A few months ago, Bella suddenly had an interest in chapter books.
We've entered into a whole new range of books with Bella. And it seemed to happen overnight. Suddenly she wants to sit and listen to books that don't have pictures of every page, and sighs with disappointment when our chapter is over. We talk about new words and ideas, and there's still so much of her littleness as she asks why Fern's parents don't think animals can really talk or why Pa has to hunt for food. Her mind is blown when she realizes Laura and Mary had never been to a town before.
This was such a big deal to me. I’ve read to Bella almost every night of her life, and to suddenly have her fall in love with all my old books – it was an incredible feeling.
Right now we’re in the middle of Five Little Peppers. I loved this series (did you know there is more than one?!) and only a few years ago read the others.
She loved Ralph, and for a while was pretty adamant about finding a tiny motorcycle her hamster could ride on.
Thankfully (for the hamster) that dream died before he had to try it out.
This one was actually a harder book (as is Five Little Peppers). It’s a bit older, but it’s also set in the UK and many of the references had to be explained. At first, I was super frustrated by this and thought about putting it away until she was older. Then as we went along, I saw that even though many of the words and phrases she didn’t understand, she got the concept of the book itself and was incredibly interested to know what happened next. I would ask her before we started what happened the night before and she would tell me very simply where we left off.
It also allowed us to learn new words and ideas, and Five Little Peppers (because it set so long ago and even the writing is older) takes on the same. Tonight she asked why Polly getting a “pat of butter” would be a big deal to their family, and why the kids were home all day long without their mother there.
It’s a fine balance though. I do have to be careful not to start a book way over her head and just frustrate her. There are ones I can’t wait to read together (Anne of Green Gables, A Little Princess) which I think she’d *like* now but truly love and understand better in a couple of years.
This is the best part of our day together. It’s something we rarely miss doing – and I can see that years of investing in this one thing consistently is making a difference. That makes me glad, because like most moms I have a ton of, “should have done…” thoughts except in this area.
What are you all reading? How do you choose your books?