Friday, January 27, 2017

Our January Reading Goal Update

So our January Goal for this month was "A Book that Challenges You." I finished "Crime and Punishment," and I have to say that the first half challenged me. Not because of the fact it was an older classic book, but because the theme was dark, and you kept wondering what he was thinking and what was going on until the second half started answering your questions. The first half of the book bored me. Thankfully, the second half of the book was better, and the last third of the book was so good that I read it in about a day. I came to the conclusion, though, that I much prefer Tolstoy as my Russian author of choice, over Dostoyevsky. His characters are more lovable, in my opinion, and I love his philosophical bent. In fact, Tolstoy is still one of my favorite new authors of late.
My third daughter read "War and Peace" by Tolstoy and loved it as much as I did. A girl after my own heart! And she read it much faster than me, my little bookworm! She said the characters were so well-thought through that you could feel what they felt; I agreed. She said that the war parts were boring, but she agreed with me that they were well worth getting through for the main story. She also liked how the book began by discussing five different families separately and how it ended with all of their lives intertwined with one another. Like me, she liked how it opened your mind up to a different way of perceiving and understanding history.
My first daughter is almost done with "To Kill a Mockingbird." She is not much of a reader, so I have been so excited to see her get interested in the book. She said it was nice to have something else to do besides her normal hobbies. Her and my second daughter are very caught up and busy with their music and band, so they are not as determined to stick with their goals, but they do say they want to read more this year. My second daughter released the pressure from herself to get a book done every month, but she has started "Jane Eyre" and intends to finish it. My fifth daughter got frustrated with her book this month; I feel the author's speech and topics were frustrating for her level of understanding, so she decided to focus on other books. This is perfectly fine with me. I do not want reading to feel forced and unenjoyable for any of my children.
Finally, my fourth daughter finished "White Fang." She had a hard time being committed at the first, and then she really took off about the first third of the way through. I can tell that my little animal-lover enjoyed it, and she asked about a lot of new vocabulary words as she read, so I know it was a good learning experience for her.
I really encourage you, if you are any sort of a reader at all, to try something like this challenge with your children. It really brings you together as you discuss your books, and it encourages your children to become life-long learners. I have also done something like this at school where I share my reading goals with my students, and it is such a rewarding learning experience for children as you model to them reading and thinking skills in real life.

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