Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Book Selection

So, for the past few weeks I have been somewhat on a mission to find books that my child could use as a beginning reader. It has been much more difficult than I anticipated. I have run into 5 problems consistently and have ended up having to compromise and focus on just getting past this first "emerging reader" stage.

1) The print is too small. Furthermore, often the print is extremely small compared to the size of the picture, drawing the child's eyes towards the picture. Sometimes the print is printed in a bizarre font or printed over the picture.

2) The storyline is inappropriate.

3) The book doesn't show any diversity in the characters. To put it bluntly, I would like to see images of different shades of children playing together.

4) The books seem to focus quite a bit on animals, which I know is interesting and exciting to most children. However, I would like to see some readers with human heroes, particularly human boy heroes. I do not agree with the excessive personification of animals in children's books. It is perfectly fine occasionally but it's a dominant theme in most books and this annoys me quite a bit.

5) The books have no rhythm, rhyme, or "cadence" that would draw a child in. This is why we enjoy golden books and Dr. Suess, but most of these books are way above his head at this point. I hope to have him reading these books by age 2 though.

So far, I have found one line of books that may work alright, the Bobbsey Twins Pre-Level series. It doesn't have problem 1,2, or 4, but problem 3 and 5 are still there. The print is oversized and there are few words on the page, the story, if you could call it that, is very very simple. The pictures are understated, and it is pretty easy for me to get my child to focus his attention on the words. I do not know if the words are large or bold enough though, I am hoping he will grow into it at some point.

Also, one of the board books I received from Kindermusik curriculum has large bold print. It is called "Hickory Dickory Tickle and Bounce" and it is based on the nursery rhyme. Purchasing books off of Amazon, often you cannot look inside to examine the print type, so I have been going to several bookstores to look, and I have found that find large or bold print is actually hard.

TJ has not been too interested in reading books with me lately, he always seems to be busy with his toys. He occupied himself for about an hour last night climbing in and out of the rocker, going to play the ABC song on one of his toys, and returning to the rocker. He can actually follow along with the ABC song now, of course some of it is babble but I would say he "knows" the song after playing it around 30 times last night. He was in a silly mood, spending most of his time crawling and burying his face in the carpet, and being creative with his toys. He pretended his shape sorter bucket was a bowl of food, the the shape blocks were food, and he had an "Mmm-mmm" good meal too.

Oh, and that brings me to an update on his eating habits. After a few bouts with major stomach problems, the doctor has recommended a nutrition plan. We have been following it strictly, excluding junk food (white flour, sugar, and dairy), from his diet and I promise you he is a new person. He sleeps better, eats larger meals, is never constipated, and just has a better attitude about food in general. He often goes over to his high chair and tries to get in because he wants a snack, and he will gobble up almost whatever I put in front of him. If he refuses it, it only takes me about one guess to present him with something acceptable to him. I am glad that our doctor gave us better nutrition guidelines to follow, as I have only found a lot of contradictory information about what toddlers need, and it's fairly obvious to me at this point that his needs were not being met by our previous diet.

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