Friday, January 31, 2014

A 4-Year-Old's Book Club

This year at school, Lilly has entered the world of learning how to read.  Her little eyes, which are always eager to take in the world around her, have been opened to the language of books and it is so amazing to be a part of.  She has always loved listening to stories and has grown rather adept at convincing Jim to read "just one more book" before bed each night, but Jim's hour long bedtime routine deserves its own entry, so we'll save that for another time.

Lilly started off the year bringing home BOB books, which are a great introduction for children learning to sound out words.  Unfortunately, the story lines run a little thin, and as Lilly's teacher told us, the children tend to get sick of these books rather quickly, as lines like, "Sam sat on Mat. Mat sat on Sam," are not too captivating.  But, they do the trick and teach the little ones that they can sound out words on their own.  Lilly was more than eager to check off her 10 Bob books and start bringing home her "tall red number tab" books.  So far in this series, we've read about "Mac and Tab," "The Tin Man," "Al," "Tim," "The Jet," "Ben Bug," and the latest one that Lilly brought home was "Ed."

These books are so sweet, and at around 20 pages long, take a great deal of patience and concentration for Lilly to read.  We often sit down and read a book that Lilly has brought home during quiet time, and it's amazing to watch how quickly things start to click.  She has a whole bank of sight words in her head that she no longer has to sound out.  She's learned the difference between "b" and "d," which are two confusing little letters.  Watching her little tongue sticking out of the corner of her mouth as she concentrates never fails to make me smile.  And then, when she read me this story about Ed the Elephant, who ends up shooting water out of his trunk to get a nut off the rail, she cracks herself up.  That's the best part--listening to her read a story that she thinks is hysterical.  When she finishes each book, she smiles proudly.  She often reads it to us again on the way to school the next day.  And then, inevitably at some point, Jack sees the book and asks Lilly if she can read it to him.  As Jack sits next to Lilly so patiently, watching her with admiration while she makes sense of these words that he sees on each page, my heart melts.

After Lilly reads to Jim or me, she always wants us to read to her.  So, not only have we entered the world of Lilly learning to read, but we have also entered the world of chapter books and we're having a blast.  I don't know who enjoys these books more--Jim and I or Lilly.  We have a whole collection growing of books we're going to read together, or books that Lilly can read by herself as she gets older. 

At the moment, we're engrossed in the Magic Tree House books.  The storyline each time is simple--Jack and Annie found a magic tree house that takes them to different places.  All they have to do is point to a picture in a book and the tree house will take them there.  They spend their time in these various places getting through whatever obstacles they encounter and inevitably becoming trapped and trying to escape from the villain.  As we were reading one about pirates the other day, we finished a chapter where Jack and Annie were taken captive on board a pirate ship until they were willing to show the pirate (Cap'n Bones) where the treasure is and Lilly looked at me wide eyed and slammed the book shut, announcing that we could save the rest for tomorrow.  We picked it up again the next day, and she started off by saying that she knew Jack and Annie would be okay but she just wasn't sure how they were going to get off the ship.  She couldn't wait for them to get back to the tree house and point to the picture of their home town in Pennsylvania so the tree house could take them home.  This world of reading is fun.  Lots of fun.  And it's only just beginning.  I know how much I love lying in bed at night, falling asleep reading a good book, and I can't wait for her to do the same thing.  

I'm off to start "Night of the Ninjas."  Wish me luck.  This is a topic that I don't have a whole lot of interest in, but I'm hoping that Jack and Annie mix things up a little bit.  Maybe the tree house leaves them there.  Or the ninja takes their book and they can't get home.  What I do know is that Lilly will hide behind a pillow at some point.  And that with each book we read, her love of reading will grow just a little bit more.  


  1. I hope you've got some Enid Blyton coming up on your chapter book list (if they haven't been done already?)! The Amelia Jane series, The Magic Faraway Tree, Adventures of the Wishing Chair...their magic never grows old!

    1. Thanks Kate!! The Enid Blyton books are so hard to get over here. I know I have my old ones in storage, but I think they're with Mum and Dad in Texas so I'm trying to track them down. I'm dying to read Lilly the Magic Faraway Tree books--they were my favorite!!