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Reading with a Third Grader, 11.7.07

Img_0418 Junior has never been one to divulge a lot of details about school. Days are usually "fine" or "okay," and that's that. We asked him what he reads for silent reading time at school and were told, "Mysteries." When asked to elaborate, he said, "I read my mysteries." We have no idea what he's talking about. Try and pursue the line of conversation and you get, "I read my mysteries. I told you that!" (No doubt the parent-teacher conference will shed some light on the matter.) We do know that the teacher is reading Sewer Soup aloud to the class and that Junior thinks it's "good."

The third graders are required to read for 25 minutes each night, and Junior likes this part of his homework. He's fond of picture books and the comics genre in particular: Calvin & Hobbes, Babymouse, Owly, Garfield, the Sardine series. Although a capable reader, he avoids chapter books at home—which is why we asked him about what he reads at school. In order to encourage a little exploration in that area, I've been borrowing audiobooks from the public library, so he can read along with the narration.

Lately he and I have been listening to Avi's Poppy, which is about a deer-mouse family who lives under the rule of one Mr. Ocax, an owl and a "big meanie." Just yesterday we were visiting a local nature center, and one of the resident (and caged) owls started to clatter his beak at us, just like Mr. Ocax does when he's hungry. Spooky! Much to Junior's delight, we also saw plenty of owl pellets, the regurgitated parts of meals that owls cannot digest; Poppy is particularly appalled when she spots these near Mr. Ocax's perch. So, along with the good story line, Junior is picking up a bit of owl lore too. I enjoy seeing him make these connections. No mystery there.


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We love Owly too, and are expecting the fourth book any day now...

Oh, boy, there is lots to look forward to in the series--that's good to know!

It's been more than a week since I've had the chance to stop by your blog, and I was having withdrawals! But you've given me lots to read, which I always appreciate!

Yeah, my kiddo is pretty hush about school like that, too. Parent-teacher conferences are next week - I'm sure to find out loads...even if the alloted time is only five friggin minutes.


At first, I thought Owly was short for the Billy Hooten: Owlboy series, which I've not yet seen. Why did owls get so popular all of a sudden?

Laura, 5 minutes? Holy cannoli.

Kelly, I was going to say Harry Potter, but Avi's owl predates that. Could the owl fascination go back to Winnie-the-Pooh? I dunno.

Have you and Junior seen the Mouse Guard books by David Petersen? I have not read one yet but they look very cool. Sort of Redwall in graphic novel form.

I think Poppy has achieved "classic" status based on the number of kids who love the book.

Camille, I don't know those books. Thanks for the tip! Our library has at least one, which I'm going to reserve. It's checked out.

I love Mouse Guard! The website is eye candy - get your fix while you're waiting for the book.

Okay, I am officially a nut. I couldn't get Mouseguard right away because our library's copy was on hold--for Junior. (He got a phone call today telling him it was in.) I forgot one of my wonderful librarian friends had recommended it for him. So, I HAVE heard of it and we'll pick it up today!

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