Monday, March 1, 2010

Teaching Moment

I usually think about 'teaching moments' teaching a moral. For instance, when Nathan and Isaac were playing in our backyard and the giant yellow ball got stuck in the tree and they couldn't get it down, and then we said a prayer and the next baseball Nathan threw up there brought it down. Kapow! Teaching moment about prayer, which we were very glad turned out so nicely;)

What we're reading as a family now.

Isaac had a fever and a headache on Sunday, so I stayed home with him and Nathan took the rest of the family to church. Not sure why, but I decided to teach him a little bit about story structure. So I drew a plot arc for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. We filled in the major events and I taught him terms like 'rising  action' and 'denoument'. We talked about levels of conflict: man vs. self, man vs. man, man vs. environment and assigned Harry's conflicts to various categories. We talked about the different people that he meets- family, friends, teachers, community members. We talked about reversals and I drew a character arc for Severus Snape, showing the build up of hatred between Harry and Snape, and how it changes so quickly at the end. Same with Dudley.

Isaac's favorite books- Harry Potter, The Mysterious Benedict Society, and Peter and the Starcatchers series. All very very very good!

Some kinds of bonding leave me cold, like Dec/Jan flag football (literally freezing cold!) but Sunday was so pleasant, sitting with my nine year old and talking about books we've enjoyed. It is a peculiar pleasure to share "Island of the Blue Dolphins" and "Charlotte's Web" and "My Side of the Mountain" with my child and to see the love that he has for these stories. I am proud and I hope that as he gets older we will still talk about books, just like my Mom and I talk about books.

I finished reading aloud "The Cay" to them a few weeks ago and when old Timothy died after shielding Phillip, the blind 'young bahs', during the hurricane with his body, I cried. Not a few sniffles, but "get me some tissues. I'll *sob* try to keep*sob* going." I'm uncomfortable blubbering in front of my kids, but it always happens with these serious books. At least they know that the stories are real to me;)

Now we're reading a 'Peter and the Starcatchers' reader- 'Cave of the Dark Wind'. Nice and light. Next up for us is 'Little House on the Prairie'. It makes me happy to think about them pleading with me to read one more chapter before bedtime. That could be a standard procrastination technique, but I don't think that's all. They would like a glass of water before bed, but they love books.

What part do books play in your family?


  1. Oh, I loved THE CAY when I read it in elementary school, but had forgotten all about it. What a pleasant reminder:)

    Books play a huge role in my life, obviously, so I'm hoping they'll have the same impact on my children. My kids are still young (two-and-a-half and eight months), but we read most every day. I especially love it when my two-year-old reads to me (well, quotes the books he's memorized, since we read them so often :) ).

  2. Thanks Krista! I like it when we find books that are good enough that I don't want to skim them. I was reading 'Squid will be squid' this week to my 3 yo and he got tired of it after ten minutes, but the book was so funny that I kept reading. Have fun!