I am finally really reading the book, The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease, and it has change my perspective on reading aloud. We now read aloud daily, for hours. Literally. And I plan on continuing this trend indefinitely. Even though I feel positive it still too early to see any results from this changed schedule, other than my voice sounding like it is about to give out at the end of the day, I am starting to wonder if improvement may indeed already be noticeable.
My little one used the word "explosive" this morning. He is a boy and he was referring to something analogous to bathroom humor. But, I was pleased to hear him use "explode" in the adjective form. And my daughter, who is THE reader, is reading more these days. Yes, even more than the hours I spend each day reading a loud to her.
We finished reading Charlotte's Web by E.B. White this week and are half way through The Best School Year Ever by Barbara Robinson. We read a lot at meal time. Because I eat much more quickly than the kids, and tend to finish sooner, we are able to use the time between the point at which I finish my meal and the distant point at which the kids finish theirs, to read aloud. Reading aloud doesn't make them eat any faster, but sometimes it does entice them to eat more of what is on their plate.
So far, the kids love my reading aloud. We read chapter books as well as picture books. We read after meals, in the afternoon when I am feeling too tired to accomplish other things, and before lights out. If you are interested in all the academic and life long benefits of reading aloud to children, please read this book. I do hope that in the end some of the positives Jim Trelease identifies in his book rub off on my children.
Now, onto other more literary and less literary topics.
I guess we'll begin with the more literary topics. D is beginning to pick up his reading schedule. Here he is reading from a set of Bob books and I don't remember which set. These aren't my favorites, but he things they are fun.
D is also really reading our early reader biome readers from Waseca. Please take a moment though, and just look at those chubby baby feet!
D is also spelling. I am not sure why he didn't put "bee" since he has spelled this word in the past, but here he was following along with our silent "e" long vowel sound lesson. He also spelled: name, line, sale, robot (he had learned another open-syllable rule to spell this one,) line, bone, and a bunch of other words I am not remembering right now. He was so excited to be included in a "big-kid" lesson.
He can't spell as quickly as T or S, but he will probably become a better speller than his siblings.
We take our spelling lessons from All About Spelling. We are about a third of the way through level 2.
These drawings were a result of our Story of the World reading. This is a bunch of rice chasing Anansi the spider. This illustration was inspired by the Ancient Africa chapter and the story of Anansi the Spider and the Imaginary food.
In a nut shell, Anansi is starving in his African village and goes in search of food in the desert. He comes upon a cassava village where everyone is a cassava root. They say, "we'll cook ourselves so you can eat us." Just as Anansi is going to eat the cooked cassava, he sees in the distance a plume of smoke and asks the cassava what that is. They say it is the plantain village and so Anansi, who loves plantains more than cassava, goes in search of that village. He comes to the plantain village and they beg him to eat them. Before he eats the plantains he notices another plume of smoke and the plantains tell him it is the rice village. So, Anansi goes in search of the rice he desires to eat even more than plantains. When he gets to the rice village and is about to eat the rice, he sees another plume of smoke and asks who lives in that village. The rice say that they do not know, but Anansi departs anyway in hopes that it is a food much better than the rice he loves to eat. In the end, he ends up in his old village, with nothing to eat and can never again find the cassava village, the plantain village, or the rice village. The moral of course is that you should eat what you are given.
The kids all drew pictures of the Anansi in the rice village. T drew the first picture of rice people chasing Anansi imploring him to eat them.
D decided that the rice people needed houses and they would all be boiled in a large pot.
S also drew a pot and rice people chasing after Anansi yelling to him that he should eat them.
These illustrations were an interesting spontaneous work. Since this day, they have been asking for more books about Anansi. But alas, our library stinks and the four books about Anansi's adventures were all checked out when last I looked!! (I could have just as easily used another word there in place of "stinks." S and I were reviewing synonyms today and I could have used one here. Hint: it rhymes with "pucks.") Anyway, I have them on hold so maybe the librarian will be able to get his/her hands one of them for me.
Here, S is practicing her cursive handwriting. Her handwriting is okay, it is really her troubled spelling that makes her writing confusing. Still, there are a few symbols she needs to work on, like M and N. This book is mostly a relaxing activity for her, and I find myself reminding her that she has already developed a handwriting style and that she need only review forming a couple of letters.
S and D are using the New American Cursive Handwriting book 1. I've decided that T is past this stage and his handwriting is just what his handwriting is. For the record, he prints, though he can write in cursive.
We are back to the Challenge Math by Edward Zaccaro. The first chapter was super easy and fun for him. The second chapter dealt with converting units of measure and this posed a bit more of a challenge for T.
He still has a lot of difficulty articulating his processes. He has the numbers in his head, but they never come out of his mouth. When he comes up with an answer that is incorrect it is difficult for me to understand where he went wrong because I can't follow his process. I plan to continue to work on the narration aspect of word problems. Who knew that narration would be a vital part of math word problems?
This is how S figured out she knew how, or rather remembered how, to add and subtract fractions with like denominators that result in sums and differences of less than 1. She simply took the card, 1/2 +1/2 and said, "oh, that is a whole."
D finished dynamic multiplication on the stamp game. He was very excited about this.
T is working to finish up this division stuff. The album suggests that the child finish this work by the age of 8. Well, T is almost 10. (And no, he doesn't like the fiddly beads.) We will get there...we will get there.
On the flip side of the age range, D began division today. I made a mistake and thought that ninja division was first up. Nope, regular golden bead division is first up. So we did that, WITH unit ninja guys. Here, D is dividing 2,884 by 2. He collected the golden beads that comprise the dividend, or the amount we are to divide up. Then he set up two green mats, and two green unit ninjas to represent his divisor, or the number by which he will divide his dividend.
Then he distributed his 2,884 golden beads among his two unit ninjas, starting with his largest category, the thousand cubes.
He found that a single ninja received 1,442 golden beads and consequently, 2,884 divided by 2 is 1,442.
Later we explored exchanging and remainders.
Here we began with 6 thousands, 5 hundreds, 3 tens and 2 units and D divided these golden beads among three unit ninjas.
After each ninja received two thousand cubes, as you can see in the shot above, D realized that he had only enough hundred squares to give each ninja one. The rule is that everyone must receive the same amount. One ninja may not receive two hundred squares while another ninja receives only one.There were two extra hundred squares and he exchanged them for a smaller category to continue his distribution. He exchanged the two extra hundred squares for 20 ten bars (10 ten bars for each hundred square) and then began to distribute the ten bars. He figured out that he would have 2 ten bars left over after each green unit ninja received 7 and he then exchanged these two ten bars for 20 unit beads. Then he continued his distribution. In the end, each unit ninja received 2, 177 beads and there was one bead left over. I told him that the one bead we had left over was our remainder.
I think we will be practicing this for a bit before moving on to real ninja division.
We also did a small bit of polygon and angle review today. I plan to review most of what we learned last fall before moving on to more geometry topics.
D likes to get in on the geometry stick action.