  He really may surprise you.  (I know several boys who have made the jump from Bob Books to Calvin and Hobbes based on this motivation factor).

He may also simply want to look at the pictures (even many middle reader books today have pictures). And pictures tell stories and pictures require the use of language to interpret–and pictures are fun (another key ingredient in growing as a reader).

Finally, if it is truly too hard, you can read it aloud to Johnny.  Yes, you the grown-up, read aloud to your eight year old, ten year old, twelve year old.  Reading aloud exposes children to vocabulary and sentence structure that they haven’t encountered yet.  But now that they have heard it, it will come easier to them when they do reach that level–and then the reading goes more smoothly and it’s more fun (there’s that word again)! It’s also incredibly encouraging and respectful to Johnny; it speaks volumes to how important he is to you and how important this reading thing is as well.

So yes, I’ll join the chorus against publishers, libraries, schools, and bookstores which narrowly categorize books by ages or reading levels. And I’ll encourage you once again to read aloud to your children, even throughout elementary school.

So what do you think?

No Toddler Time this Friday, Oct. 31 (or any other storytimes that day). But I’ll see you next week!

OK, what if all the lyrics to songs on music videos were about what was happening in the video? Check out Head Over Heels, literal style! 🙂 You can also search You Tube for more literal videos; most are quite clever (parental discretion certainly advised on some).

Neat homeschool project: turn the volume down and let the kids write their own literal video to a favorite music video!

Spell “School.” Good, now help these guys figure it out! 🙂

Scroll on down; let me know what you think!

And one day I’m going to drive one!

Or maybe here in the Valley it should be the Biblio-Llama!

God bless this man, many many times!

All right, this list has my dander up.  I think it is so off-target.  The beginning premises read great.  But then it’s like every book has to have a point or moral or up-side or….something!

I could say more (and might later) but you take a look and tell me what you think.

25 Best Picture Books for Children

Just click here for “Ten Little Leaves” and “Five Little Leaves.” Both use wiggly fingers, one is sung and one is chanted. My comments for adults are at the end. (Scroll down on the podcast page to see all available podcasts. You can also sub at the top where it says “Babette Reeves podcast;” just click on the orange xml button.

Cool, fun song about the evolving world of libraries (or is it just a cool, fun song?)

What if no one asked?

When children are asked what they want (for Christmas or birthday or whenever), of course, they are going to feel obliged to answer. 

So they think about it and think about it and notice what’s out there to be had–and the list grows and the gimme’s take over.  If you think about it, it just makes sense.

So what to do? Just don’t ask.

We started this from the beginning with both our boys–and despite their very different personalities, it worked.  It worked so well, that when out and about, if someone asked what they wanted for Christmas, they would stare back blankly.  One year one of them finally answered, “I don’t have to worry about that; Santa knows and always gets me cool things I want.”

It’s getting to be that time of year when we start thinking of holiday gifts.  I’ve used the following catalogs for years and years and have very rarely been disappointed.  Most of the toys and “fun stuff” offered are quality made and last through years.  They are also creative toys that involve kids in the process of playing, pretending, making, and enjoying time well spent alone or with others.  Most are fun for many years and not just for the first few hours they are out of the box.  All have websites where you can browse online or request a catalog.

Hearth Song (make-it kits, pretend, classic toys, outdoor toys)

Timberdoodle (wonderful building and hands-on kits; good homeschool selection)

Greenleaf Press (great for books; good homeschool selection too)

Magic Cabin (gorgeous!)

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Contact Info for Babette

email babette(dot)reeves(at)gmail(dot)com
snail mail
73 State Avenue
Alamosa, CO 81101

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