Monday, August 18, 2008

Finding Time

I have two young children and my days are filled with laundry, dishes, making messes, cleaning up messes, arts, crafts, cooking, tons of playing and reading to them. How do I find time to read for myself?
This is a perfect time for me to discuss finding and making time, since I am having a problem with this lately. I do feel that reading is part of being a mother. How will my kids learn to love reading if they never see me read?

According to Verois, Suhler and Associates investment banker "each day in the U.S. people spend 4 hours watching T.V., 3 hours listening to the radio and 14 minutes reading magazines." I think time can be better well spent reading or almost anything else. (This is really hard for me durning the Olympics)

For those of us who have already turned off the T.V. we need to schedule reading time into our lives. We have to schedule time for those things that are most important. Steven R. Covey said "The key is not to prioritize what is on your schedule but to schedule your priorities." Reading to me is a huge priority. I must read for my own education and entertainment but most importantly to be an example for my kids. We should not feel guilty when we take time to read.

Finding time to read:

1. Turn off the T.V./electronics

2. Schedule time to read

3. Realize that reading is important and not just for leisure
May we all find the time we need to learn, and gain our education, not only for ourselves but for those little souls that may be watching for our examples.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Little Britches Father and I were Ranchers by Ralph Moody

The cover of this book says it all. Ralph Moody's books "should be read aloud in every family circle in America." I have only read this one, there are eight in this series. Moody has a total of 19 books. Little Britches is about ranching life in the early 1900's, based on his true life and set in Colorado. There is nothing I can say about this book except that you should read it, and read it to your family. I love how every one in the family adds to the success of the ranch. Everyone can make a difference and in fact has to. The lessons that can be learned and taught from this book are immeasurable. Not only is it a great learning tool, it has a fascinating story line that will keep attention of even the most attention deprived youngsters. Horses, cowboys, chocolate, feuding neighbors, fights, courage, fear and rodeo, this book has everything. This is a family collectible book, one to read and to own.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Baby Island by Carol Ryrie Brink

My 8 year old niece and I have started a book club. The first book we read was Sarah, Plain and Tall. Review to come later. The book for August is Baby Island. This has a silly title, but don't let that fool you. It is a cute and adventurous story. It takes place in the pacific ocean where Jean and Mary 10 and 12 find themselves in charge of 4 little children after a shipwreck. Their life boat was let down before it should have been, without any adult on board. They hope to find an island so that they can find food and shelter, Jean starts to doubt that they ever will. After being questioned on her knowledge that they will run into an island Mary responds "because shipwrecked people always do, why, the public library at home is just full of books about shipwrecked people who landed on tropical islands. And did you ever see a book written by a person who was drowned at sea? I never did...You can't expect everything to happen at once. Why we just got wrecked last night. If Mr. Snodgrass said there were lots of little islands around here, there must be...I'm sure we're due at one of those islands right now. Of course, we might be a little late, like the Interurban cars used to be at home."

I rather enjoyed this story. I appreciated the courage of these girls and how they said their prayers even though their parents were not around. I have to admit at one point in the story that tears started to form in my eyes. It has been a long time since a book has done that to me. This is a fabulous book for children ages 4-10. I am already excited about the discussions that I hope to have with my daughter when we read it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Twenty-One Ballons by William Pene du Bois

The Twenty-One Balloons is a winner of the Newbery Medal and an interesting story about Professor William Waterman Sherman and his idea to live for 1 year in a hot air balloon. You see "there are two kinds of travel. The usual way is to take the fastest imaginable conveyance along the shortest road. The other way is not to care particularly where you are going or how long it will take you, or whether you will get there or not." Sherman uses the second type of travel. His travel takes him around the whole world with a rather long stop off on the island of Krakatoa, Indonesia. I thought the book was rather slow, but it was an easy fun read with a fun ending. This is a great book for kids and interesting topics to discuss. There are numerous inventions that could start fun discussions with children.

Monday, July 21, 2008

There are No Shortcuts by Rafe Esquith

Rafe Esquith is an absolutely amazing teacher. In his book There are No Shortcuts, he talks about how he took his inner city fifth graders from being poor/mediocre students to being great and above average. He adopted the theme There are No Shortcuts for his class to teach them that learning takes work. He gives some ideas to teachers and parents on how to foster the love of learning in the students. He also gives a list of his favorite books, as he explains :"Let's face it: reading is the most important subject in school. It's more important than all other other subjects combined. If a child can't learn to read well and love to read, the chances of that kid finding success and happiness on any level are low." I enjoyed reading this book although the attitude in the book is one of anger towards the administrators, government, co-workers and sometimes even the parents of his students. He repeats himself many times throughout the book. If you are going to be a teacher of any kind you may want to check this book out, but I don't recommend this to everyone.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White

The Trumpet of the Swan is an absolutely fabulous book. All children, and parents of children should read it. Louis, a swan, was born without a voice. After becoming aware of this his father said: "Do not let an unnatural sadness settle over you, Louis. Swans must be cheerful, not sad; graceful, not awkward; brave, not cowardly. Remember that the world is full of youngsters who have some sort of handicap that they must overcome. You apparently have a speech defect. I am sure you will overcome it, in time. There may even be some slight advantage, at your age, in not being able to say anything. It compels you to be a good listener. The world is full of talkers, but it is rare to find anyone who listens. And I assure you that you can pick up more information when you are listening than when you are talking."

This is the story of how Louis finds his voice. The characters in this book are lovable. The plot line is intriguing. The climax fascinating. There are many parallels to real life that can stir up great conversations with children. (overcoming hardship, finding what you really want to do in life, taking care of nature, accepting others, kindness) I recommend reading this book to your kids.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth

Nate Twitchell and his family are rather surprised when their hen lays an enormous egg. The hen faithfully incubates the egg with some help from Nate on the turning of it and the egg hatches. The egg contains a dinosaur. The plot thickens as Senator in Washington D.C. makes this speech:

"Do we want our children to grow up to be forward-looking citizens of our forward looking country? Then we must not let them dwell on the useless creatures of the past, the foolish mistakes of Nature discarded long before Columbus planted the American flag on our beautiful shores. No, gentlemen, there must be no living in the past for us, but rather we must bravely face the future, and march on together, hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder, to that glorious destiny that lies before us."
Obviously there were some people in the story who did not want to have the dinosaur around. Nate and his paleontologist friend need to find some way to save the dinosaur, before it is too late. I really enjoyed the characters and this story. I recommend this as a book to read aloud to your children.