Monday, April 9, 2012

Stay-cation, The Hunger Games and My Life as a Reader

 On our list of things to do this week was to go see The Hunger Games. I love that Timmy read the book in two days and that a book can capture his attention. Ryan did not read it, but could tell you all about it because of Timmy and other friends talking about it. Ryan's attitude is still, "Why read the book when I could see the movie?" It's a challenge to get Ryan to read, to find that "just right book." It can't be too long, short chapters always help, larger type is always helpful as well. If the type is too small and too many words on the page, it doesn't matter how good of a story it is, dormant readers won't read it. 

We were a little disappointed that it wasn't in the IMAX theater. I didn't realize it was only there for a week. But waiting a week to see it wasn't so bad because we were the only ones in the theater at first. The picture is dark below, but those are the boys trying to pick out a seat. Two other groups did come in after us, but that was it. 

I do have to say that they did a pretty good job of editing the scary scenes. The camera was jumping around so much that you really didn't see what was happening. Obviously, as a mom, I was concerned about the violence. The whole concept of fighting to the death for these young readers and viewers is a concern. That's why I think it's good to read what your kids are reading because you can then talk about the books together. After reading The Hunger Games, Timmy and I talked about another book we read, Hilter Youth.

This is a non-fiction book about what it was like to grow up in Germany during Hitler's reign. If you were a kid in Germany at the time, when you reached a certain age, you had to join Hilter Youth. "I begin with the young," said Hilter. "We older ones are used up...But my magnificent youngsters! Are there finer ones anywhere in the world? Look at all these men and boys! What material! With them I can make a new world." Timmy and I talked about governments using the youth. We talked about the careers in The Hunger Games that worked all their lives toward being a tribute in the Hunger Games and bringing honor to their district if they won. We talked about how most of the children didn't see it that way. We talked about how some of the Hitler Youth "devoted their energy and passion" to the organization and then there were other children that did not want to join.

I still wonder what it is about The Hunger Games that draws so many people to read it across all ages. Ryan says that he will read it now since he has seen the movie. Will it be the same experience as reading the book first? No, probably not, but if he reads it and then he reads the next one in the trilogy, he is reading, and that is my goal.

Right now I am reading Witch and Wizard by James Patterson. I picked this one up at the school book fair, again with Ryan in mind. It's got that same concept as The Hunger Games, young teenagers against the government. The reviews are mixed on Amazon for the book but again, I'm trying to keep Ryan, a dormant reader in mind. It's got short chapters, only 2 or 3 pages, which always gives the reader a sense of accomplishment. "Hey, mom, I just read five chapters!" 

Even though this week was spring  break and I tried to get some fun things in with the kids since we didn't go away, there were things on my "to-do" list that I wanted to get done. I still had piles of "stuff" sitting in my room left over from Molly's room makeover that needed to be sorted through. I had piles of books from Molly's room that we sorted through. She kept her favorites in her room and the rest were then moved down to the basement. 

After re-doing the boys closet back in January and now Molly's room, the books that have been moved to the basement had become disorganized. We have an air-hockey table in front of it and it sometimes becomes the dumping ground for "stuff." 

So the four kids and I went into the basement to organize the piles of books. I told them to make piles by authors' last names. They were on the floor and they busily started making their piles alphabetically. As we all started sorting through our books I noticed a wonderful thing start to happen. It was the same experience you get when you open a photo album. The kids and I were taking a walk down memory lane. I started to hear, "Mom, I remember this book. This was one of my favorites!"

While we were sorting, I noticed that Ryan was reading this book.

Then Molly noticed all her favorite Tacky books.

And then all her Piggie and Elephant books... Molly loves these books. I didn't at first see the value in these books for my little girl who was on the verge of reading chapter books at the time but then one night we were reading in bed together and I got it! Molly asked me to read all the Elephant parts and she would read all the Piggie parts. She was learning dialogue. She also was reading with great expression. She knew when to read with excitement and when to sound sad. These books were so much fun to read aloud together and I learned that from Molly.

Then Shannon found a Winnie the Pooh book and asked if she was too old to read it. You are never too old for Winnie the Pooh and so a book that was in her room years ago is now back on her book self. 

She also found this old copy of Black Beauty. This book was from when I was a kid and I remember my mother reading it aloud to us one summer. Shannon said that she remembers looking through the book when she was younger and only looking at the pictures. That book is now back in her room.

I also found myself looking at the books and remembering my childhood. Not only did I remember the summer that my mother read Black Beauty to us, but I remember when I was little and my mom reading The Little Engine That Could at bedtime. 

I remember her reading The Little Red Hen over and over.
This was one of my favorites..."Not I, said the Duck, Not I, said the Goose, Not I, said the Cat, Not I, said the Pig. Then I will just do it myself said the Hen. And she did!"

I also remembered reading The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. I always was drawn to books and TV shows with big families. I thought that there was always so much excitement in their families. There never seemed to be a dull moment in their house and there always was someone getting into trouble or some kind of mischief. But the sisters and brothers always seemed to be there for one another in times when they were needed.

One by one my helpers seemed to disappear. I finally turned around from the book shelf and this is what I found. Four kids with books in their hands. I had lost my helpers to books, but I didn't seem to mind. When I look at them reading, I wonder what their memories of reading will be? We all have a "Life as a Reader," a timeline if you will of our reading life...favorite books that our parents read aloud, favorite books that teachers read aloud, the first time you read a favorite book, maybe the second and third time you read it, books fairs at school, library visits, monthly scholastic book orders, friends that recommend books, your first chapter book. These are all part of our "Life as a Reader." In ten or twenty years from now, what will their memories of reading books be as a child? I wonder.

 Our reorganized book shelf.


  1. I need you to come and help me organize but i do have to say my kids also read everynight before they go to sleep anthony read all 3 hunger game books in school during his free period and has read all 13 books in the pendragon series the book are very thick and he would read and finish a book in 3 days he would sometimes be up until 11:30 and we finally have to tell him shut you light and go to sleep you have to get up for school I really dont get to read for myself we listen to ashleigh read to us. but am very happy that they do read a lot. timmy should try the pendragon series cody read them and has some of the books the ones he didnt have we took out from the library. seeing the hunger games is on the list of things to do this week while they are off mike took him last week but it was so crowded the only seats left were the first 2 rows they didnt want to sit that long so close.

  2. Lisa, that is great that they love to read. That will hopefully follow them into adulthood. Especially Anthony...usually middle school boys start to lose that love of reading at that age. For myself, I've really been enjoying reading the middle school/young adult books. They can be easy reads in our hectic lives as mothers and then give us something to talk about with our kids. Timmy's almost done with Catching Fire and as soon as he is done. I will read it. He keeps saying to me, "Your going to love it! I can't wait until you read it!"