Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Boy + Vehicle Book = Successful Reading

My 6-year old son LOVES vehicles! No matter the variety ... Hot Wheels, Legos, NASCAR, you name it ... if it has wheels, it's the BEST thing ever. And, if it's hauling a trailer ... well, it's just heaven on earth!

He wakes up at 6:30 in the morning and begins playing with his trucks and cars ... he drives them around the console; he carries them in his backpack to school; he carries them in his pockets; he sleeps with them safely parked on the bookcase above his bed.

By the time he was three, he could name nearly every make and model driving by on the road. Even at the tender age of two, he could identify any Chevy and Acura on the road, thrilled that those were the same makes driven by Dad and Mom.

And, don't even get me started on Rescue Vehicles! We stop everything to listen for where the siren is coming from and, oh, to see a fire truck/ambulance/police car whiz by on the way to a rescue ... that's just the epitome of excitement. Thankfully, he also always adds that he hopes the accident isn't bad and everyone is okay! :-)

So ... I shouldn't have been at all surprised by Braden's choice of book at our last school book fair. Here I was, trying to pick out some early readers that might appeal to him ("Henry and Mudge"; "Dinosaur Cove", etc.), and suddenly he had disappeared from my side and I was talking to myself.

I turned to see him being pulled by some invisible force to a bookshelf down the hall. I then saw that another boy was coming from the opposite direction, clearly being pulled by that very same invisible force, with a look of both awe and focus on his face. Even though I could only see the back of his head, I imagined that Braden probably had that very same look.

Then I saw the invisible force ... sitting on display on the top shelf - "MEGA RESCUERS". A book with a large picture of a fire truck on the front, and the caption, "The most exciting rescue vehicles in the world!"

I followed Braden over to the shelf, where he immediately started pleading his case. The mother of the other boy had arrived at about the same time as I, and was hearing a similar storyline.

I wasn't sold at first ... "What about these fun chapter books that will be so good for your reading...?" I tried to reason.

But, as I watched Braden page through the book and listened to his "OH, COOL!!!" and "Look at THIS!" exclamations, I couldn't help but think this book would have the same impact on his reading that those other books would. If he wanted to learn about mountain rescuers, sea rescuers, rescue helicopters, and all the other rescue vehicles in the book, he would have to read what was written about them. So, the book was purchased.

The outcome? We not only read the book during our scheduled daily reading time ... we often find him reading the book voluntarily, on his own ... sometimes during the day, sometimes at night with his little booklight hooked over the book. Yes, he definitely enjoys all the amazing pictures ... but, he's also reading all the captions and paragraphs that go along with those pictures. And, isn't that really the point ... to enjoy reading so much that you do it when you don't have to?!

So, the "Mega Rescuers" book has done its job well. Another lesson learned by the parent of a 6-year old. And I'm just fine with that!

Happy reading (and writing)!


Jeff B said...

When he understands the joy in reading, it becomes so much more than simple words on a page.

Anthony found this same excitement when he discovered "The Magic Tree House" series a few years back.

Sherrie Petersen said...

My son was the same way about rescue vehicles...until he discovered Star Wars. I go through the same reasoning as you, wondering if I shouldn't buy a more "worthy" book. But at this point, I feel pretty safe in saying my son knows more about Star Wars than George Lucas. There are literally hundreds of books and he reads and rereads them, memorizing every detail. He's reading, comprehending, building an amazing vocabulary and going back for more. I say bring it on!

Unknown said...

Oh, that's just brilliant! I love it when kids get excited about books--whatever books they may be!

CC said...

You go mega-vehicle guy!!

Kelly H-Y said...

Hi Jeff! So true! We love 'The Magic Tree House' books!

Sherrie - You said it ... bring it on! So ... is Star Wars our next stop?! :-)

Beth and CC - Yes ... if he's excited about it, it's all good! :-)

PJ Hoover said...

So great that he loves all things wheels! Does he ever watch ice road truckers? My son watches that when we visit with Grandpa.

lotusgirl said...

That's such a cute story and so true.

I am a huge proponent of following your passion in reading especially for kids who are just learning to read. I wish schools would work with that more. When the subject matter thrills the reader, reading will happen.

My father always thought he hated to read until he found books that he enjoyed. He was in his late 60s when he realized he liked reading. "Worthy" books are not the end all be all of reading.

Kelly H-Y said...

PJ! Is that show on TLC? I don't think we've seen that one, but it sounds like it would be right up his alley!!

Lotus Girl - What a great point! And, what an amazing story about your father! Thanks for sharing that!

PJ Hoover said...

I think it's on the Discovery Channel!

Kelly H-Y said...

Thanks PJ! That's right ... I knew I'd seen it advertised on one of those learning-type channels ... it must have been when Jeff and Braden were watching 'Dirty Jobs' on the Discovery Channel! Thanks!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

My first son was the same way! It was all vehicles, all the time. I wondered if he'd ever move away from picture books of his favorite thing!
Now he's sixteen and to my delight he LOVES reading--even the books in his sophomore English class! We've had such great discussions about so many classics. It's funny...my daughter, the chapter book reader since kindergarten, never was interested in discussing them, but he sure enjoys it!

Kelly H-Y said...

Rebecca! How wonderful to hear! I hope we get to follow the same type of path as you and your son!

C.R. Evers said...

It gives me goose bumps to hear about kids getting excited about reading! How cute! I love the way you described his love for all things vehicular. :0D


Kelly H-Y said...

Isn't it great, Christy!? Thanks so much for stopping by! :-)

Anonymous said...

Isn't it magical to see your children pick up a book and enter!

Kelly Polark said...

My four year old son would be all over that book!

Kelly H-Y said...

Meredith! Yes, it definitely it so very cool!!! Thanks for visiting!

Kelly ... he would LOVE it!!! :-)