Deb Andries brought us our first-ever Reading Team, and since then it’s been a delight to see her grandkids grow up together — with books always part of the mix. Here, Deb shares some of the reading fun that has kept them all going during the long months of the pandemic:
Reading teams do read together, and my Reading Team(s) and I have been doing just that. However, as you view the photos of the twins, Hayes and Myles, now seventeen months, you see them reading by themselves. I attribute their love of books, and their independent engagement with them, as a sign that their Grammy, their family, and their daycare providers have been doing a great job of modeling reading and sharing books.
The girls have their favorite board books, which are becoming worn from multiple page turns and multiple reads during these balmy days of winter. However, those turned pages have revealed how much they are retaining. For example, Myles will look at the board book First 100 Words by Roger Priddy and turn to her favorite pages and point: “apple, apple; shoes, shoes; baby, baby; spoon, spoon,” she says. Hayes enjoys the pages in Open the Barn Door (Christopher Santoro), a tiny book with pages that lift to reveal animals. She can be heard saying “peep, peep” and “moo, moo” when she finds the duckling and cow pages. Another tried-and-true favorite is Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?, written by Bill Martin Jr, with illustrations by Eric Carle.
Another positive outcome of reading together can be found in my grandson Finley (age five), who now sees himself as an author. In the photo, he has taken ten Post-it Notes and spread them across the table. He covers each “page” with meticulous drawings that tell the story of how he gets dressed and ready to head outside to board the bus, play with friends, or use the skating rink his Dad has created on the lake in front of their house.
“Grammy, this page shows me getting my coat on, then my snow pants, my boots, and last page, my mittens.” (It is his wordless picture book, and he knows the story!) The book is titled Finley Outside.
What have we been reading together? Again, the Thomas St. Angelo Public Library, in Cumberland, Wisconsin, has curated many new as well as tried-and-true great books for us to check out. We welcomed their curbside pickup during the shutdown, and the librarians have told me: “I sure love shopping and choosing books for your pickup, Deb!” Now that they are open again, we can peruse the shelves ourselves and bring home great titles. The boys, Grayson and Finley, have enjoyed the collection of Wonderbooks; these are “read-along” books that support children in following text and in engaging in text that is being read to them. These are audio titles that kiddos listen to, where they can turn their own pages. We read them together, and then Finley and Grayson listen and have their “own time” with them. Their favorite titles so far have been Snow by Uri Shulevitz and The Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller.
Last week, the book Life With My Family, by Renee Hooker and Karl Jones (illustrations by Kathryn Durst) was the perfect choice! The storyline is about how crazy life can be. Here’s how the jacket cover’s description reads:
“Even the closest families have trouble getting along sometimes. On just such a day, a young girl daydreams about what life would be like if her family of humans were a pride of lions, a pandemonium of parrots, a smack of jellyfish, and more. Each imagined animal adventure brings her closer to realizing just how lucky she really is.”
We had such fun conversations as we learned about how collective nouns, or “terms of venery,” describe groups of different animals. And our conversation then led to a discussion about how great it is to always be together. You can imagine the craziness with boys ages seven and five, and twins who are seventeen months! But in the end, there’s no place we’d all rather be than together!
Bookology is always looking for new Reading Teams to help us celebrate the joys of reading aloud together. Contact Lisa Bullard for further information if you’re interested in participating.