Summer Reading Book Haul

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Some of My Favorite Books Right Now

Sew Fab Sewing and Style for Young Fashionistas:
Author: Lesley Ware

ISBN-10: 178067404X
ISBN-13: 978-1780674049

Sew Fab is a great book about sewing, style, and designing. There are guides to help you pick your own style tribe, accessorize, and also how to choose your color palette. I love this book because I am really into fashion and clothes. One day I want to be able to use a sewing machine like my mom does to create pretty dresses and skirts to wear. There are also some really cool projects in the book, my favorite one is the After School Tote.

Another thing I love about the book is the illustrations. The pictures look like they are painted with watercolors and all of the girls in the book have on really cute outfits!  The colors are bright and pretty The girl on the cover has on Chuck’s and those are my favorite shoes. I sometimes use the book when my mom lets me pick my own outfits.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fashion or wants to learn more about sewing. It has helped me out a lot!

Jem and the Holograms comics :
Author: Kelly Thompson and Sophia Campbell

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I love comic books!

I just  started reading the Jem and the Holograms comics a few weeks ago. I read all 4 comics in one day and have read My favorite part of comics are the illustrations because I want to be an author/illustrator one day. I have seen the Jem cartoon that my mom used to watch when she was a kid and I loved it!

In the comics the main character is Jerrica Benton but her secret identity is Jem. Jem has a girl band called Jem and the Holograms and they give concerts and help out kids with the Starlight Foundation. Jem has a computer named Synergy that helps her and her band transform and it is super cool! I like the Jem cartoons and comics because all of the stories have a lesson and a moral that I can learn.

I would recommend these comic books to anyone who likes music, brightly colored graphics, and comics. There are 11 books in the series plus a holiday special.

The Witches:
Author: Roald Dahl

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ISBN-10: 0590032496
ISBN-13: 978-0142410110

My teacher read this book to our class and I loved it so much, I had to read it myself. I want to read all of Roald Dahl’s books because the stories I have seen in movies were great, and I am sure the books are too!
The story is about 2 boys, the narrator and a boy named Bruno Jenkins, who meet some witches and get turned into mice. With the help of the narrators grandmother, they try to find away to turn back into boys and get back at the witches.
I like this book because it is very funny and creative. The funniest part of the book to me, was when the witches were at their meeting and The Grand High Witch told them all that they could remove their wigs, gloves, and shoes.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes funny stories.

The Jigsaw Jones Mystery Books :
Author: James Preller

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I like these stories because they are funny and there are real mysteries to be solved. I like to watch NCIS, Sherlock,  and other mystery stories with my mom, but I don’t always understand what is going on. The Jigsaw Jones books are very kid friendly and easy to understand. Another thing I like, is that I can read the books easily in one day and still remember details.

The main character is Jigsaw Jones. He loves drinking grape juice and he has a dog named Rags. The story is written like Jigsaw is an actual detective and I like that a lot. It’s not just a kid trying to solve mysteries, he actually is really good at it. The book reminds me of Nancy Drew or Encyclopedia Brown.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery stories.

Summer Learning


School has officially been out 3 full weeks and Rahni has been hitting it hard and I could not be more impressed with her! For the last 2 weeks we have been refreshing addition facts and working on the multiplication facts that she has not memorized (4, 6,7,8,9). So far we had to review multiplication facts of 3 for a full week and we just finished with 4’s so next week we will put factors of 6 into the mix. She is doing pretty good, I must say, and I think that her understanding that multiplication is just addition over and over (arrays)  makes things a lot easier. That is one thing that I am thankful for with Common Core. Just that one thing so far though. 🙂

As far as reading goes she dove head first into comics and graphic novels a couple years ago and has not looked back since! We recently made a trip to a couple of local comic book stores, The Book and Music Exchange and also The Great Escape and Rahni racked up! She seems to be pretty pschyed about The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, a new comic from Marvel that came out December 2014. She got the lastest copy #6 and now wants to get all of them, of course. Also, she got a few Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers which were pretty expensive considering how old and not so great they looked. I assume that these will only go up in value over the years so I feel pretty confident that the price was justified. Another favorite from her haul is Archie Comics Sabrina The Teenage Witch. From what I have researched the comics for this particular series originated in around 1971. We so far have been able to procure about 30 comics but there are several out there because there seems to be at least 3 different series she appears in not including the Little Archie series. Luckily, we were able to find a lot of the volumes available for digital download on the Archie Comic website for her to read, but our goal is to obtain more paper copies for her collection.

