Thursday, August 18, 2011

Flat Stanley Visits the Library

Stanley discovers one of his books at our local library. Hooray!!
He was even more excited to discover that while this was the only one
on the shelf, our library does carry others, and if they are not on the shelf then
that means that kids are reading them. Awesome!

The other day we took a trip to our local library. The kids had worked hard helping me clean our (horrendously messy and over-stuffed) garage for a large portion of the day, and I promised them a reward of a trip to the llibrary for their efforts. I love it when the lure of books and libraries are ample rewards for hard work...

Firefly is getting to be good buddies with Flat Stanley.
She asked if he could be an honorary Amigo the other day, 
and we all agreed he could.

Of course, I headed straight back to the children's section with the younger kids and Stanley, while Tex headed to the conference room to give the Chess Club a try (which he wound up loving, even if he lost quite a bit. After all, you have to start somewhere...). Fortunately for us, the Children's area was nearly deserted, so the kids had free rein over what activities they chose to do. 

The Three Amigos chose to try some of the educational computer games (Ladybug loved the DK History Explorer game...she visited the Incans, the Greeks, the Egyptians, and the Romans. She was completely disgusted to learn that the Romans ate songbirds...eeyeuw!), while Boo ran around trying a bit of everything, from some nifty I Spy blocks to the large magnetic letter board, from the wooden castle to the huge foam building blocks. Each of the other Amigos stopped their computer explorations from time to time to play with Boo and do whatever he was doing. They built several large forts and Ladybug made a play for him using the wooden Royal Family who lives in the castle.

Boo had to pose with Stanley, too. Too bad it's a bit blurry.

Stanley and Boo helped me pick out a stack of Easy Readers for the Amigos to read this week for their Reading Challenge. All summer they have been earning prizes by reading ten books at a time independently, which they record using these bookmarks we found on Enchanted Learning. Ladybug has favored using the pencil or the ice cream cone bookmark (each one has about ten lines to write on), while Cowboy has used the rocket. Firefly has the pencil, but she gets prizes according to which books I, or one of the other kids, reads aloud to her.

For each ten books, I've offered a prize. The first ten earned a full-sized candy bar for each successful participant (this is not something they usually get). The second ten eared their choice of a new book each (again, new books are not the norm around here...we usually buy used). The third ten earned a trip to get an ice cream cone. Maybe the fourth ten will earn them an I Spy game for their computer. I actually already have one I am hiding (don't tell them!) that I got on sale, and that would be a nifty way to give it to them.

My Royal Readers...gallant Prince Cowboy, lovely Princess Ladybug, 
and sweet Princess Firefly.

Our library offered an interesting summer program this year, revolving around "One World, Many Stories." This actually tied in well with our goal of studying World History this year, especially since they offered the Flat Stanley Worldwide Adventure kit bags all summer (each bag was stocked with a Flat Stanley book, several books along the same theme, an activity or two, and perhaps some sort of manipulative, such as puppets, an instrument, a cd of music, or a thematic Viewmaster set). 

This shows the contents for the kit that went with The Amazing Mayan Secret book from Flat Stanley. Not only did the kids love the story (and it had a good lesson in it, which they still talk about..."It's not what you have, it is how you use it,"), but Tex and I enjoyed watching a few movies on the Mayans and their language and customs on Netflix that week. I've always thought they were kind of gory (they are), and so never studied them, but now I find at least the language kind of interesting. Even old dogs can learn new tricks!

The kids loved reading the Flat Stanley books, then when he actually showed up in our mailbox (courtesy of homeschooling friends), they really got motivated! Unfortunately, the usual prizes of free books for reading were not offered this year. Tickets toward a bike drawing were the prize instead, and my kids did not need a bike, and frankly, even if a new bike might have been nice, I didn't feel right having them compete against kids who might actually need one and didn't already have one. That is why we started our own set of motivational rewards.

They have no problem getting through most books now.
What one doesn't quite get, the other fills in. Cooperation is great!

 In any case, the goal of interesting the kids in reading on their own daily (instead of relying on me to read out loud to them, or merely looking at the pictures), has been accomplished, and for that I am very grateful and excited! It is wonderful to see them sitting on the couch ( or my cedar chest) with piles of books in their laps, knowing that they are really reading them word for word now. Many doors to new worlds are opened to them now. What an adventure awaits!!

The kids enjoyed this visit to the library. We will have to do it again soon. We wound up toting home over forty books and one movie. Stanley insisted we see if any of his books were available before we left, and we found a copy of Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures: The Mount Rushmore Calamity. Of course, he insisted on posing with it (see top pictures).

"Stanley! What are you doing? Stop jumping on the furniture!"

 Overall, Stanley has been very well-behaved, as I would expect, but once I did catch him jumping on the furniture (see above). He had to have a brief time-out for that infraction, but he didn't mind too much since I made him sit in such an interesting and unusual chair...he said the chair reminds him of Dr. Seuss books, and he told me he loves Dr. Seuss. 

It's hard to be upset by having a time out when the chair 
is like something out of The Cat in the Hat...

Stanley will be with us for a few more weeks, so keep checking back here for more of his adventures!



We linked to The Reading Aloud Challenge at Footprints in the Butter. Check it out!!
We love to read!!


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

What a fantastic post! I love it! That FS kit that your children got from the library is great!! It sounds like you had a very successful reading experience this summer. I love the pics of your kids all dressed up--one of my dd's is almost always in costume. So glad you linked up To RAT!

Heather Lynn said...

Awesome rewards! I think the FS thing is so cool. Maybe we need to get in on that. :)

The pictures are great too. I found you through searching for the sermon notes for "What to Expect from your 12 year old", but I am also on the crew with you. This is my first year. I am now following you.

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