First Son reads very well and extensively on his own, so my main goals for our reading lessons, when I'd sit next to him, were to increase vocabulary and, most importantly, convince him to expand his reading horizons a little. I think it's reasonable for a seven year old boy to want to read all the books in a series. The characters become familiar and the vocabulary tends to be similar so he's not encountering too much of the unknown. I just like him to be aware there are a lot of other authors and characters out there.
When our reading lessons started to become a bit of a battle, I made a deal with First Son. Typically, we would alternate between a book I selected and one he selected (with approval from me). So far, he's chosen all Magic School Bus chapter books.
- Song of St.Francis by Clyde Robert Bulla - I love Bulla's books! First Son and First Daughter both loved this book. It was a perfect way to start the school year. First Son did quite well reading the story.
- The Shoemaker's Boy by Joan Aiken
- The Sword in the Tree by Clyde Robert Bulla
- The Absent Author (A to Z Mysteries) by Ron Roy - This book was recommended by good friends with great taste. I needed something to replace First Son's taste for the Magic Tree House books (read what I thought of those here) because he'd read all of them. This was perfect. We read the first one together and he's making his way through all the others on his own.
- Space Explorers (The Magic School Bus Chapter Book, No. 4) by Eva Moore - Based on the recommendation of another great reading family, we started reading the Magic School Bus Chapter Books. They are nice little chapter books with lots of information. First Son adores them.
- The Magic School Bus Chapter Book #05: Twister Trouble by Ann Schreiber
- Pirate's Promise by Clyde Robert Bulla
- The Magic School Bus Chapter Book #06: The Giant Germ by Anne Capeci - You can probably tell which books First Son is picking to read.
- Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown - We read this book to death, literally. It fell apart. The kids all loved it, though. (It's always fun when First Daughter wants to be snuggled with us when First Son is reading.)
- Ribsy by Beverly Cleary - This was by far the most difficult book First Son read this year. It didn't have many chapters, but they were long with challenging vocabulary. We made it through but I think First Son tired of the challenge before we were done.
- The Great Shark Escape (The Magic School Bus Chapter Book, No. 7) by Joanna Cole
- A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert Bulla - We're still reading this one. It took a while for First Son to find it interesting, but now he sometimes asks to read more. Most of Bulla's books are now below First Son's reading level, but the stories are exciting. I'm still hoping he'll decide to ask for more of his books to read on his own.
- Penguin Puzzle (Magic School Bus Chapter Books #8) by Judith Bauer Stamper
- The Boxcar Children (The Boxcar Children, No. 1) - This is our next book and will probably be our last official book of first grade.
The Magic School Bus chapter books are quite good. They convey a large amount of information on their non-fiction topics with a familiar cast of characters and lots of silly puns. (First Son always says, "Ha ha." He likes them.)
What's the consensus among homeschooling moms? Should we continue "reading lessons" over the summer?