I guess it's time to talk about reading, since I've already covered the other two "r"s over the last two days. This is more a state-of-what-I'm-giving-the-kids-to-read report rather than a progress report, because they will (and do) read anything they can get their hands on. Which puts the burden squarely on my shoulders to make sure they've only got access to what I want them to have access to. NOT an easy task. We pretty much avoid the library, and try to only spend the briefest of times in book stores, where the access to books that are supposedly "age appropriate" are found in quantity. You know, books like Harry Potter (eek! Have you read those?!?! My kids are no where near emotionally mature enough to handle that! I barely am!).
The other aspect of all this is that if I gave them unlimited access to new reading material, there is little else that would ever get done around here. Both boys would spend the entire day reading if they had their way, especially Zoo Boy. J you could probably bribe away with the promise of a dance class....
So anyway, I only gave them each one new book a week all year long. (Of course, they have access to all of the books they have previously read too, so there's way more reading than just that going on around here.) They first read the books to themselves. Then they read them aloud to each other. So they are getting all the benefits of reading practice -- reading to themselves, listening to stories, and reading aloud. Plus the fact that they listen to a couple of stories a week (and occasional chapter books) from me as well. No lack of reading going on around here.
So J started the year finishing out the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborn. He is SO ready for "real" chapter books in terms of reading skills (in fact, he can easily read and understand material intended for adults), but since he's reading everything to his little brother, I'm trying to be careful to choose content that Zoo Boy is mature enough to handle as well. Fortunately this hasn't presented a problem, J really enjoyed the Magic Tree House books, as well as the next series that he's working on now (which I'll talk about in a couple of minutes).
Zoo Boy Started the Year with simple chapter books such as Frog and Toad and other similar books by Arnold Lobel, then moved on to the Henry and Mudge series of simple chapter books by Cynthia Rylant. J enjoyed listening to Zoo Boy read these books to him as much as The Boy enjoyed reading them. (J sort of skipped over these types of books, since his reading skills sort of went from zero to 60 in a matter of months -- although Zoo Boy was an early reader, at least his skills developed in a more typical fashion.)
Now both boys are on The Secrets of Droon series by Tony Abbott, and are loving it. Where the Magic Treehouse books had just the right touch of magic for them at the right time, the Droon books have just the right touch of fantasy. Sort of a "diluted" Harry Potter type of thing, and incredibly age-appropriate. At 2 new books a week (one for each of them, although they are carefully reading them in order), there's still enough in the series to take us into the fall. At which point I've got yet one more of these sorts of series set aside for Zoo Boy's sake (the A-Z mysteries, by Ron Roy and John Steven Gurney) and I'll have to carefully choose some regular chapter books for J. (I've got ideas for a couple dozen, so I think I'll make it through the school year OK -- in another year and half he'll be turning 11 at which point Harry Potter and the like will be appropriate, and then I'll have no end of options.) Once Zoo Boy is into real chapter books, it'll be taking them more than a day to finish a book, and my guess is there won't be so much reading aloud going on anyway.