Our Kids Go Back-to-School
To continue this week’s back-to-school theme today, those of us with school aged children share their experiences with summer reading and what books they were reading as they prepared for their big first days back to school. And if you missed Tuesday’s post check it out for book recommendations on hot topics for various grade levels, along with links to helpful resources like study guides, classroom lesson plans, apps and websites.
Getting our family ready for the first day of school was an equal mix of nerves & excitement (see photos). Since the boys are entering first and second grade, we didn’t focus on ‘back to school’ books as much as ones that were appropriate for their reading levels.
Emerson spent the week before school finishing up Invisible Stanley. The book he chose for completing the summer reading program at our library. He realized early in the summer that he can read chapter books on his own with Junie B Jones and a Little Monkey Business. It is so fun to see him grow as a reader.
Lucas was hard at work finishing up his summer challenge set by us so he could get a few fish and a tank for their bedroom. It was a mix of workbooks & reading. One of his workbooks was The Sylvan Fun on the Run First Grade Word Puzzles. The maze crazy puzzles were his favorite. He also enjoyed I Like Fish, a Margaret Wise Brown reissue coming out in the spring of 2014 as a Step Into Reading.
In August my one-year old strapped on her new backpack filled with school supplies and bravely ventured off to her first day of pre-preschool. Her teacher assured me that she stopped screaming bloody murder right after I walked out of the classroom – I think I’m still recovering. We prepared by reading a few of Mia’s new favorite board books. Open the Barn Door, Find a Cow is a fun way to practice animal sounds, which is a really important one year old skill, and it also has some pretty intriguing flaps. Grow Up! is part of an adorable series by Nina Laden and fitting for the occasion, and this oversized version of Pat the Bunny keeps her busy with so many exciting things to touch and feel.
Summer reading really had a lot of promise this year. The Seattle Public Library ran a great summer reading program where any kid who read 10 books would be entered in a contest to win breakfast at the restaurant at the top of the Space Needle. It was motivating, but for how long? Well, let’s put it this way: one out of three read the 10 required books. The good news is that it was my youngest boy, who, much to his frustration, is a bit behind his twin sister in reading. They just entered first grade (today!) and while Ruby can read a picture book fairly fluently, Ezra is still struggling with words that need to be sounded out.
My oldest, who just started 6th grade, did not finish a single book. But I’m willing to place blame where blame is due: myself. I want Levi to be my middle grade reader. I want him to love what I loved at his age, read the books I’m reading now. More importantly, I want him to read what I don’t want to read so he can help me with my job! But that’s just not Levi. He reads video game guides and graphic novels. He loves Skylanders and Minecraft. So as I was browsing the Random House adult catalogs the other day I came across a biography of the man who created Minecraft. I decided to see if he’d like it. I downloaded the manuscript for him and handed it to him before bed. The next day he admitted he stayed up late into the night reading and had gotten through 20% of the book. This is not a book aimed at his age group, but it’s certainly subject matter he’s interested in!
So as we begin school, Ezra’s reading Ten Eggs in a Nest (a new Beginner Book for Spring with a great math tie-in, available in January), Ruby is learning the Pledge of Allegiance in Pat Mora’s new book about gaining US citizenship (out next April), and Levi is honing his Minecraft trivia. Here’s to a new year (and L’shana Tova to those celebrating the Jewish New Year today as well)!
We’d love to know what your kids read to get psyched about going back to school. Here’s to a great school year for all!