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Christy Catherine Marshall

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June 23, 2010

Our church recently made it through a full week of Vacation Bible School, using Lifeway’s western theme, Saddle Ridge Ranch. We had a fantastic turnout, with over 400 in attendance, and I have to say this was one of my favorite themes. Yee-haw! I’m wondering if any of you out there have used this with your church VBS.

The motto, “Need Answers? Ask God!” was easy for kids to remember, and we memorized the key scripture, James 1:5, in unison:

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.

VBS has come a long way since my days of singing “Deep and Wide” and drinking orange Kool-Aid from Dixie cups. It’s a major task trying to reach this generation of high-tech kids, but I think Lifeway has once again done a great job.

In my tiny speck of the globe, I worked with the fifth graders, on the third floor of our Southern Baptist church. I really enjoyed this age group. We spent about an hour teaching the lesson, broken up into different games and activities. The rest of the morning, the kids went to worship ralley, crafts, snack, music, and recreation.

I found it amusing that one of the boys used his ipod to look up scripture, and he was always the first one to find it. “EPIC” seemed to be the word of the week, as in “Epic, man! That is so cool!” It’s exciting for me to be around kids who are being exposed to the Bible for the first time.

We once asked a question about Joseph, and a little voice piped up, “Is he the guy that got thrown in the lion’s den?” To which someone giggled, “No! That was Daniel, you dork.” We passed out Bibles and asked the kids to look up scripture. One girl flipped hers open then whispered to me, “Is Genesis before or after Isaiah?”

I loved all of this. These fifth graders will come of age around 2020 or 2030. They’ll be making decisions someday about where to live, what to do with their lives, whom to trust. I hope they’ll remember these days of VBS and seek the still, small voice of God as they plan their journeys.

The highlight this year was definitely the music! Jeff Slaughter did an amazing job with keeping the kids interested. I don’t know if he wrote and choreographed all the songs, but he’s the guy we saw dancing around on a big screen every morning singing “Tumbleweed” and “Like Jesus” (my personal favorites). You can listen to the songs here.

And now we have a whole year to get ready for the new 2011 theme: Big Apple Adventure!




June 1, 2010



I reviewed this book nearly five years ago on Amazon, and I don’t think I’ve ever posted it here. Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is still in print, and I noticed it’s garnered 549 reviews, from 1996 to 2010. WOW. I’d call this book a success from both author and publisher standpoint. Many books barely stay in print 3 years, much less garner hundreds of reviews over a 14-year time period.

Educating your child never goes out of style.

I used this method to teach three of my children to read, and I was thinking about pulling it off the shelf this summer just for something fun to do with my five-year-old. I’m a lot more laid back than I was a decade ago. Now I think … what’s the rush?

Parents feel so much pressure to help their kids get an early start in reading … but kids need to be active and healthy more than anything. Let them run, jump, explore, play, dig, swim, touch, slide, kick! I see so many children with eyeglasses now — I’m wondering if all this early reading push might be straining their eyesight. I even saw a commercial recently where a mother was teaching her baby to read before it could even talk. WHY??!!

But if your child is showing signs of reading readiness, here’s a good way to go about the process. So, without further ado, here’s my Amazon review, published in September 2005:

SIMPLIFY YOUR TEACHING; SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE

I’m using this book to teach my third child how to read, so I think it’s high time I wrote a review of it. Parents, this is the only book you need to get started on the most important skill they’ll ever learn. And YOU can be the one to teach them!

There are lots of fancy-schmancy phonics programs with bells and whistles — and games and prizes and treasure chests and eight million little stickers and tiny books to keep up with. If you like all that, and need all that, then more power to you. I can barely keep up with everything else I have going on, much less a complicated method of teaching my child to read.

Simplify your life, and just get started. For less than 20 bucks, you’ll have your child well on his or her way to reading.

