This summer, X-man started to learn how to read. He's got all the words used in pretty much every Dick and Jane book down pat. And they are a sea of sight words. It's all good, until I show him them out of the Dick and Jane context and then he's like, "I don't know."
Dude, watch. I highlight three words from the sight word list that his kindergarten teacher gave us at the Parent Teacher conference and put them in a sentence using Dick and Jane... He reads them. "Oooohhhh!" He says. "Why do they look different when they're by themselves?"
In a context he appears to be great. And really, it's lovely that he has reading comprehension, that is he can totally understand what he's reading and building. And sometimes, when he's tired, he substitutes synonyms for the words he's reading because he understands what's going on in a story.
In response, I went on the hunt for non-Dick and Jane books to insert in our evening reading. Some nights he's killer and other nights he's so tired, he just stares at the letter "a" in a sentence and repeats, "said" over and over again. I ask, "What's that letter?" He snaps to attention. "A." "Oooohhhhh."
Seriously, Dude, I think we need to read earlier in the day. "Noooooo!"
Anyway, each night X-man brings home a folder from his teacher. Tonight was a "sample" homework night. It really wasn't homework. It was a half sheet of paper where I had to have a conversation with X-man about what he enjoyed about school that day. Since we have that conversation over dinner or after-school snack pretty much every day, it was not out of the ordinary. But I did have to sign my initials that we did it and have him take it back tomorrow. We'll see what he brings home tomorrow for homework.
In addition, he's been getting a lot of reading based fliers lately. One is a reading incentive program through Fazoli's. If he reads 5 books on his own, we write down the titles and turn them into his teacher to sign off on and then she gives him his certificate to take into Fazoli's for a free kid's meal. The catch, of course, is that it has to be with purchase of an adult entree. But since he'd never go by himself, I guess that makes sense. And, as it turns out, Lightning McColin is a fan Fazoli's so we'll be making that dinner playdate soon. :-) Today, he got another coupon for another restaurant -- Texas Roadhouse. But this one, he only had to write down his favorite book and color a sheet and turn it in for his free meal with the purchase of an adult entree. We don't really eat at Texas Roadhouse. I think I had it once in Manassas, Va. But he thought maybe, since they had steaks his Dad could take him there for lunch next week when they have early dismissal on Sept. 9th.
I thought that was a pretty marvelous idea.
In addition to the coupon, we also got a reading log to fill out. I'm not sure if it's just supposed to be books that X-man reads or if it should include books I read to him. The form has "type of reading" so I've just devised "X-man reads to Mom" and "Mom reads to X-man." I figure MacTroll can write in his own name, but since he's not here this week, it works. :-) He gets the form on Mondays and we have to return it on Fridays. It lists all the items we read and when.
X-man also had his first trip to visit Ms. Cahill in the library today. He checked out a book that he looked over on the bus. When he got home, I asked him if he wanted me to read it to him. He said, "I think it's too scary from the pictures." And I have to agree, the illustrations are rather creepy, but I'll read the story tonight and see if he'll be okay. Instead, I handed him his new Lego Club Jr. magazine, and he and I read that and went through the puzzles. Then he insisted on filling out the survey about the redesign of the magazine and putting it in the mailbox, just in case he was one of the three children returning it that might win $50 to the Lego store. He's got his eye on some Ninjago sets...
I am scheduled to shelve books at the Carrie Busey school library from 1-dismissal on Mondays starting on Sept. 19th. I'll be in there when X-man's class has library time. I'm curious to see how that will go.
But I was also surprised when Ms. Cahill remembered my name from the Books by the Bushel event last year. It's where librarians and teachers give the Junior League a wish list of books they'd like for their school and people go into Barnes and Noble and purchase the books as donations and get to dedicate their purchases to people.
Tomorrow, I'll be at the Tolono Public Library twice. Once to drop off the book drop books, and once to take X-man to the "Paws to Read" program from 4-5 p.m. He's going to sit down with a dog and read the dog a book. I saved a Dick and Jane for this one, just so he doesn't get nervous. He also usually has me hold the book and move my finger to the words, so we'll have to see if he's ready to do it on his own.
As it turns out, in my own classroom nothing brought my students together more than a teacher sitting on the floor with a book in her hands. They all sat so nicely as Ms. Rachel and I shared stories with them. My favorite part of the day, though, was when we were reading the "You are Brave" book and we got to the part where it talks about how children are brave when they are able to hold insects gently and I busted out my plastic insect collection and handed the insects out. The kids all put them in the palms of their hands like the illustration showed and cooed at them as if they were babies. It was adorable. Then when I finished the book. I got them out magnifying glasses and they all sat around this little bin of bugs and examined all the different kinds.
At that point, of course, a parent showed up, and her child ran up to her beaming with two insects in his hands. It made me smile. Just wait until I can find them some real bugs. :-)