Little House


Tonight we began Little House in the Big Woods.  I remember getting the entire Little House box set with my Scholastic points while teaching, carefully moving the set from my classroom to home when I found out I was pregnant in 2006.  I envisioned the day that we would enter into the world of Laura, Mary, Carrie, Ma and Pa.  Making maple syrup.  Pa setting out with his shotgun to kill venison.  Helping to birth a calf.  Fiddle music after dinner (or greasing the bear traps….my goodness after dinner entertainment has changed!).  Quelling the girls’ fear of the howling of wolves as they’re drifting off to sleep.

I guess I’d forgotten how raw and intense these stories really are.  When we found out our first and second were both to be boys, I remember looking longingly at the box set that sat waiting on the bookshelf…should I just pass them on, give them to a friend who had had girls?  But as we read the initial chapter tonight it was a reminder of the sweet escape a book can be.  The gift of being transported into another time and space—in this case, Wisconsin and later, Kansas, in the mid 1800s.  And a reminder that Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books aren’t just for girls.


After selling my stash of books at Leigh’s Favorite Books a few weeks ago and getting some credit, I decided to splurge on a book for Matt for Valentine’s Day, Michael Pollan’s newest edition of Food Rules.  I also had been reading about Sarah Pinneo’s new book, Julia’s Child.  I had kept post it notes all around, emails in my inbox, etc., with the name of the book, checking back with the library over and over.  Finally, I gave in a bought it.  And as is my reading nature (mostly BEFORE chidren), devoured it.   I rarely read fiction these days, but the combination of the setting (New York!), the plot (from Megan at Sorta Crunchy, “Julia Bailey – a mother of two in NYC whose dream of launching an organic and whole food line of baby and toddler food is finally taking off. Julia and her only other employee – a single mom named Marta – are a two-woman show working around-the-clock to bring Julia’s vision to life.”) and the escape of walking alongside another mom of two kids, seeking out a new path professionally?  Well, I was pretty smitten early on.

I’m grappling with the huge void that exists for most of my students regarding reading.  Many are at a 1st or 2nd grade level as students approaching 5th grade.  Most read 60-80 words per minute, when the average for 4th graders should be closer to 135 words per minute.  Comprehending the basic plot, the main idea is a laborious, overwhelming task.  {don’t remind me that the 4th grade California Statewide writing test is NEXT Tuesday! }  I keep questioning why they are all so far behind.  And much of that is still a mystery to me.  Many students do say that they weren’t read to very often as younger kids and few actually read at home (even though we assign it as homework).  A handful pick up a chapter book for our silent reading time, but many are relegated to picture books due to their reading levels.

It has been a reminder and a wake up call.  A reminder that time spent engaging with my boys each night over books is so important to me.  And more than important, it is a joy.  I really do love this time with them.  {even when it means pouring over construction vehicles with Drew for his storytime each night}.

And as I mentioned, it’s also been a wake up call.  A wake up call because having my children SEE us reading vs burying our heads in our phones, computers or reality tv shows, really is important.  Seeing that reading is something that not only educates and helps us, but also serves as a fun, engaging and mind-expanding choice.

I’m ready to add some new fiction to my request list at the library….any recommendations??  For this week, we’ll be focusing on Laura Ingalls and Dr. Seuss with Read Across America coming up on Friday, in celebration of his birthday. ( My friend Michaela did some fun things with her boys today which I’ll no doubt replicate!  And today, Kara at posted a wonderful list of great activities.  I will be stealing from that list for sure.)

Tonight reminded me of the importance of intentionality.  Being intentional when it comes to reading with the boys.  Intentional when choosing titles.  And yes, intentional about reading myself.

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