Although it’s been hard to tear her away from her comics she has also been making time for at least a chapter a day of Harry Potter and the Sorcer’s Stone (book 1). She is just now taking it seriously after us purchasing it about a year ago. I think she got discouraged because the words were complicated and some of the concepts were still foreign to her. What a difference a year makes! At my suggestion that she start the book over with new eyes, she started re reading it last week and has 2 chapters to go before she’s finished. Since she is swearing that she has never seen the movie Sorcere’s Stone, (which I know isn’t true because we own all the movies and I have watched them a million times)  I told her that if she finished the book and did the questions from this absolutely awesome guide that I found online, (which you can access here) that she and I would make a night of watching the movie and comparing it to what she’s read. I must confess, I am a bit more excited than she is.

I must say  that I had forgotten how great the books were! When I read them as an adult and it literally took me days to read each one because I was so enthralled with the story. While I did allow my imagination to do most of the work in Sorcer’s Stone, I will also admit that reading them became much easier after having character voices and faces along with landcsapes and visual refernces to use from the movies. Now, seeing it through her eyes and hearing her feedback, it’s almost like a new experience. I will definitely be reading book 2 with her. It’s funny because she says to me the other day, “it’s weird that Snape is a teacher because he seems like a bad guy or Harry Potter’s enemy.” I couldn’t say much for fear of ruining everything. Also, I want to hear and see her reaction once she puts everything together in the Deathly Hallows and see if she has more resolve not to cry like a blubbering idiot like myself and so many others did. Since she is my child, the chances of her not are pretty slim lol!

We don’t have much by the way of a reading list because our focus this summer is to read for comprehension and finding a deeper understanding and meaning in texts. Though she will always have free reading forever and always, her required reading this summer is just 2 books, Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets. I think that the relationships and scenarios are so complex in the Harry Potter books that we could literally spend endless amounts of time analyzing and discussing them. Also, the fact that she is really getting into them and is wanting to duscuss these things makes it that much more of a great opportunity now.

Even though we don’t have a summer reading list we would still LOVE to hear from you guys about what you’re reading and suggestions. Please email us or comment to let us know!

We’ll be posting soon about Read Aloud so stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

Rahni’s Book Club

club

I have been saying for months that I was going to start a children’s book club, and today, I finally did. I called the library and reserved a meeting room for our first official meeting. It will be in a month and now I have to invite people and find a book.
There is no particular age range for the club, but the books will be appropriate for kids aged 7 to about 10 just because I don’t want the books that we select to be too difficult or too easy. Since Rahni is 8 and most of the kids that I am going to invite are around her age give or take a couple years, this should hopefully work out. Of course we can always make adjustments as necessary.
Upon looking for our first book selection, I came across some very interesting books that I have never seen before. It seems like these days there is no shortage of books or authors for children to choose from. While representation of ethnic diversity is lacking in characters, today I have found, despite my initial thought, that there are a good amount of books that have both female and male main characters. Admittedly, I usually do not browse for books that boys specifically would be interested in because I don’t have a son. However, when we do go to book stores and libraries, I notice a lot more books with a lot more female protagonists.
When I asked two of my trusted mommy friends about books that both boys and girls would like, they both gave me 2 really good options; one being Sweet Farts series book #1 by Raymond Bean and the other was the Rotten School series book #1 by R.L. Stine.
I never knew the R.L .made any series outside of Goosebumps, so this came as a pleasant surprise to me. The series is not scary, but is funny, and has a good amount of the gross humor that kids tend to like. The first book is titled The Big Blueberry Barf-Off, if that tells you anything. I read excerpts from the book and it seems to be about a very annoying and bratty kid that challenges another kid that is just as bratty to a pie eating contest. It seems legitimately funny and there are short chapters and great illustrations.
Before today, I ashamed to say that I have never heard of author Raymond Bean. He writes children’s humor book series Sweet Farts and School is a Nightmare. He also has a series titles Benji Franklin that I absolutely fell in love with after reading an excerpt from book #1 Benji Franklin Kid Zillionaire. Benji is a child genius and inventor. He wins an award for one of his inventions and becomes the world’s first and only zillionaire. It is a book about creativity, imagination, and also good will. This is definitely a book that goes on our “to read” list.

