Although I have read to my now 10 year old daughter since she was a wee babe, this summer we have finally moved into her listening to (and enjoying) longer chapter type books. With my daughter’s severe expressive/receptive language disorder, reading long blocks of text to her and keeping her engaged in the story has been a challenge. With some further growth in her language abilities, I was hopeful that we could progress into more complex books for story time, especially in her ability to listen, understand and enjoy the stories.
One of Hannah’s favorite books from the library summer reading program in 2007 was Bed Hogs, and it remains a favorite of ours to this day, so I decided to stay with the swine theme for jumping into our expanded story time. First up was a classic: Charlotte’s Web.
I vividly recall listening to my 3rd grade teacher read Charlotte’s Web to my class, and being quite dismayed when we could only have one chapter a day after recess (and only if the whole class settled down quickly). I was transported through the words of E.B. White to Zuckerman’s farm and experienced the tribulations of Wilbur as Charlotte launched a media campaign to save his life. I also recall being terribly sad when the book was over and we could no longer visit Wilbur everyday. Earlier this week after I finished reading Charlotte’s Web to Hannah, she commented to me as we were seeking another book at the library, that she missed Wilbur and Charlotte – a significant display of comprehension!
The book we just started is Babe: The Gallant Pig. While I have seen the movie Babe, I must admit that I am finding the story in the book to be much more endearing. Hannah is enjoying the story as well, and asked for extra chapters this afternoon.
Where our swine-themed summer reading program will go from here, I don’t know yet, but I am very glad that my daughter is both enjoying and comprehending the stories in these more complex books. Even though she is quite capable of reading to herself (and comprehends better when she does the reading), I am glad she is learning to take in a story through verbal communication.
Oink. Oink. Sooey!