Tuesday, April 27, 2010

First Son's Book List, the First Fifty of Kindergarten

Here's the list of the first fifty books First Son read as part of his "reading lessons" this year. He read many more books than these, of course. He loved reading to his sisters and just out loud to himself at other times of the day. Many of these books were also read more than once.
  1. The Frog and Toad Treasury by Arnold Lobel
  2. Tillie Lays An Egg by Terry Golson
  3. The Real Hole by Beverly Cleary
  4. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney (abridged)
  5. Are You a Grasshopper? (Backyard Books) by Judy Allen
  6. The Biggest Dinosaurs by Michael Berenstain
  7. Big Chickens by Leslie Helakoski
  8. Are You a Dragonfly? (Backyard Books) by Judy Allen
  9. Big Chickens Fly the Coop by Leslie Helakoski
  10. Are You a Butterfly? (Backyard Books) by Judy Allen
  11. Today Is Monday by Eric Carle
  12. Fox In Socks by Dr. Seuss
  13. Becoming Butterflies by Anne Rockwell
  14. A Day in the Life of Murphy (Bccb Blue Ribbon Picture Book Awards (Awards)) by Alice Provensen
  15. Roar!: A Noisy Counting Book by Pamela Duncan Edwards
  16. Dora in the Deep Sea (Dora the Explorer Ready-to-Read) by Christine Ricci (ugh)
  17. Minnie and Moo: The Case of the Missing Jelly Donut (I Can Read Book 3) by Denys Cazet
  18. Are You a Ladybug? (Backyard Books) by Judy Allen
  19. Are You a Bee? (Backyard Books) by Judy Allen
  20. AlphaOops!: The Day Z Went First by Alethea Kontis
  21. Into The A, B, Sea: An Ocean Alphabet Book by Deborah Lee Rose
  22. Do Not Open This Book by Michaela Muntean
  23. Chickens Aren't the Only Ones (World of Nature Series) by Ruth Heller
  24. Storm is Coming! by Heather Tekavec
  25. Little Fox Goes to the End of the World by Ann Tompert
  26. It Could Always Be Worse: A Yiddish Folk Tale (Michael Di Capua books) by Margot Zemach
  27. Eric Carle's Animals Animals (selected poems)
  28. Egg Drop by Mini Grey
  29. Katy and The Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton
  30. Boo and Baa at Sea by Olof Landstrom and Lena Landstrom
  31. Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh
  32. Dinosaur Dream by Dennis Nolan
  33. Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Tree House, No. 1) by Mary Pope Osborne *
  34.  The Knight at Dawn (Magic Tree House, No. 2) by Mary Pope Osborne *
  35. Mouse Soup  by Arnold Lobel
  36. Mummies in the Morning (Magic Tree House, No. 3) by Mary Pope Osborne *
Up until this point, I really let First Son pick anything he wanted off the shelf or from the pile of library books. He didn't always choose a challenging book, but I wanted to focus on developing his enjoyment of reading more than anything else. He read so widely on his own that I thought it likely he was progressing even if I wasn't sure myself of the rate. It was also much easier to use this approach when I was in the midst of all that first trimester unpleasantness. Once I was feeling better, in January, I started researching some ways I could direct his reading to more challenging books. The hardest part for me was finding books that would challenge him just enough. I didn't even know where to begin.

After much searching on the web, I found some leveled reading lists that gave me a place to start. I searched for books that were a bit challenging for First Son when we read them together and pulled ones on the same lists that I knew we had on the shelves or that I'd read and liked from the library.

Then I discovered the Lexile Framework. I can't say whether it's an adequate measure, really, but I have found some helpful suggestions using the Find a Book feature. Again, I searched for books we were already reading, then used the same range to find new books. What I like best about this particular site is the ability to refine the results using scales on the list for not only reading ability, but age. While not everything they think is appropriate for a six year old is something I think is appropriate for my six year old, it's wonderful to be able to eliminate a great many books we all think are inappropriate for him.

Moving forward, I was still very lenient with what First Son selected to read, but I tried to keep a shelf stocked with books I believed were close to a level that would be challenging (with me sitting beside and helping with any difficult words).
  1. Mercy Watson Fights Crime by Kate DiCamillo
  2. The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses (Richard Jackson Books (Atheneum Hardcover)) by Paul Goble
  3. Hot Fudge Hero by Pat Brisson
  4. Attack of the Tyrannosaurus (Dinosaur Cove, No. 1) by Rex Stone (This was actually a bit too hard when we first read it together.)
  5. Pirates Past Noon (Magic Tree House, No. 4) by Mary Pope Osborne *
  6. Night of the Ninjas (Magic Tree House, No. 5) by Mary Pope Osborne *
  7. Bertie's Picture Day by Pat Brisson
  8. Midnight on the Moon (Magic Tree House, No. 8) by Mary Pope Osborne * (He read numbers 6 and 7, too, just not during our reading lessons.)
  9. The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
  10. Squids Will Be Squids (Picture Puffins) by Jon Scieszka (selected morals)
  11. Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp by Carol Diggory Shields
  12. Ghost Town at Sundown (Magic Tree House) by Mary Pope Osborne *
  13. If I Had a Million Onions by Sheree / Yayo (selected poems)
Kindergarten isn't over yet (though I'm certainly slowing down...) so I'll probably post another list showing the rest of the "official" books in a few months.
    See here for my thoughts on the Magic Tree House series.

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