Sunday, February 24, 2013

An old student, Fancy Nancy, and a Christmas letter

I am very blessed that several of my old students keep in touch with me.  I send my Christmas cards to their families and they graciously respond each year.  I really enjoy hearing how they are doing and have enjoyed watching them grown up.   One of the young men that I had in first and second grade just got married last year.  He wrote me the other day and told me that he had a present for my younger two girls.  I said great and remembered again when a box arrived in the mail.  The box arrived with a set of Fancy Nancy books and a letter.  The books were all signed by the illustrator Robin Preiss Glasser. But, I am getting ahead of myself.  The story started back in 1997.

I had a classroom of first graders that I "looped" up with to second grade.  It was a wonderful group of kids who I really missed when I moved to Ohio from Georgia.  A book had just come out called Alexander, Who's Not (Do you hear me, I mean it, not!) Going to Move. 
One of the original books.

I wrote a personal note to each student and gave it to them at the end of the year. (Notice the illustrator is Robin Preiss Glasser.)   I have kept up with Andrew and his family over the past 16 years.  I send them a Christmas card and letter each year..  This year I shared how one of my daughters loves Fancy Nancy and she had a Fancy Nancy Birthday Party this year. 
Fancy Nancy Party with table set for tea.

Well, it turns out that Andrew and his family have a connection with Robin Preiss Glasser, the illustrator the Fancy Nancy books and the original book I gave him. They both know how much I love singed books and set out to have a set of Fancy Nancy books signed by Ms. Glasser for my daughters. They shared the story of the book I had given Andrew at the end of second grade, our Christmas card picture, and the fact that my daughters loved Fancy Nancy with Ms. Glasser.   Ms. Glasser loved the story and agreed to sign the books.  My girls were beyond thrilled. 
Girls posing with the books in Fancy Nancy Attire.

So a book given in love led to more books given in love many years later. The circle of reading. You never know the effect that a book you give a child will have on their lives. 
P.S. I told my children it is also another good reason to smile in your Christmas card picture. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Developing a love of reading in our kids part 2.

Last week I shared the people who have helped to develop a love of reading in my life.  As home educators we have a big role in developing this love with our children.  I am going to share some ways that we do with our children.  I look forward to hearing some more ideas.

I start reading to my kids as soon as they are born, but I must admit it is easier with fewer children.  I am reading to our one year old and my husband has been reading to the older children.  We love reading Lamplighter books.  I also have my older kids read to my younger kids.  This develops a love of books in both parties.

My kids and I love to go to library book sales together, and other used-book sales together. They earn their own money now to spend on books.  I always buy a few books for them.  We also buy them new books for holidays and birthdays.  I want them to know that books are great gifts.

I take my kids to the library as often as I can.  I also have my kids ask the librarians questions when they have them.  My kids have developed several friendships with librarians.  I want them to know other people who love books.

I also walk through the stacks of books with them at the library and book sales.  I pull out books they may want, and we look for new books together.  Since those were some of my best memories as a child, I want to have them with my kids.

Lastly, we try to attend author talks or book signings.  That is a little more difficult, but we do.  I have all my books signed by authors and illustrators in a special place.  They are aloud to borrow them and put them back when they are finished. 

When I see my kids choose reading a book over TV, see them sneak off to read, or the look of excitement on their face when they get a new book, I know I am on the road to cultivating a love of books.

Next Week:  How an old student, an illustrator, and a Christmas card came together to show a love of reading. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Devloping a love of reading in our kids part 1

The snow is covering the ground today as I write this post.  I love how the world slows down in the winter and provides time for reading.  I have loved to read for as long as I can remember.  I love how my kids have been developing that same love.

I think in order to talk about how to help our kids become great readers, we have to think about what happened in our lives that helped to turn us into readers and lovers of books.  Today, I am going to share my love of reading journey.  I am hopeful it causes you to think of your journey.  Which in turn will help you think of how to create this in your children.

My best early memories are of my father reading to me and my brothers and sisters.  My father read with  different voices for each character.  He loved reading to us the Happy Hollisters books and the different OZ books.   He use to tell me "Books are our friends." My dad took me to used-book stores, brought home books for me from trips, and took me to the library. 

Another great influence in my love of reading was Mrs. Chamberlain the librarian at Trailwood Elementary in Kansas City, Kansas.  She brought in the author Scott Corbet to the school.  I was so excited to meet a real author.  She let me work in the library and always acted excited to hear about what I was reading.  She would walk through the shelves with students suggesting books and talking about them.

Lee Bernd taught a literature class I took in Georgia.  She was truly a delight.  She loved talking about books, and enjoyed bringing in authors to our class.  She inspired me to be a better teacher.  She introduced us to Laura Seely, Betsy Duffy(Betsy Byars daughter), and Carmen Agra Deedy.  Lee passed away  6 months after our class was over.  I was so sad to hear of her death,  but so glad that I had the privilege to get to know her that summer.  She rekindled my love of children's literature.

These are just the top three.  There were other friends and teachers along the way.  I love finding a friend who loves the same author I do.  It is an instant connection.

So, who influenced your love of reading?
~ Becky

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Reading-Top of the Line

One of my favorite reading tools for beginning readers is the top of the line reader.  I find it helpful for the reader, and quite honestly for me.

 This little plastic piece highlight one line of text so your child knows where they are on the page.  It is great for a child who looks away or looks up to get your help.  I find it easier to see where they are across a table.  I have a sister with Cerebral Palsy and as an adult she found it helpful when she was reading.  Due to her CP she moves her head and often loses her place on the page, and this was a great way to know where she was.

You can buy one of these from Amazon.