Book Review–Get to Know Your Universe series

Book Review–Get to Know Your Universe series

Occasionally, I get books in the mail (#bookexcursion) or bring books home that one of my kids will grab before I get a chance to read it. In this case, both of my children have grabbed these books and kept them from me for a while.

These Get to Know Your Universe Science Comics are right up both of my kids’ alley, so they may be good for your readers too.

*If you have a reader who likes graphic novels or comics, this series could be for them, OR

*If you have a reader who likes nonfiction, this series could be for them, OR

*If your reader asks a lot of “why?” questions, these books could work for them, OR

*If you have a reader that wants to learn more about any of the variety of topics they cover, including dogs, sharks, or volcanoes, this series could be for them.

As you are #RaisingReaders, you probably have a child that fits in at least one of these categories. My kids each fit in more than one, which explains why they disappeared from me so quickly. This series of books have the right combination of information and fun that kept both of my children reading these books over and over.

 

Words vs. Pictures

Words vs. Pictures

I’ve said for some time now that my son is a visual learner. Part of it is his way of taking a shortcut, and I think part of it is because pictures are just more appealing to him. Last night we were having a conversation about reading until we fall asleep, and using a flashlight to help us see. I’d like to share part of that conversation as a way to show how he thinks:

Son: Mom, since I’m going to read the Derek Jeter book tonight, I won’t need the flashlight.

Me: Why?

Son: Because, I only need the flashlight to look at the pictures, and this book doesn’t have any pictures.

Me (confused/amused): Honey, you need the flashlight to see the words too.

Son (adamant): No, you really need to flashlight to see the pictures. I can see the words without the flashlight.

Me: Ok child.

See what I mean? He doesn’t even see the words and pictures as equally important. Thank goodness for books/series like Captain Underpants and Big Nate, so my fight to #raisereaders isn’t as stressful. I can’t even be mad at him. He’s my one of a kind.

Patience is a virtue, even with graphic novels…

Patience is a virtue, even with graphic novels…

So, my daughter loves graphic novels, I myself have enjoyed quite a few graphic novels this summer, and I’ve already written about how I’m excited my son got into chapter books via graphic novels. However, graphic novels and I almost had to come to blows this summer.

My 6 year old son tends to be a visual learner. He loves looking at illustrations to analyze stories, checks out lots of National Geographic Kids books at the library and spends the majority of the time staring at the photos in them. All of this is fine, I recognize and love it.

However, my boy is also sort of a reluctant reader. When we go to the library, he loves picking out books, is all about them on the ride home, and occasionally even for another 30 mins or so after we get home. He also likes being read to at bedtime. However, when given choices, rarely is reading independently the one he chooses, which is starting to try my patience.

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After one of our library trips…

The initial joy about his attachment to graphic novels has turned into frustration because he won’t even try to read the words. When he first started reading graphic novels, he had just started kindergarten and hadn’t learned to read yet, so I wasn’t concerned. But now, 1st grade is coming quickly, and he left Kindergarten reading above grade level. So you would think that would inspire and motivate him to try to read the words? Nope. Nada.

“Mom, I can’t read the words!”

“Let me help you, we can read together”

“No, these words are too hard!”

Now the last thing I want to do is make him dislike reading or think its a chore, so I don’t push it, I just walk away dejected. I won’t keep him from reading graphic novels, but I also want him to read the words in the books he has. If he has books that are closer to his “level”, which would be shorter and have fewer words, then it raises the probability that he will actually read and understand them.

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On the way home, reading Dog Man. See that stray gray hair there? Yeah, he’s the root of that…

 

Recently, I have decided that there’s got to be an in-between, some sort of compromise that will make us both happy.  What I’ve decided is that I’m going to read the graphic novel to him. Why I haven’t done that sooner, I have no idea. Especially since he already enjoys rereading our bedtime story when its a picture book. Let’s cross our fingers that this plan actually works out.

Graphic novels are wonderful, and a great way to get kids, including mine, reading books. However, I’ve got to practice patience and adjust my bedtime reading with my child so that my reluctant reader doesn’t become a non-reader. Wish me luck!

#RaisingReaders

 

One of the good things about a graphic novel…

One of the good things about a graphic novel…

A couple of weeks ago, we went to my daughter’s school to their Scholastic Spring Book Fair. Because of my own addiction to books, as well as my children’s odd understanding that money grows on trees, I had warned both of them ahead of time that they were to “pick out one book, and if I feel like I like you, you might get two”.  I tell them this because in my head if they select the one book that is $20 (which they are likely to do, because they don’t even look at the prices), then they won’t be getting another, but, if they decide on one of the 50 books that are only $2.99 (which they are least likely to do), then they can get another.

‘Cause I’m a sucker, they both ended up with two books (as did I, and even Dad got one!). One of the books that my daughter got was the second book in The Babysitters Club series, The Truth About Stacey.  It’s a great series, one that I also loved as a child, but now, the books are in graphic novel format, so they look completely different.

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The good thing about this is, as with most graphic novels, they are more visually appealing, but in this case, still telling the same classic stories. The bad thing about this is, there’s a lot less text, so she was done with the book by the time she woke up in the morning! Now, we already know I was concerned about them trying to deplete my bank account, so the fact that she was done with a chapter book within 24 hours of getting it had to have me on the verge of a heart attack, right?

Actually no. Here’s the thing, although my child finished the book rather quickly, I know that’s not the last time she’ll read it. She actually picked it up again the next day. And this is not the first time she’s done this, she rereads books all the time. Weird hunh?  I mean, although graphic novels didn’t exist when I was her age, when it comes to chapter books, I was in graduate school before I read a book a second time through, and it was only because the professor made me. Now once I did it, I absolutely found the value in it and promote it all the time…at work. There are SO many benefits of rereading, too many to share, many of them you can find here. But I can’t take the credit for it at home, or can I?

I mean, do you know how many times I’ve read The LoraxBringing the Rain to Kapati Plain, or whatever that book was about Dora becoming a princess? Maybe reading the same book repeatedly had some effect? Maybe. Sorta. Hopefully.

I think it is more likely due to the fact that in this case, a graphic novel is much like a picture book, so it doesn’t feel as labor intensive when she decides to pick it up again. Either way, my hope is that she still has that habit when she’s in her graduate program and her professor makes her do it.

I’m sure, just like I’ve read the same books OVER and OVER, you’ve done the same in your quest to raise children who enjoy books. So, next time you want to roll your eyes when they pull out that book for you to read for the 100th time, go ahead and roll them, but remember, it just may establish a good reading behavior, help them out AND stretch your dollar in the long run.