We have loved each book in this Utensils series, so we were looking forward to the last one of the trio–Straw written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Scott Magoon. In the previous books, we learned about teamwork and individuality, what could we learn from the straw?
With my kids starting back to school AND increasing their independence since they are learning remotely, this was a very timely book to read at bedtime. Not to give it all away, but Straw, who liked to be first all the time, had some really smart friends that were trying to convince him that that wasn’t always a good thing. Rosenthal did a wonderful job of teaching us a lesson that not everything needs to be done quickly.
Although we are sad to see the series end, Spoon, Chopsticks, and Straw are characters I will be referring to for years to come.
You can read our thoughts about the other books in the series here.
Four years ago I wrote about this awesome journal I found for kids, partly in the hopes that a decade or two in the future my kids would look back on them and enjoy reading about their thoughts as kids. I was wrong. It only took them 4 years to find their initial entries hilarious.
They spent a good 45 minutes before bed CRACKING EACH OTHER UP, going through their old drawings and responses. As much as I wanted them to go to sleep (let’s be honest, I wanted to go to sleep), the sound of them 1) getting along and 2) laughing together was just enough for me to only interrupt to take their picture.
This journal has now exceeded my expectations, so I wanted to make sure I share the original blog post here, that includes where it can be purchased.
Me and audiobooks have a love/hate relationship. I love the idea of them and believe that they are the same as reading the actual book…but I am not an avid audiobook listener. I don’t have a long commute to work (with or without a pandemic) or really any sort of long stretch of time that I can listen to a book, but I’ve tried. Luckily the last two times I tried to listen to audiobooks, I actually had hard copies of the book. I can usually get about three-fourths of the way through an audiobook, and then I get real impatient, grab the book, and finish reading it myself. However, the story is very different when it comes to my children…
Both my kids are all about audiobooks, I’ve even written about our previous experiences here and here. Just this week, my daughter decided to listen to an audiobook of Echo Mountain, a book she had tried to read last month but ended up abandoning, and now she’s all about it. She told me, “I think the book was confusing, but listening to it made it better. I might go back and try to read the book again after I finish.” Listening to the book was a great way for her to read a book that she previously thought was too difficult for her.
My son is currently listening to books from the Wayside School series. He told me this evening, “I think the reason I haven’t been falling asleep as fast as I used to is because I’m listening to the book. I can’t stop listening, ’cause they’re so interesting.” Audiobooks are a great opportunity for him to reread books and really increase his comprehension.
So as much as I can’t personally find the time or patience to listen to audiobooks, they are a perfect option for my kids to read and experience more books. If you haven’t introduced your readers to audiobooks, you might want to give it a try!
I took this quote from my Twitter friend and author, @Jarrett_Lerner, and it resonated with me. Whether the books are from a Little Free Library, your local bookstore, garage sales, Goodwill, or hand-me-downs from your own childhood it doesn’t matter. Having books for your child at their disposal gives them another option when they’re “bored”, an opportunity to practice their own reading, a chance to revisit characters and stories that they loved.
So for the last couple of summers, my kids and I have read a chapter book together for our summer #bedtimereads. Last summer we enjoyed The Last-Last Day of Summer and previously we read a book from the Ramona Quimby series. I really enjoy the change from picture books, and because its summer, bedtime isn’t that big of an issue, so reading an extra chapter or two isn’t that big of a deal.
This summer however, we were on the struggle bus when it came to finishing a chapter book. I don’t know if it was because of the pandemic or because we had already read a chapter book during quarantine or what, but I even tried starting a chapter book that I thought they would enjoy and we abandoned it after the first chapter.
Next, I chose a book that had been recommended to me based on a different read aloud we had recently enjoyed–Holes. 24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusty Bowling was one I figured would be in a shoe-in because one–both my daughter and I have read other books by her and adored them, and two– the three of us loved the adventure piece of Holes. So we started 24 Hours in Nowhere, a novel whose chapters are organized by hours, so as you may have guessed from the title–there are 24 chapters. After 4 or 5 chapters they seemed interested, sorta, but I wasn’t sure and I wasn’t getting the pleas for “one more chapter pleeeease” that I usually get with our read alouds. So after about a week or so, I was ready to give up.
However, here’s where things change. One night as we were getting ready for bed, my son says, “we need to keep reading that book we were reading”…and that was all it took. I picked it back up that evening, and the chapter I started with was HILARIOUS (who knew bat poop could be funny) and at the end of that chapter what did I hear? “You have to read one more!” from both children, and so that night I did, and quite a few more nights I did, and we finally finished and enjoyed a chapter book this summer–Whew!
I share this story for a couple of reasons, particularly if you and your kids have ever been in a reading rut. First, as adamant as I am about raising readers through reading to my own children, even we have pockets of time where we struggle to keep our reading routines, and that’s ok. Second, I almost abandoned a book too quickly! Not every book is for every body, but I should’ve trusted the recommendation and my history with the author and continued on.
Now we’re back to picture books for the moment, but I’ll let you know when we start our next chapter book bedtime read!