Monday, March 23, 2009

A Candid Review of AO Year 1 Books...So Far (Part 2)

Well, I got the hard part over with. Now onto some lighter material.

What we've discovered this year is that Pooh. Loves. History. He really, really, really, really, loves it. LOL His reading took off a few months ago, we started some Year 1 books such as An Island Story and 50 Famous Stories, and now he's taken over the history aspect of his learning.

He checks out history books (with a little dinos and pirates mixed in. ;D). A lot of them are centered around colonial times. He will talk about bible history too. He draws the city of Jerusalem with the biblical beasts that attack (representing world powers). He wants to know who was governor of Rome when and what part. And he'll remember it. He helps me remember stuff I never would without him.

Needless to say, the aforementioned books are his favorites of the year. He's even taken to carrying them around and re-reading chapters that we've already read. I do allow him to do that. Once we've read it as part of our school day and he's given his narration, he can re-read those chapters. He's very good about sticking to that rule. also, Pooh loves anything to do with England, so studying the history through An Island Story is thrilling for him!

This love does lead him to some static conversations. I use several different 'tactics' to deal with that. Ignoring it. Asking him to stop and continue later. Throwing him curve balls with misinformation. Singing a silly ditty that one of the words reminded me of. (Ex: He was reading a Step into Reading book about the ship Endurance getting stuck in the South Pole (i think--you'll have to ask Pooh for the details because I don't remember) and he mentioned something about the 15 men. I started singing the ditty from Treasure Island-15 men and the Dead Men's Chest... "Mommy, what are you doing?" "You said 15 men!" ) Ok, I know, I'm weird, but it keeps Pooh on his toes. ;D

So, the history readings are going very well. He can focus on listening and narrates beautifully.

The Burgess Bird Book: Not a favorite, but not horrific either. Pooh has good and bad moments with this book. I have a feeling that the Burgess Animal Book will go better. I don't think that the bird stories really captivate his interest. His favorite is still one of the first ones we read. He really likes hearing about Bully, The English Sparrow. sigh

Just So Stories: This writing style is soooo different. I never heard these until this year. I like them but wasn't really sure how it would go over with Pooh. This is another so-so book. He finds parts of it amusing and parts of it just don't interest him. He's getting a kick now over the stories of The First Letter and Alphabet because of the little girl in it. Her nickname is Taffy, but her whole name stands for something along the lines of "little girl with no manners who ought to be spanked". He had me say that several times and would just laugh! LOL I did manage to watch a film recently on pbs about Rudyard Kipling. It was the one where his son goes off to war and dies. In it there are a couple of scenes where the actor is reading bits and pieces of Just So Stories for some neighbor children. Listening to him, I understood more of the grandeur behind the stories. How richly they can be told aloud. I always use voices in my readings. For Taffy, I try to sound like the little girl she is. It's nothing compared to the actor's readings but the boys enjoy it.

James Herriot's Animal Stories for Children: The first one we read did not go well. At all. However, each story has gotten progressively easier and better. Pooh is enjoying each one more. He loves dogs and so receives a special treat when we're reading about one of the dog stories.

Paddle to the Sea: This is a really good book. We're enjoying using the map in the book to track Paddle's adventures. Pooh and I both learned that Lake Michigan is shaped like a wolf's head. Thrilled him to no end to understand that! ;D These chapters are only one page and the book is loaded with pictures.

Pooh also loves the Du'laire biographies recommended for Year 1. Big surprise. :P

Next I'll post Pooh's responses when asked about his different books and I'll also do a post on how the free reads have gone.

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