Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Had To Wrestle It From Her Hands

Little Miss has the attitude in life that if you can do it, she can do it better. While this will serve her well later in life, it's also the source of much frustration as the younger sister. Understandably, she doesn't get why it's hard for her to do things that her bigger brother (and Mommy and Daddy) can do so easily.

Reading is a perfect example. While she could read if she tried, the fact that she's the only one in our family struggling with it means she doesn't even want to try. If she can't be the best...

We've been working our way through the Bob Books (which I highly, highly recommend to anyone who is trying to figure out how to encourage a child to read and get more comfortable doing so). I feel like we've been reading them for what seems like years. She'll go through fits and starts where she wants to do them and learn to read and tries hard and then weeks where she won't even look at them because they're too hard and she doesn't know and why won't Mommy just read them to her?

I know she won't go to college not reading, though, and she'll figure it out at her own pace, so I don't worry about it or push her to read the books when she isn't into them. That said, she knows the rule in our house is that she can't get a library card until she has finished the Bob Book series.

Last night, I mentioned to her that her kindergarten class was going on a field trip to the library. Again. She asked if she could check out books if she had her own library card, and yes, she can. Her school has parents send in the cards, and then they manage book checkout at the library. It's pretty cool, and it's yet another reason why I love love love the school she's attending.

She thought about it for a moment before looking up at me. Mommy, I want a library card tonight.

Ummmm, ok? Well, Sweetie, you have homework we have to finish before we can read any of the Bob Books. And you do realize that we have to finish Set 5 and then the two sight word sets we have, right? That's a lot of books.

She nodded determinedly and lost the bad attitude about the homework she'd been moping about for the twenty minutes since she'd gotten off the bus. Within ten minutes, we'd finished all her homework - a genuine miracle.

Forty minutes later, we'd finished Set 5. The Sight Words books were all that were left. We were both delighted to discover that those books were super easy, Mommy. This is just easy peasy book reading and not more advanced than the Set 5 we'd just finished. I'm not sure how, but we just finished the last of the sight words books (there were ten in each of the two sets) before it was time to eat dinner.

Mommy, I finished them. All of them. I can read now. Let's go to the library right now! she exclaimed excitedly, bouncing in every direction around me.

Sweat Pea, we need to eat dinner. If you finish you dinner and we have time before bedtime, I will take you. Otherwise, it will probably have to be this weekend, do you understand?

Shockingly, she sat down and ate her meal with gusto. She drank her milk with nary a complaint (and ohhh now that we're back to rice milk, do we hear complaints on a daily basis, although adding cinnamon to it helps). We trooped into the car and the six degree night with a windchill south of sanity.

Little Miss proudly signed her name to her very first library card last night. She promised to take good care of the books she borrowed with her own card and to be responsible for any fines she might incur - although I'm pretty sure she didn't know what that last phrase meant. It didn't matter. She'd agree to give away her Lotso bear if it meant getting a library card at that point.

Once she had the library card, she held it in front of her like a beacon, proudly announcing to everyone crossing our path that she was the proud owner of a brand, new library card that she got just tonight because I can read! It was pretty cute. She bounced up the stairs to the children's area where she accosted a librarian to determine what books she should bestow the honor of being the first books to come home with her very own, brand new library card.

Two minutes later, she'd selected two Biscuit books she was confident she could read with no assistance from me, and we were on our way. She checked out her books all on her own using our way cool self-checkout technology.

(Ignore the tongue sticking out thing. She fell in school today and bit her tongue hard to the point she was sent to the nurse because the teacher couldn't stop the bleeding. It's sensitive, still, so she's been sticking it out in a misguided effort to get it to heal faster.)

Once the books were officially hers, I reached over to pick up her library card to put it into my wallet. No dice. She swiped it from beneath my fingers before I could grasp it. Mommy, that's my card, not yours. It took a full five minutes of discussing with her before she'd finally turn it over. I actually had to show her where in my wallet I kept Mister Man's library card before she'd agree that I could hold onto it for her because that is my very own card now, Mommy. Because I can read, and I finished the Bob Books, and I got my own library card. I can use it to check out books, and it belongs to me.

Welcome a new reader to our family!

Oh, and while you're at it, I finally set up a Facebook Fan page for my blog. It's way overdue. Go like me on Facebook if you would so I can get an official username - once I get enough likes. You can also follow me on Twitter, too, if you're so inclined.


Kimberly February 9, 2011 at 12:13 PM  

As I full time school librarian, I'm thrilled that Little Miss wanted a library card so badly ;)

May Biscuit books be just the beginning for her!

Hyacynth February 9, 2011 at 12:20 PM  

Yay, LM! I guess she just needed something that was worth the effort to pull her through. Good job knowing what it was, mom! :)

Megryansmom February 9, 2011 at 1:18 PM  

WTG Little Miss, toss some of that determination this way towards TOF. You know, the boy who might go to college before he learns to read. Stubborn, stubborn boy, no idea where he gets it.

Susie February 9, 2011 at 1:31 PM  

That is a big moment when they sign their names on the dotted line for the first time!! Very cool:-)

Tara R. February 9, 2011 at 1:51 PM  

Congrats to your new reader That is very exciting.

living-the-balanced-life February 9, 2011 at 4:45 PM  

Yay! She was determined! I remember the Biscuit books...
One thing that worked for us to encourage reading was to check ouyt every book about horses, since I had a horse lover. It worked fairly well!
Congrats to Little Miss!

Cris February 9, 2011 at 8:22 PM  

Love this story :) Good for her. Sounds like she is going to be reading up a storm.

Michelle February 10, 2011 at 9:50 PM  

Kimberly - As a parent of a child who NEVER remembers to return her books on the day they're due to the school library, I am truly sorry. :)

Hy - It's funny because she *wanted* it before, but I guess until she found out she was going to the library with her school on Monday and would be left without a card, she didn't REALLY want it.

Megryansmom - That's ok. Little Miss may well go to college still in Pull-Ups because she's so stubborn. It'll all work out!

Susie - It was a huge moment for her. And she read both those Biscuit books on her own the first day they were home. She's *so* proud.

Tara - It is... Mister Man's pretty excited that she'll be able to read to him sometimes instead of always the other way around :)

Michelle February 10, 2011 at 9:57 PM  

Bernice - Oops, didn't mean to leave you off! We are absolutely encouraging her to check out whatever title interests her. I'm pretty sure there will be a massive influx of Star Wars books into our house ;)

Cris - She is... especially since she has to read 120 minutes a week for school AND this week she was the top reader in minutes and doesn't want ANYone else to take over!

Pat February 13, 2011 at 5:47 PM  

Oh, that is awesome, Little Miss!! Your whole family is very proud of you!

Great job, Michelle!

Michelle February 13, 2011 at 10:04 PM  

Pat - Oh we definitely are proud. The even more cool thing? Now that she THINKS she can read, she won't stop. She read the 60+ page "Up" book yesterday and this am. Granted, many words were mispronounced, but she read it and got it. So proud.

Lynn Maslen Kertell February 15, 2011 at 4:20 PM  

Congratulations to Little Miss for finishing all the sets of Bob Books, and welcome to the wonderful world of reading! I can't think of a better reward than getting a library card. It was one of my favorite places as a kid.

Best wishes,
Lynn Maslen Kertell, and Bobby and John Maslen
Bob Books Authors

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