Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Reading with Little Miss Muffet and Little Bo Peep, July 2016

It has really been a book-filled summer for us so far! Here are some of the highlights:
  • For the Fourth of July, we visited my mother in New York, and she had lots and lots of books waiting for us. While we were there, Little Miss Muffet enjoyed The Tub Grandfather by Pam Conrad, the Bing series by Ted Dewan, and Grandma Loves You: Stories to Share, among others, and we came home with Little Owl's Day, the final title we needed to complete our collection of Divya Srinivasan's owl books. Both Little Miss Muffet (2 years, 8 months) and Little Bo Peep (10 months) also got to visit the children's section of the library where I used to work, and it was wonderful to see everything come full circle as they played with toys and paged through board books.
  • We signed up for the summer reading program in three different local library systems, but I quickly decided not to bother participating. One system expected me to track how many minutes it takes me to read each book, which was a nightmare from day one. Another offered lots of learning tracks, but none of them had anything to do with reading. I would have been okay with early literacy tasks, but I had a hard time seeing the value in finding my local fire station or visiting with a neighbor. The third system has a fine program, but we would have finished it in a day, and I didn't want the prizes badly enough to go through the motions. I suspect we will be coming up with our own challenge in future summers. 
  • Possibly inspired by the publication of my book, Little Miss Muffet has started her own writing career. She has written and illustrated two titles so far: The Happy Deer, about a deer we saw while we were out walking, and Dear Butterfly, Happy to Meet You, about a butterfly we found by a tree, which we initially thought was injured but turned out to be fine.  
  • Little Bo Peep is starting to appreciate books as more than just tools for teething. She enjoys turning the pages of board books and I notice her dropping everything to listen when I start to read aloud and she is in the room. She really liked Leuyen Pham's illustrations for All Fall Down, which I borrowed from the library recently, and she also likes the shiny foil accents in the My First books from Little Bee Books, which I reviewed back in May.
  • Miss Muffet has many favorites these days, but the ones I have been reading most frequently are If the Dinosaurs Came Back by Bernard Most (which has inspired an interesting in learning everything there is to know about dinosaurs), the Little Miss and Little Mister books (which also came home up with us from Grandma's), and The Fourteen Bears in Summer and Winter by Evelyn Scott, which was my husband's when he was a kid.  I have also started sharing some longer easy readers with her, and she has become fond of Poppleton by Cynthia Rylant and Dodsworth in New York by Tim Egan.  When she listens to audiobooks, she often request the Frances series or Blueberries for Sal. All in all, I'm pleased with her good taste and enjoying seeing how these books influence her play.
  • The other thing we have discovered this summer is the neighborhood pool. We used a book called Signs at the Pool to help prepare Miss Muffet for following the pool rules, and I have adapted many of our favorite songs and rhymes as pool games. We have done Old Joe, Go In and Out the Window and Ring Around the Rosie in the water, and Miss Muffet has really enjoyed it. 
  • Finally, if you haven't seen it yet, I had a guest post at Pages and Margins all about the impact of books on young children. If you enjoy reading these posts each month, I think you will like what I had to say in my piece, The Influence of Books in Early Childhood

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