Our favorite characters

The other night Arora was reading before bed, when I ent to tuck her in she was on the last book. It was “Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas“, she was almost to the end and was asking me about what happened. I told her I didn’t know I hadn’t read that one  yet, she then look at me and said “Mom you know Fancy Nancy!” like I had forgotten her best friend.

We have made some good friends the past few week with our ramped up reading. Here are some of our favorites:

The Francis books by Russel Hoban: I remember reading these when I was a little girl. These are at the long end for Arora’s attention span. But the messages are so sweet and  I love how Francis is always singing.

Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor: Easy enough for Arora to read alone but with fancy words through out. Arora’s favorite part is the fancy word list at the end.

The Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain: On the harder end for Arora but we love to get the videos that match the books and read the books first then watch the short cartoon.

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans: We often get Madeline as “stories” as Arora calls them. A book with a CD in it. We listen to them in the car. They often have songs and little stories in french after the book.

Do your kids have favorite book characters?


Arora’s reading chart

A while ago we read a Fancy Nancy book where they celebrated the 100th day of school. And since then Arora wants everything to be 100, or 100 more.  So then I noticed it was about 100 days before Arora birthday. So we cut a big piece of our craft paper and in bubble letters wrote “Arora’s Poster”.  Arora colored the letters in then we hung it up on the wall.

We decided we would read 100 books before her birthday and each time we would write the title of the book on the poster. I thought we would read about one book per day and finish on her birthday. But I was wrong. Arora was so excited to record the books on the poster we finished in under 3 weeks. Some times arora would sit and read 10 book at a time. We started checking out our max, 50 items, from the library each week.

In the beginning I would write the title down. Then Arora started spelling each word for me. The last three books she wrote down herself. She is so proud of having her writing on the poster.

Even though we are over 100 books Arora still wants to read and right down more books. Maybe we should get her a little journal?

One funny down side to the project was Ender wanted to help and took the pencil one day and wrote all over the wall under the poster. Smart boy. Luckily it erased fairly easily.

How do you encourage your kids to read? Have you ever made a reading poster? How often do you visit your local library?

Mr Cookie Baker

Last week we went to the public library twice. I forgot how much fun it is to find new books. One of the ones we checked out is called Mr Cookie Baker. The words are simple enough for Arora to read the the pictures are well done. My favorite part of the book is that it includes four of Mr Cookie Baker’s recipes.

So far we have tried two of them, Sugar and Oatmeal. The sugar cookies were good Arora and her cousins had a good time frosting and decorating them.

The oatmeal cookies were the best oatmeal cookies I had ever made. Here is the recipe:

1/2 cup butter

1 C brown sugar

1 egg

1 TBS milk

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup flour (we used whole wheat)

1 cup oats

1/2 cup raisins ( we used 1 cup chocolate covered raisins. yum!)

heat oven to 350

cream butter and sugar. Mix in egg and milk. then mix in spices and flour. Add oatmeal and then raisins. Drop on cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes.

I found these to be super soft, almost crumbly soft, which is the way I like my cookies. The chocolate covered raisins were a great addition because the chocolate melted into the cookie dough.

Reading is fun

I have been meaning to announce on here for a while that Arora is reading. Really. Not just retelling books she has memorized.  She had been on the verge of reading for a while but I didn’t know how much she was just repeating what David and I had read to her. Then in the first week of October we checked out a book called Biscuit Makes a Friend by Alyssa Capucilli from our local library. I read it to her half a dozen times. Then one day I was nursing Ender and I heard her reading the book in the other room. She said almost every word right. I was fairly sure she could not have memorized it after only hearing it a few times. But maybe she had. Then a week or so later we checked out this bookGo Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley, I read it to her once, I tell you once, and then she read it back to me. She was so proud of herself. We painted her pumpkin this year with a big green monster to remember this special event. What really brought it home to me that my not-yet-three-year-old was reading was when my sister came over just after Halloween and Arora read her a book she had never seen before. At that moment I was beaming, so proud of her.  Amazed with her desire to learn and her ability to comprehend.

Since then we have had it a priority to go to the library every week. We love the librarians who do Story Time.  We check out lots of books and spend time reading everyday, multiple times a day. Most of the time I read aloud. Some times we read it together, she reads one page and I read the next. Or she will pick a few words to read throughout the book (“I know, Arora will read all the woof, quacks and Biscuits!”) Some times she reads to me, or by herself.

When she reads aloud she misses some words or replaces a word for what she thinks it will say, such as tree for three. But I do that too.  She continues to surprise me. When we were baking bread today she said “Next we need the nonfat dry milk mommy.” She read the recipe card.

So I will keep reading and keep reading, with my little Matilda.* How have you encouraged a love of reading in your children? Do you remember when you started reading?

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library

first birthday with "Sleepy Bear"

When we lived in Rexburg Idaho Arora was able to participate in a wonderful program. Madison school district was affiliated with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Every child under the age of 5 living in Madison county could enroll in the program. I simply went to the school district office and filled out a form and I think showed some mail to prove we lived in the county. Then, every month, Arora would receive a new age-appropriate book in the mail. I know that this helped inspire a love of books in her.

A good friend of mine reports her children have 79 books from the program. Lets say that each book would have cost $10 to purchase. That is $790 worth of books! I wish we still lived in a place with this amazing program. You can visit the website to see areas where the program is, and how to enroll your community in the program.

Arora’s first favorite book came from this program, Wake Up Sleepy Bear by Christine Morton-Shaw. We would read it and read it and read it. Until one day I had to hide it because I could not read it one more time. Then she moved on to another book. This was when she was less then a year old.

There was a study done the showed that children with 500 or more books in their home had on average 3 more years of schooling then children with no or very few books. The act of reading and seeing others read has a huge impact on children.

The Gingerbread Man

We have copy of “The Gingerbread Man” that Arora has been quite enamored with lately. So I decided to have us make some gingerbread cookies. The recipe we used was not great, really dry and crisp. Arora didn’t mind and has been snaking on them for a few days. She also is very insistent on everything having two eyes, a nose and a mouth. So this was a good activity for her.