A reading breakthrough!

Eve has had a reading breakthrough recently! I am so excited! Her exact skill level has been up for debate (between Alan and I, anyway) but was un-testable because she was pretty uninterested in reading. She read sometimes, mostly for Alan, but not with any regularity. Lately however, she has been reading with gusto!!

They started reading groups in school two weeks ago and she is very excited about that. She comes home and tells me all about who is in her group and what they read. Today she told me that in her book at school was the words “very” and then another one “kind of slanted” (italics). I started to explain what that meant, but she stopped me and told me how she read it in class. I don’t really know how to write it here, but she read it as “very, very” very (regular), very (emphasized)! She said her teacher was surprised that she knew what that meant and stopped to explain to the other kids.

reading group p1

Each day she brings home a picture and a sentence that she wrote from reading group. This one says “Bears eat fish and berr.” I asked her what “berr” was and she said she forgot to write the rest of berries. :)

reading group p2

“Bella and Rosie brot sunglasses to the beach.”

Along with the reading has come a big step in writing. She is much more apt to write now, and sound out her words. Sometimes the spelling is correct, sometimes not, but she’s trying! Which is huge!

doodle pro

On our snowless-snow day last week I wrote a message on the Doodle Pro saying, “Snow, snow, where did you go?” On the very snowy next day, Eve wrote this: “Happy Sadrday. There is snno every where.” With a picture of a house and a sun and a rainbow and snow balls.

She reads to me at bedtime quite often now, and she reads very well! She reads books I didn’t know she could read. One night we were reading Truckery Rhymes (a silly poetry book) and she started off saying she would read every other poem, but then she got excited and insisted on reading every poem! She read an entire “Little Bear” book to Alan the other night. Tonight I was reading her a chapter book and several times I stopped and asked her where I was and she always pointed to the exact word I ended on. She’s reading right along!


These are Lex’s spelling words. He is supposed to write each one three times, but he never does. Each Monday we go through the list and he spells them all correctly so he doesn’t bother with the practice. With Eve’s new burst in reading she is getting in on the spelling game too. Now on Mondays after school she reads him his spelling words (with my help when she needs it) and he spells them. I LOVE IT!

I’m super excited by this. Reading is kind of a big deal in our house, in case you haven’t noticed. We do a lot of it! :)

Real quick…

I’ve been working full-time lately! I just finished my 4th day as the art teacher at school.  It’s fun, but this working full-time thing is for the birds! Here is a quicky of what we’ve been up to:

  • Lex started swimming in the big pool today! Two of his classmates have their lessons in that pool and today he joined them. I’m super excited that he got over his fear of the big pool because he is a great swimmer and the big pool is necessary for continued development. Today he took the plunge and loved it!
  • Eve has started reading to me! I’m so excited! She read all of Runaway Bunny last night, and Hop on Pop, and Freddie and Flossie books. She caught on recently that if she reads to me she gets to stay up a lot later. :) I’ll take it!
  • Alan is prepping for his hernia surgery next week. Logistics are difficult, but it will happen and we’ll all be happy when it’s over. I’m secretly looking forward to a few forced days at home to take care of him.
  • I have decided to apply to the Upper Valley Educators Institute and get my teaching certificate!! I’m really enjoying substituting (some classes more than others, of course!) and the more I think about it the more teaching feels right to me. If all goes well I’ll start in August.

That’s it for now. I’m not working tomorrow, but I am spending the morning with my volunteer family and trying to figure out which of the six things that need be done can I fit into the afternoon before picking up the kids.  Working again Friday for a few hours.  Life is busy, but good!

No more reading at the table

A week or two ago, on a whim, I declared a “no reading at the table” rule. For those of you who know my house, this is a big change. A big change for Lex and I anyway. He was not happy. I was a little uncertain in my declaration, but I wanted to give it a try. Guess what? It has been a stellar success! (So far.)

I made the rule because he grabs a book for every meal and completely tunes out the world. He eats very messily, doesn’t pay attention to what he’s doing, doesn’t pay attention to us, and then sits at the table, completely spaced out, and reads until someone takes the book away. Two weeks ago he started coming home with a homework assignment to read for 20 minutes a night and write two sentences. I figured this would be a piece of cake for him but he continually insists that he doesn’t remember what he reads. That was the final straw. Making a mess, spacing out, and not even remembering? Not worth it!

Now he doesn’t read nearly as much, but he has better table manners and participates in the discussion and is generally a much more pleasant person to dine with. Yay!

The downside, for me, is that I also like to read at the table! Sometimes I sneak it in when no one is around, but I’m trying to break myself of the habit as well. I find myself much more attentive to the kids and participating more in the conversation, particularly with Eve, when I don’t have a magazine in front of me taking up 80% of my attention. My magazine pile is suffering, but the rest of us are doing fine! :)


Eve read to me last night! She reads with Alan and he insists she’s a good reader, but she never reads to me. Recently I found a big (195 pages!) Dick and Jane book that someone had given us years ago when Lex was young. It got very little use as his reading skills were already well beyond Dick and Jane. I pulled it off the shelf thinking maybe Eve would like it.