These are some of the books that I think would be great options, some are newer and some are classics, either way  I think they all appeal to boys and girls.

Click the links after the photos for more info!

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The Magic Shop (series) by Kate Egan
Elray Jakes (series) by Sally Warner 
Club House Mysteries (series) by Sharon Draper   
Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja (series) by Marcus Emerson
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (series) by Judy Blume
The Mouse and the Motorcycle (series) by Beverly Cleary
Freckle Juice by Judy Blume
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
Friendle by Andrew Clements
The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
Stuart Little by E.B. White
George Brown Class Clown (series) by Nancy Krulik

My Child Can Read ANYTHING…or can she??

Let me just start by saying that my daughter can virtually read ANYTHING. And by ‘read’ I mean just that. She can read long multi-syllabic words by sounding them  out phonetically and she usually gets the pronunciations correct. HOWEVER…she does not always comprehend what she is reading. And by ‘always’ I mean OFTEN. Do not get my wrong, at her grade level she comprehends just fine. She is able to grasp the meaning and if there is a lesson, she pretty much is able to figure that out as well. The problem with this is that she flies through books that are at her grade level. As any other parent that is completely blown away by this, I started feeding her more and more books. In her home library she has over 100, and that is not including what is on her Kindle apps on her Ipod and Galaxy…or my Iphone. In Kindergarten, she started reading  Junie B Jones chapter books. And just last week, she got her first Harry Potter book after her constant begging for it.

 

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Well……

As much as it prides me that my 7, soon to be 8 year old is able to pick up a dictionary and read each word with ease, it kind of worries me that 5 minutes after she reads a book she has no idea or has a hard time summarizing what happened. I felt like this was very problematic, hence her re reading Junie B Jones book 1 that she read 2 years ago. At first, I was hesitant to go back a few grade levels because I didn’t want her to get bored or to stop trying to excel at reading. I didn’t want her ultimate goal of reading “big people” books to be forgotten or abandoned. To my surprise neither of these things have happened! She still enjoys reading books like Junie B, if not more so now then when she was 5. She still flies through the book, but with the shorter chapters and larger print, it’s not as much information for her to have to process. Now when I ask her what happened, it is a lot easier for her to recall and she has a very good understanding of what happened.

Now that I think of it, she is more like me than I thought. About 3 years ago, when the first Hobbit movie was coming out, I decided to re read the book because I am ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. If there is a book to movie, it is imperative that I read the book first (this excludes books based on motion pictures). I know, I’m a snob:) Anyway, keep in mind that I have not read The Hobbit since high school. It only took me a couple days to read it…because I was reading it at work. I absolutely LOVED it! I cannot remember loving the book in high school. I don’t know if it is because I was forced to read it, or because my imagination and level of comprehension has expanded since then. Either way, the dots connected and the light bulb went off.

Seeing and understanding how this works for her now, I will continue to encourage her to read more grade level appropriate books for her level of comprehension. However, we have already made the agreement that for free reading time, she can read anything she wants. Of course, this is within reason as she is also itching to read Game of Thrones. I told her maybe in middle school. Maybe. Probably. We’ll see. 🙂

From Mom: I must be a bad parent. Oh well!

