Friday, January 5, 2018

The RAHK Report for 1/5/18

For the past several weeks, with our Christmas tree taking up most of the living room, the girls have not had access to the usual baskets of books that are typically available when that space is free. They have had access to one basket, which was filled with Christmas books and has now been filled with our books about the Epiphany and our winter books. So the reading lists for all three are a bit shorter than usual. But here is what everybody is currently enjoying.

Family Read-Alouds

  • New Year's Day by Aliki
    We read this just ahead of the new year. It's a good overview of how (and when) different cultures celebrate the new year and a nice introduction to the concept of a new year in general. I also love the illustrations. 
  • The Racketty-Packetty House by Frances Hodgson Burnett
    I read and reviewed this book last year, and kept it in mind when I was compiling my mental list of short chapter book read-alouds of interest to preschoolers. This isn't divided into chapters, but the way it is formatted and illustrated lends itself to good natural stopping points, so we've been doing one little section each day. So far, the book has prompted Miss Muffet to ask, "Does Baby Robin come alive when I'm not looking?" and "If I hide, could I see the dolls moving?" I figure we'll read it again in a few years so she can appreciate the message more deeply. 

Little Miss Muffet (4 years, 1 month)

  • Amahl and the Night Visitors, adapted by Frances Frost, illustrated by Roger Duvoisin
    Miss Muffet is listening to me read this book, and also watching the 1978 film production of the opera on YouTube. We read a little and then watch a little. If our day goes according to plan, we'll be finishing today. I don't think she understands every single thing that happens, but since I want to make this a bit of an Epiphany tradition, I think this was a good year to start it. 
  • Betsy's Little Star by Carolyn Haywood
    This was one of my favorite books as a kid, and my husband recently found a hardcover at a used booksale. At first, Miss Muffet didn't want to read it because it "looks like a grown-up book" but then she found out that Star, the main character, is four, and suddenly she was hooked. She's more than halfway through the book now, and she can retell every moment of the story down to the tiniest detail. I'm thrilled that she likes Haywood, because we have bought quite a few of her books.

Miss Muffet has also been working on memorizing and reciting poems. Her current poem is Holding Hands by Lenore M. Link, which we found in both Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Ferris and The Random House Book of Poetry.

Little Bo Peep (2 years, 3 months)

Bo Peep occasionally has the attention span to sit for a whole stack of stories, but not lately. Lots of books she abandons at the halfway point, either to "read" on her own or to go and terrorize one of her sisters. I have been able to get her to listen to Prayer for a Child by Rachel Field a handful of times at bedtime, and she also happily flips through certain titles on her own, including Richard Scarry's Best Storybook Ever (she loves to hold all the pages in her hand and then flip until her hand is empty), Secrets of Winter: A Shine-a-Light Book (any excuse to hold a flashlight!), and The Snowman by Raymond Briggs (which is wordless, so she looks at the picture while singing, for some reason, The Huron Carol.)

Little Jumping Joan (2.5 months)

Finally, my littlest reader received the Indestructible book version of Hey Diddle Diddle for Christmas, which she seems to like. I'm still not doing a whole lot of reading with her because she's not ready to look at pictures for too long, but we have been reciting a ton of nursery rhymes and she is really attentive to me when she suddenly hears me speaking in rhythm and rhyme.

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