Daily Thoughts blog articles are my daily journal on books, reading, interest-led activities, and the world of kids books in general. I group the month’s thoughts into one blog post.
It’s just my stream-of-consciousness thinking. As I experience it. Day by day. In many ways I guess these writings are what blogs used to be … way back when 😊.
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
I’m a parent who is worried about the amount of time my child spends on a screen. Who’s with me on that concern? I know lots of parents share this worry. Especially right now during the lock downs of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each day there usually comes a time where it feels to me like he’s been on the iPad playing a video game for too long. Yes, we have some structure in place for our days and yes we have limits for how long certain screen activities can last. But I’m also working full-time (thankfully still employed) and have a lot of client needs to attend to. Today felt like a bit of a victory in this area. I knew he’d been on too long. I asked him to research five books he’d like to read. I told him he could pick any books from the Amazon, Barefoot Books, Barnes & Noble, or Scholastic websites. It had to be books – no activity kits. He found a book about the video game he is playing. At first glance that may seem like just more video gaming. I took a quick look at the book and knew immediately that it was worth it. The Amazon listing showed multiple shots of the inside page spreads and the quality of the writing was clear. I know that he will love this book and will read it. It will bring him off the video game and to the printed word and it will honor his interest. I know I’m not interested in the video game and I worry about how it affects him, even though it’s age appropriate and not played online. At the same time I remember how much I loved movies and cartoons as a child. My mom was worried about me and how much I wanted to watch. I just love movies and still do today. And I turned out okay (mostly – wink). The good people at the New Trails Learning System once taught me about “following the child” and how honoring a child’s interest reinforces their self advocacy abilities. Having all those thoughts in my mind I felt good about our book purchase today. The book arrives between June 9 and June 16 and he can hardly wait!
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
We experimented with watercolor over the long weekend. I follow an artist named Samantha Nielsen and recently bought her book 5-Minute Watercolor: Super-quick Techniques for Amazing Watercolor Painting. She teaches how to quickly sketch and paint nature and urban scenes. I have been attracted to this style for awhile and felt like her book could help me. The book is brilliantly designed and I think it will be a great tool long-term. This weekend we used it to springboard and try some watercolor painting of our own. At first it was a little frustrating – it’s a new medium for us and it looks easy but, yeah, it’s going to take some time to learn. That said, I am in love with this lighthouse painting that my son churned out. The idea came from his own imagination. I love the simplicity. Looking forward to doing more.
Friday, May 22, 2020
I am no longer reading The One and Only Ivan. It was explained to me that I was being very unfair by reading ahead. You probably remember that my son’s teacher is currently reading this book to her class. He really hates it when I read ahead! So I am now reading another Katherine Applegate book – Crenshaw. It’s about a boy and a very large cat. The cat is imaginary. That is all I can tell you at this time but once I’ve read more I’ll let you know what I think! Back to the whole “not allowed to read ahead” thing. I am not allowed to read ahead. But he is 😉. It’s all part of my strategy of shifting him to reading advanced chapter books on his own. We are currently reading The Mysterious Benedict Society. This is the book that has welcomed the magical moment – the moment where a grown-up says “I just can’t read any more to you tonight” and the child says “Is it okay if I just continue reading by myself?” I love letting a child come to that decision on their own and when they feel ready. We’re there in our family. He is reading The Mysterious Benedict Society on his own. I chime in with some read-aloud time periodically. On a separate line of thinking – one of the most common questions I am asked is “So you read kids books as an adult?” Yes. And I think all adults should give it a try. When I say I read kids books I’m not generally talking about picture books or board books for babies and toddlers. When I read for my own personal pleasure my books of choice are what are known as independent and advanced chapter books. Including books written for the middle grades (4th to 6th grades) and books from the Young Adult (YA) genre. I’m very at home in these books. Many are quite lengthy with challenging reading. If you as a grown-up feel you’re restricted to purely reading books written for adult audiences, feel free to check out at of the chapter books I review. I think you’ll be pleased and I’d love to hear which books you enjoy!
Thursday, May 21, 2020
I was a basket case this morning as I drank my morning coffee. I was up before everyone else in the house and had some nice quiet time to myself as a result. Thought I’d read a little of The One and Only Ivan. It’s quick reading for an adult so I made it half way through the book in 30 minutes. I couldn’t put it down. I had things to do but could not tear myself away! Let me just warn you. In the middle of the book you might be like me – tears pouring down my face. It gets you! That’s for sure. I’ve read the reviews so I know the story is powerful. Maybe tomorrow morning I’ll finish it. Definitely made me hop on IMDB to check out details on the upcoming film see who the voice of Stella would be. I suspected
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Such excitement! These three books arrived from Amazon today! We decided to read them because my son’s third grade teacher is reading The One and Only Ivan to he and his classmates. She reads via video – recording her videos and posting them to the online learning portal the class is using during the Stay-at-Home order for the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s a GREAT video reader! It’s got to be challenging for teachers to be thrown into the online teaching environment when they are so accustomed to being in the classroom. The teachers at our local elementary school have handled it remarkably. And I feel like my son’s teacher has a real gift for reading stories to kids by video. Perhaps she’ll continue even after school gets back to normal! We are anxious to see the movie version of the book due out this August, and, as you can see, we also decide to get The One and Only Bob and Crenshaw. It’s a proper introduction to author Katherine Applegate’s writings. I’ll share book reviews with you once we’ve read these titles! In the meantime I can say that THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN is certainly recommended reading since it’s a winner of the Newbery Medal and a #1 New York Times bestseller! It’s a long chapter book, but with fewer words per page than most advanced chapter book, and therefore it’s good reading for middle year students (that’s 4th through 6th).
Monday, May 18, 2020
We are designing a game. As you can see in the picture. That’s all for today!
Sunday, May 17, 2020
Yesterday we took part in a script reading for the play version of the book Charlotte’s Web. It was for a community theater program that runs summer camps we’ve attended. What a neat experience. It was brand new for me and my son. I had no idea that Charlotte’s Web had been turned into a play. I hope to write a longer post about it in the future. I played the part of “Edith” (Fern’s aunt) and “Lamb”. My son was “Avery” (Fern’s older brother). The reading was held by video call (usually they take place in person) and the reason was to decide if the program should present this play during their 2021 season. Such fun to be involved at that point in the process! Everyone on the call had acted previously. We were totally new to it but it was a great experience!
Saturday, May 16, 2020
We’re dealing with a little bit of addiction to a digital device in our house. I favor letting our kid spend long blocks of time on it – because he’s got to learn to recognize how it affects him. My other half favors removing it entirely. Now I don’t actually let him play for hours and hours. Anyway. What it made me think about today is this. The video games and apps that the kids are playing are 1) addictive because of the dopamine reaction these things elicit in their brains. 2) very fun to play because they are attractive and interesting, because hours and hours and hours of work went into them. The problem for our kids is they are only interacting with the finished product. And when they go to create something themselves I see them get frustrated because of how long it takes. And they give up. Easily. And 3) the instant gratification does everything to discourage developing long attention spans. Which are needed to create things. There was a fourth thing but I’ve forgotten it. It will come to me. In any case today we are off the device for the remainder of the day, playing with LEGOs, listening to music, and playing outside in the nice, warm, sunny weather.