Last night she wanted me to read a really stupid Barbie book, so I agreed on the condition that she read a story to me next. Surprisingly, she agreed! I read Barbie: Pet Vet (gag!) and she read 30 pages of Dick and Jane, which is equally dull really, but exciting because she read it to me! :) She reads with great emotion and gusto as well. I was thrilled! She kept saying, “This is so easy!” and really, it was.

Yay Eve! Coincidentally I found out this morning that her teacher is doing reading testing today. Maybe I’ll ask for an update, just for my own curiosity.

Hop On Pop, by Dr. Seuss

After Eve’s bath I settled on the floor with a comb and asked her to join me. She hasn’t had a bath in a few days (don’t get me started!) and therefore hasn’t had her hair combed in awhile. I grabbed Hop On Pop and she settled in. Much to my surprise a) she didn’t whine about getting her hair combed and b) she READ the book! She started as mumbles under her breath and slowly got louder and louder until she was reading a regular volume. I didn’t say a word. She sounded out the words when she got stuck, stopped and started again when necessary, and really worked on it! It’s so hard to judge (for lack of a better word, not that I’m judging) her reading skills because she always gets coy or obstinate when you ask her to read out loud. Apparently she reads for Alan sometimes, but never for me. Tonight I didn’t say a word she just settled in, picked up the book I had chosen, and started reading! I loved hearing her read and seeing her really trying to read. She got about half way through the book and by that time I was done combing her hair and Lex was out of the bath and bouncing around nearby, so she gave up and asked me to finish. I think she was too distracted and to “on the spot” since Lex and I were both paying attention to her. I’m so proud of her!

Book purge

Tonight I casually started purging our kid book collection and ended up spending over two hours on it!! Once you get started you can’t stop or else the kids will get up in the morning and put all the nicely divided piles back on the shelf :) While Eve was in the tub I went through the bookshelf in their room. She got out of the tub and asked me “Who is stacking books?” I told her I was just putting some books “away for awhile.” She fussed, but then when she went looking for a bedtime book she got super excited about finding Madeline. “Look Mommy! Madeline! Oh I’m so happy! We have been missing Madeline for so long, where did you find this book?!?” On the shelf, silly girl. It was nice, immediate, validation that purging the bookshelves is the right thing to do.

I now have two large bags of books to quietly bring to the library, two more bags that the library probably won’t take but hopefully someone on Freecycle will, and one large bag that I’ll need to quietly put into the recycling pile.

I hope the kids wake up and marvel at their spacious, beautiful bookshelves and don’t ask where all the old, junky books went! :)


Eve read me two little Biscuit books tonight! She likes to show off her reading skills to Alan but I rarely get to see them. She told me she would have to use her brain for some of the words and “really think on them.” She is such a smarty! :)

You Otter-be reading

Smart Lex
As part of “Screen Turn Off Week” this week, Lex’s school is doing a reading challenge. For each block of time spent reading (15m for the lower grades, 30m for the upper grades) the kids earn an “otter” (their mascot). The class with the most otters by the end of the week earns a special treat. The kid in each individual class with the most otters will also get recognition. Lex has been pretty uninterested in this challenge, but I’ve been writing down the time he reads and he submits it at school each morning. He was telling Alan about it tonight and Alan asked how many otters his class has. 52 so far (tomorrow is the last day). Then Alan asked how many otters Lex personally has. Lex did some counting in his head and came up with 24. 24! That’s almost half the total for the class! I made sure to tell him that he may be receiving some sort of recognition tomorrow. I’ll try to get the final count from him tomorrow and let you know :)

The best part is that he totally doesn’t care about this challenge. His reading habits haven’t changed and he reads because he likes to read. Special prize or not, he likes to read. I love it!

Update – 5/7/11 – Lex came home with a little wooden picture frame to color, his prize for reading the most this week. He also came home with a free book. He said that all seven kids who brought in reading slips this week got a free book. All seven kids! Out of nineteen. Sad.

Funny Lex
At dinner tonight I noticed the variety of fruits and veggies on Lex’s plate and said, “What a beautiful, colorful plate you have Lex. Are you going to eat any of it?” Without hesitation he said, “Sure, I’ll eat the plate!” and leaned over and started chomping playfully on his plate! Laughter ensued! I really wanted a picture because he looked so funny, but he protested. When Alan suggested they pose together Lex thought that was funny enough to warrant a photo. I agree!

plate eating


Secret reader

I think Eve is a secret reader. I don’t know why she’s so shy about it, but sometimes she lets loose and reads an entire book (Go Dog Go, or most of Green Eggs and Ham), but then other times she refuses to read even the simplest words. It’s exciting to see her learning, but frustrating that she doesn’t seem more excited. I think she’s just being silly, but you never can tell with that one. I hope she becomes proud of her reading skills soon. We are all proud of her!