This week I watched a video about strength finding. In this video, Marcus Buckingham, the co author of Now, Discover Your Strengths, goes on to discuss how people focus so much on trying to
correct their weaknesses that they very seldom build their strengths. Marcus does a lot of seminars for people who are looking to be more successful in their careers. His message is, to me, geared more towards managers, companies, and individuals in corporations or business, and even college.
In this video, one example he used was when a child gets all A’s on their report card but gets one F in a subject parents tend to focus solely on the F. They start investing all of their time and resources on basically something that the child just doesn’t get. This apparently is not the correct thing to do and the overall message that the class got was, “everyone will not be strong in everything so why waste your time trying to improve something if it’s not one of your strengths?”
…wait, what?
I was sitting there, jaw dropped in total shock and awe. In the video, Marcus talked about how he wasn’t a good at speaking and how his employer had him take classss and do excercises and in the the end he went from completely sucking at public speaking to being really bad at it. I got it. The overall message he was giving in that example was that speaking, at the time, was not his strength. Ok. Makes sense. But the other example still had me miffed.
…Then came the class discussion. Everyone in the class was like, “yeah, my parents made me study math, blah, blah, blah and I STILL didn’t get it! Such a waste of time!” I also heard, “why would you make someone who isn’t good at painting take painting classes?”
…wait, what?
Immediately this starts playing over and over in my mind.
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At this point, I am totally confused. Is this really happening? What world am I in? All I could keep thinking was that these examples he’s giving DO NOT APPLY FOR SCHOOL AGED CHILDREN!!! Of course if you, as AN EMPLOYEE somewhere are not the best at analyzing data, or public speaking, etc. you simply do not apply for jobs in these areas. You build a CAREER on your strength, but most of us only are able to get said career AFTER we have completed some kind of education.
When you are in a school that has a pass/fail grading system, whether you feel like a subject is your strength or not, you still must pass the subject in order to be promoted to the next grade level. We may all feel like algebra is a waste of time, and hate to convert fractions into whole numbers, but guess what? We HAVE to learn how to do it in order to graduate. Period point blank. Unless you have unlimited financial resources, you can’t just pick what you feel like your children should be graded on and taught in school. In public school, you very seldom have that luxury.
I’m the parent that focuses on the bad grade. I’m the parent that invests time and resources into subject matter that my daughter is not the best in. I’m the parent that does drills and worksheets for us to do after school to supplement what she is/isn’t taught . Not only do I do these things because she MUST learn them in order to be successful in our school system, but because I know that the way she is being taught these subjects in school, may not be the way that she can learn them effectively. I do it because everyone learns differently and at different paces. I do it because I don’t want her using a crutch like, “math isn’t my thing” to skate through school and be mediocre. I do it because I don’t want her to be afraid to learn new things just because at first they may seem difficult. I do it because I know she can learn it.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are many people that have learning disabilities. The brain is a very complex thing. I know that everyone will not grasp everything no matter how much we try to teach and explain it no matter what methods we use. There are also people who don’t get things AT FIRST. They need repetition, examples, charts, reading material, etc. in order to completely understand and apply what they have learned. My daughter happens to be one of those. Many people happen to be like that. I went my entire career in secondary school thinking that I “wasn’t good at math.” That I “just didn’t get it.” It took me to start baking and applying different math concepts for the light bulb to FINALLY go off. 10 years out of high school, and I felt like I had finally gotten it.
Then there are also things in life that you either “have it” or you don’t, like painting, drawing, dancing, singing, etc. But for the most part those are natural abilities that just come to you and they usually cannot be taught. You don’t have to be able to draw to become a doctor. You don’t have to sing a perfect scale to go to college or get a job at a Fortune 500 company. But you do have to know basic math and English.
My daughter gets high scores in reading. She’s is well above her grade level and she thoroughly enjoys reading. She has well over 100 books currently in her library and numerous E-books on her Kindle. Once I realized in kindergarten that she was gifted in reading, I IMMEDIATELY started cultivating that. We ALWAYS read, we frequent our public libraries, we make journals, we discuss books and literature. I started THIS very blog because I wanted to share our journey and resources. I don’t only focus and invest in her so called weakness in math, I also build upon her strengths and motivate her to do better and to more while still making it fun and intriguing for her.
There has to be a balance. I think that we MUST invest our time and resources into our children’s strengths as well as the weaknesses, especially when those weaknesses are the difference between a scholarship or an educational opportunity.
When it comes to our children, especially in their early education, I don’t think it’s a good idea to just basically say “f$&k it, reading isn’t his strength anyway” and only focus on their strengths. If I did that now, with my 7 year old, I could only imagine all of the problems she would have later on down the road.
While I absolutely LOVE the idea of strength finding in the workplace or personal life, I do not think that the concept can be placed in all life scenarios.