Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Books: Random Reading Day

Occasionally, I gather a bunch of different books and we sit and read for the day. These may be easy readers, older picture books or just a random selection of things to read; the books may be all one author's, all one subject/theme or just a mish-mash of fun reads.

We call this "random reading day" and we have so much fun -- often launching off into rabbit trails or individual kids' interests are piqued.

Here's our list of great, mixed picture books we read today in case you'd like to try this too:

Tiger of the Snows: Tenzing Norgay - The boy whose dream was Everest by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Ed Young – a beautifully illustrated picture biography of the Sherpa mountaineer who climbed with Sir Edmund Hillary to the top of the world, Mt. Everest!

Stealing Home: Jackie Robinson Against the Odds by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Mike Wimmer – a very exciting picture book of Jackie Robinson’s ability to steal home. The pictures are wonderful and the text exciting. A fabulous baseball book.

The Red Wolf by Margaret Shannon – ok, this one is near and dear to my heart! A little princess is kept in a tower by her loving (if slightly obsessive) father who worries the world will corrupt her. She is given the gift of a golden chest full of WOOL with a note that says “knit what you want”. She knits a red wolf suit and escapes. The rest of this rather unique story has the kids guessing until the end.

A Small Tall Tale from the Far Far North by Peter Sis – this is the story of a real man: Jan Welzl, who left his home in Moravia in the late 1800s and headed for the Far North. Based on facts as well as the tall-tales the man himself told, Peter Sis creates a beautifully detailed picture book of life in the Far North. A fabulous lead-in to a study of Alaska, exploring, and Eskimos.

Black Beauty’s Early Days in the Meadow by Anna Sewell and illustrated by Jane Monroe Donovan – the pictures of this book are worth hunting for this one! Anna Sewell’s story of Black Beauty is enhanced with this picture book that tells of the pony’s life in the fields and the very important lessons he learns from his mother.

Read Anything Good Lately? By Susan Allen and Jane Lindaman, illustrated by Vicky Enright – if you love reading, you’ll love this unique alphabet book where the writers describe different things you can read using the letters of the alphabet. At the end are some other ideas of things to read and we had fun thinking of where you would read an essay (on an elephant?) or a picture book (on a pony?). A wonderful introduction for those learning to read.

Thanksgiving Wish by Michael J. Rosen and paintings by John Thompson – this book always makes me cry, but in a good way! The story of a grandma’s traditional thanksgiving feast is enhanced by the first thanksgiving after she dies. A wonderful book that we’ll read every year at Thanksgiving!

One Hundred Hungry Ants by Elinor J. Pinczes and illustrated by Bonnie Mackan – how many ways can 100 be re-grouped to make it to the picnic in time? This is a great, repetitive book that had my kids responding right along with the ants. Great way to introduce multiplication/division with 100.

One Hundred is a Family by Pam Munoz Ryan and illustrated by Benrei Huang – starting with one family, this is a great counting book that shows that even 100 people living in an apartment house are a family. Lots of fun in this counting book.

On Beyond a Million: An Amazing Math Journey by David M. Schwartz and illustrated by Paul Meisel – is a great introduction to the power of ten and how easy it is to count to a googol if you count exponentially. But, as the book clearly points out, you can never count to infinity nor are bajillion or gazillion real numbers. Lots of fun in this math book.

Roman Numbers I to MM by Arthur Geisert – is a great way to introduce, practice and review roman numerals. Starting with the basic seven letters I, V, X, L, C, D and M – you can make ANY number imaginable (Romans didn’t have a symbol for beyond “thousand”). And Geisert proves it with his MMMMDCCLXIV (4764) pigs and other drawings throughout the book. One thing that’s very cool (other than page numbers in Roman numerals) is the last 11 pages are practice pages for what XI means or how many tire swings. Lots of great rabbit trails from this one!

As you can see, it's really a mixed bag today -- some I chose for their illustrations, some for their content, some becuase I'd heard good things about the authors. All were well-received and have the kids really thinking (and understanding that reading really can be fun and interesting). Here's a blog post of more books from Random Reading day.


MaryM said...

Fun reading day!

We are the ones that requested that DPL purchase Black Beauty's Early Days in the Meadow last year. Glad you like it. You can thank us later. ha ha

Leonie said...

What a nice idea! I wonder if our schedule will allow us to try the same - a random reading morning or afternoon? We'll see...

Carmen L. said...

Mary, I often do this too and I really enjoy just having a change in routine. This does wonders for the kids. They love story time and yes, this great for finding new rabbit trails. -Carmen