Deb Andries and Her Reading Team
February 2021

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.

Hayes and Myles share some reading time
Hayes and Myles share some read­ing time

first 100 wordsThe 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.

Finley the author working on his book
Fin­ley the author work­ing on his book

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!

Myles and Hayes reading
Myles is “read­ing,” Hayes is work­ing on a puz­zle book


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.

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