Picture Books vs. Chapter Books

An article in the New York Times suggests that sales of picture books for children are slumping because today’s overeager parents push their children to read chapter books instead.

Perhaps. But I’m in agreement with many of the article’s commenters, who say that picture books have simply gotten too expensive, especially given the current state of the economy. Many say they prefer to buy picture books at garage sales or check them out at the public library.

A commenter who’s a librarian notes that she checked the circulation stats of her library’s  picture books and discovered a 10% increase in check-out rates over the past year. That would seem to indicate that the commenters are on the right track and perhaps the writer of the article was blowing the issue out of proportion.

That said, you can go in any bookstore and see all sorts of books that are quite beautiful, but whose plot lines are lame, if they have plots at all. My kids’ favorite books usually had strong plots, ones that they anticipated every time we read aloud together.

What do you think? Are parents pushing their kids into chapter books, or is it just that picture books cost too much?

Facing the Facts

Josh is in our basement workshop, working on a project with my husband. They’re making an outdoor bean bag game to play outside this weekend when our older kids come home for the holiday weekend.  I can hear his happy banter with his dad as they work. Every so often he says, “Ha-ha! I did it!”

They’ve been sawing and painting for the past day, and Josh is very excited to see the project coming together. Most 17-year-olds wouldn’t get so excited about doing this. But Josh isn’t like most 17-year-olds because he has developmental delays.

When he was a baby, I sometimes wondered what homeschooling him would be like. I’d become accustomed to the pace set by his three older siblings. I wondered how much longer it would take him to learn the things they learned by certain ages. Continue reading

Fostering a Love of Reading

Like many bloggers, I often get email from people wanting me to feature one of their posts. Often these are from spam blogs, so I delete them. But once in a while the post is actually a good one.

Take this one, for example. “100 Ways to Teach Your Kids to Love Reading.”* While I certainly don’t think you need to do all or even most of the things on this list (who could?), there are enough good ideas there to get you started. Most kids will take off on their own once they become good readers, although that’s less likely if you don’t limit their tv/computer/technical device time (hint, hint.)   🙂


*Link removed 5-17-13

The Key to Learning Easily

Early on, I discovered that my older three children learned the things that interested them much more easily than the subjects they didn’t care so much about.

For one, writing came easily while math was a much slower process. For another, vacuuming the living room properly (i.e. in more than 30 seconds) was far too difficult, while learning to design a Web site based on a much-loved hobby was fast and easy. For yet another, reading Shakespeare was a piece of cake while reading history from a textbook was torture.

Then there’s #4. He’s the one with Down syndrome, and homeschooling him has been a much slower process all the way around. He’s had a particularly hard time with reading. We continue to review words that he learned years ago; if we don’t, he forgets them. I got kind of depressed the other day when he blanked out on “is” and “find,” because they’re easy and he’d known them for a long time, up until then.

However, my husband discovered something that same day which reminded me that dsds15 can easily remember the words that mean something to him. He loves video games and movies, and one of his favorite subjects in both categories is “X-Men.” He especially likes to pause the game whenever it displays a character so he can write down the character’s name. He will often print long lists of these characters as he plays.

My husband took one of these lists and asked my son to read the names on it. These are names like Professor Xavier, Mystique, Magneto…..15 or 20 of them on a page. And he could read every name we pointed to! That stinker…..like his older siblings, if something interests him, he has a much easier time with it.