Growing Bookworms Newsletter: May 20: Literacy Milestones + Responses to the @Scholastic Kids + Family Reading Report
Today, I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on growing joyful learners, mainly bookworms, but also mathematicians and learners of all types. The newsletter is usually sent out every three to four weeks. This issue is a tiny bit early because I'm going to be away from my computer for most of this week, and have some things I'd like to share before I go.
Newsletter Update: In this issue I have two posts with my daughter's latest literacy milestones. The first is about attending her first author signing. The second is about making connections through reading. I also have two posts written in response to the Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report, one about the "Decline by Nine" and the other about factors that encourage frequent readers. I also have three posts with literacy and reading-related links shared over the past few weeks on Twitter. I have a summary of our recent reading below.
Reading Update: In the last three weeks I finished two middle grade titles and six adult titles (three fiction and three nonfiction). I read/listened to:
- Rachel Renee Russell: Dork Diaries 13: Tales from a Not-So-Happy Birthday. Aladdin Books. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed May 7, 2019, read aloud to my daughter. This one did improve for me by the end, but I still prefer the Wimpy Kid books.
- Jeff Kinney: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever. Harry N. Abrams Books. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed May 14, 2019, read aloud to my daughter.
- Meghan Cox Gurdon: The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction . Harper. Adult Nonfiction. Completed May 2, 2019, personal copy. This book is basically a call to society to make reading aloud a priority. While she talks mostly about the many rewards to kids from having their parents read to them (bonding, vocabulary, etc.), she also advocates for the gift of reading aloud to other adults (e.g. in the car) and especially to the elderly. I'm already a pretty strong advocate for reading aloud myself, and Gurdon succeeded in making me want to do it more.
- William Kent Krueger: Trickster's Point (Cork O'Connor, No. 12). Atria Books. Adult Mystery. Completed May 7, 2019, on MP3. I'm still a fan. Definitely enjoyable!
- Kayleen Schaefer: Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship. Dutton. Adult Nonfiction. Completed May 8, 2019, personal copy. This book was a gift from a dear friend. Schaefer focuses on the importance of female friendships in a society that puts more emphasis on spouses and children. I thought she was a little over the top on that point, but I still appreciated her musing on the many gifts that female friends bring to one another. This was a good followup read for me after The Village Effect.
- Paula Munier: A Borrowing of Bones (Mercy and Elvis, Book 1). Minotaur Books. Adult Mystery. Completed May 10, 2019, on Kindle. This is the first book in a new series featuring Mercy, a young, retired female MP, and Elvis, the service dog that she is caring for after the death of the dog's handler, Mercy's fiancé. There's also an attractive game warden with his own search dog who plays a major role. I enjoyed this one, and look forward to future titles.
- Victoria Thompson: Murder on Trinity Place (Gaslight Mystery). Berkley Press. Adult Mystery. Completed May 15, 2019, on MP3. This is the latest in another series that I've enjoyed for years. I saw one of the twists coming very early, but still enjoyed my time with these characters, and the historical background about milk deliveries as well as the rise of automobiles in the early 1900s.
- Thomas M. Nichols: The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters. Oxford University Press. Adult Nonfiction. Completed May 17, 2019, on Kindle. I read this book after enjoying an article by Nichols on about not letting students run the university (by getting professors fired over politically incorrect views, etc.). The book is quite outspoken on the larger issue of an increasing resentment of expertise, and people's belief that all opinions are equally valid (even when they are in outright contradiction of research). I found this book sometimes entertaining and sometimes irritating, but it will make me think twice about how I consume and share news in the future.
I'm reading She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge and listening to Tamarack County by William Kent Krueger (the 13th of 17 Cork O'Connor books - I'll have to find something else to listen to before too long). My daughter and I are back to reading Jeff Kinney's Wimpy Kid books together. Our current installment is Book #8: Hard Luck (we do not read in any special order).
In terms of her own reading, she just finished Who Was Princess Diana? and seemed to enjoy it. Funny moment for me: she found a reference in there to Hillary Clinton and exclaimed: "FIRST LADY, Hillary Clinton! She was married to a President?" She had no idea. You forget how young your kids are sometimes. But I guess it was another example of making connections through reading.
She also finished Macarons at Midnight, a Wish novel by Suzanne Nelson, which she had been reading in fits and starts for weeks. And just in time, too, because the library is going to eventually want that back. She's already started her next selection in the series. She also enjoyed Red's Planet: Book 1, a new to her graphic novel by Eddie Pittman, and is asking for the sequel. Otherwise she's been mostly re-reading her favorite graphic novels and picture books.
But I will share something that she put on my Mother's Day card that made me happy. It was a fill-in-the-blanks card that she did at school. Here is a prompt and her response:
- You are the best mother because: "you have taught me how to read more than do electronics"
She's been expressing lately that she appreciates that she isn't as addicted to screens as other kids that she sees, and that she likes reading more. Mentioning it in the card shows me that she really values this. As anyone reading this can probably guess, this pleases me more than I can even express.
Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms!
© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage.