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)!