Olivia and Sofia like to write words. Give them a dry-erase board and a marker and they're going to want to copy sentences from a book. Then the three of us sit around and admire their writing because it's so nice and neat. I read with the first-graders one day a week at their school; they're so, so close to having their reading skills come together. I mean, look at those boards!
Right now, reading contractions aloud is hard for these six-year-old scribes. "We're" looks like "were," "it's" is kinda strange, and "I'm" occasionally eludes them. "Tickle," though? No problem. "Tickle" they can read. Today they both read a short new book to me, and needed help only with the contractions. Afterward I read Mr. Putter and Tabby Walk the Dog to them. In that advanced beginning reader (more of a second-grade book), the main character and his cat care for a dog, Zeke, while Zeke's owner recovers from an injury. Zeke fails to manifest self control, and Mr. Putter thinks that he is a "nightmare," instead of a dream dog. "Why does he keep saying that!" Olivia wanted to know; she didn't care for describing Zeke that way.
One of the last pictures is a two-page spread of a party that Mr. Putter and Tabby have when their Zeke-walking stint is over. Their relief is palpable (to an adult), but what Olivia and Sofia liked was Arthur Howard's illustration of a table laden with cupcakes, cookies, a teapot, and a pie. "Let's draw a party!" Olivia said. They madly erased all their sentences on the dry-erase boards and drew inviting- looking parties, both of which included refrigerators to keep the drinks cold. Streamers filled the air; balloons floated among the guests. Olivia added a piñata, and Sofia made sure to have doughnuts. They put plenty of chairs around each table. All of us wanted to go those parties.
What a fine way to spend a cold, dreary winter morning.