Raising Star Readers is delighted to introduce a new Reading Team, one that highlights how rewarding it can be to continue a practice of reading aloud with children as they grow older.
Anita Dualeh’s Team includes her sons Adam, age 12, and Caleb, age 9. As Anita explains, “While I encourage independent reading, I believe reading aloud is equally important, and for every age. I’ve been reading to my sons since they were infants, but we’ve had to adjust our routine as their reading skills have developed. They’re both avid readers and read above their grade levels but tend to stick with what they know and like. When left to choose their own books, that’s graphic novels. Still, they’ll also pick up a random picture book I have lying around and read it — and sometimes humor me when I want to read one aloud to them. I’ve also been able to lure them to some chapter books by reading the first book in a series aloud and letting them pick it up from there.
“I look for classics or books with enduring themes for our read-alouds. We usually keep a book going at all times but devote more time to shared reading during holidays and breaks from school. With a snow day added, we had a five-day weekend during Thanksgiving and we made good use of it, finishing Richard Peck’s novel A Season of Gifts. It’s the third book in the series that begins with A Long Way from Chicago, a Newbery Honor book. I’d discovered the author by scanning the shelves near where my third-grader was looking for his current favorites, the ‘Big Nate’ novels by Lincoln Peirce.
“We had read the first book in Richard Peck’s series together in October and had grown fond of Grandma Dowdel, a no-nonsense matriarch who is as handy with a gun as she is with a rolling pin. We immediately requested book two in the series, A Year Down Yonder, which my boys thought was even better than the first one. It left us eager to read more, so we checked A Season of Gifts out of the library. This third book takes place some years after the first two, but many of the same characters remain a part of the story, as well as the children of characters we’d met in earlier books.
“This series contains stories with just the right balance of humor and poignancy to be satisfying to kids and grown-ups alike. Even better, they address themes that have led to some rich conversations among the three of us, both while reading and days later. They’re certainly entertaining — the scene about 12-year-old Bob learning to drive with Mrs. Dowdel proved to be hard to read aloud because I was laughing so much. We had a marathon reading session the day after Thanksgiving to finish the last book and get it back to the library by the due date.
“The only problem is that the next book we’ve started reading has been a bit disappointing by comparison. (I’m asking them to hang on, though, as I know the plot improves.)”
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.
I love the Richard Peck novels, but hadn’t read the third one. I will be sure to do so! I read the first two aloud when teaching fifth grade…many laughs.
Yes, more laughs to come in “A Season of Gifts.” Enjoy.