Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Lately, I've been giving some thought to our reading & poetry challenges for next year. We've had fun with them this year, and I feel they have served their purpose (to expose the kids to new genre's, authors, and poets). We haven't posted what we've read for every month, but we have read poems from every poet & books from every genre planned so far. While we've enjoyed the way we did these this year, I am planning to change them for next year. You see, there are only so many genres that have good books appropriate for kids. We could start digging into sub-genres, but that may also make it difficult to find good kids books as it will limit the options so much. We have enough problems finding good books for Jay, since they need to appeal to a child his age, have appropriate content for a child his age, but be written at a reading level far above that for his age. As for the poetry challenge, I just don't want my kids to limit themselves to only certain poets or styles of poetry. So, I'm planning some changes

I ran through several ideas for the reading challenge before finally settling on one. I thought about continuing the way we did it this year - a different genre each month. However, I decided that it's just too difficult to find 12 genres for next year, that we didn't do this year, that would interest a 9 year old boy (he will be 9 by January), would have a decent selection of books with content appropriate for a 9 year old boy & written at a level that is appropriate for him.

I thought about us each making a list of books & series that we wanted to read, and just work our way through our lists. However, he changes his mind too much for that. His list would change too often to keep up with it.

I thought about choosing a certain number of books to read for the year. There are 2 problems there. One is that going just by number of books read does nothing to help expand their horizons or make sure they read from several genres. They could easily hit the number while staying in a rut of just one genre. The other problem is that it would have to be a pretty large number in order to be challenging. Jay's already at almost 140 for this year, not counting books for school. Dea hasn't been very good about recording her books, and her list is at about 74.

When we were at the library last week, it hit me. I was wandering through the fiction section, slightly annoyed that Romance, Westerns, Mystery, and Sci-fi each have their own section, but horror does not. I went to the Fiction section (all the fiction that don't fit into any of the previously mentioned categories), started at Z and worked my way toward A (don't ask why, that's just the end I started at). I was walking down each aisle, looking at the shelves, just hoping to find a few good horror books for October. That's when it hit me. We will read our way through the alphabet. We will go to the Fiction section, start with A and read our way to Z. Then, once we hit Z, we can start back at A and just make sure we choose different books for each letter. Of course, we'll be going by author's last name, not by book title (that would be much more difficult). This will encourage us to read authors & books we've never read before.

So, that is next year's reading challenge - Read Our Way Through the Alphabet.

For poetry, we will simply choose a different poetry book each week, never choosing the same poet 2 weeks in a row. I may even alternate between books from the kids section and books from the adult section.

Dea has asked to participate in the reading challenge next year. I told her that was fine as long as she actually recorded what she read. She is theoretically participating in this year's reading challenge, but never gets me a list of what she has been reading. She has her own blog, so I will encourage her to post on it with her list of books read for the reading challenge.