OK, the title is a little misleading. It’s not EASY, by any means. Especially if you have an active four-year-old boy. Let him do his lessons standing up, lying on the floor, jumping up and down the stairs, out in the yard — he’s active, and let his gross motor skills be used while he’s learning. It takes 10 minutes of super-focusing — but in between the different parts of each lesson, let your child move around. You want him to love reading!

Also, don’t feel like you have to do the writing task of each lesson. My girls love to write, so this was fun for them. But I skipped it with my son until he was more ready to hold a pencil. Actually, we did some lessons out in the driveway, with a fat piece of chalk. He had a great time and usually ended up drawing a whole train system or town after we finished his lesson.

It works. It really does. And it’s amazing to be sitting next to your child the first time they learn to read the word, “see.” Or “mom.” (“Mom! I just read the word ‘mom!'” they’ll say.) It’s something you’ll always remember doing together.

You don’t have to be a reading teacher. You don’t need any special skills or experience. You read the script in red print. You stay on task. And you finish the lesson. Then you praise your child and tell her how smart and wonderful she is!

With each of my kids, we made a VERY SIMPLE chart that had 100 squares on it. I just used a ruler and made some lines and put numbers in them — didn’t even use the computer. It took 5 minutes. Then, after we did a lesson, I let the child put a sticker over the number. Any kind of sticker. All those hodge-podge sheets of stickers you end up with — they work great for a reading chart.

I let each child pick a reward they wanted to receive when they finished all 100 of the lessons. That gave them great incentive to get through the whole book.

For extra practice, I recommend the Bob books, which you can see listed on this site. Kids love these books — they’re adorable. Scholastic makes a good set of beginner readers as well. But you don’t need anything else besides this one book — the little Bob readers can just help reinforce.

As a busy parent, this is one of the most enjoyable things you’ll ever do with your child. But don’t feel like you have to rush — do a few lessons, and if you need to take a break, then do. I highly recommend Raymond and Dorothy Moore’s BETTER LATE THAN EARLY if you’re the type to freak out that your three-year-old can’t write his ABC’s. Too many parents push their children and ruin their eyesight at a young age.

Have fun watching the light go on!




May 17, 2010

Parents today face many challenges trying to raise children who are kind, respectful, and exhibit good character qualities. Sometimes it seems like an impossible task.

I’m in the thick of it, with my kids still in preschool, elementary school, and middle school. I have no idea how they’ll turn out, and I cringe at the thought of giving anyone advice on parenting.

Still I have hope, which is all we need, right? What I do is try to surround myself with amazing people who are experts in certain areas, and I seek them out for advice. So here, I want to point out to you a wonderful program that has been an immense blessing to our family.

You can read about the National League of Junior Cotillions on their website. In our hometown, this program reaches sixth through eighth grade students, and it’s one of those word-of-mouth things where you hear about it from somebody whose kids are in it. There’s a limited space, and it fills up extremely fast.

So I’m telling you about it now, because if you’re interested, you can look up your state on the website, find out if you have a local program, and contact the director. The directors are planning the 2010-11 season now, so if you want to get involved, now’s the time.

Here are a few topics the classes cover:

EVERYDAY MANNERS
* First impressions
* Introductions
* Greeting and shaking hands
* Paying and receiving compliments
* Correspondence
* Telephone manners
* Family dining
* Table manners
* Polite conversation
* When to rise
* Doors and coats
* Sports etiquette

FORMAL MANNERS
* Formal dining
* Party courtesies
* Hosting a party
* Receiving lines
* Eating unusual foods
* Instructional dinners

CHARACTER EDUCATION
* Honesty
* Integrity
* Promise keeping
* Fidelity
* Caring
* Respect
* Citizenship
* Excellence
* Accountability
* Handling peer pressure

ELECTRONIC ETIQUETTE
* Cell Phone Courtesies
* Phones and Digital Manners at Home
* Electronic Etiquette at Home, School, or Office
* Fax, Copier and Printer Protocol
* Digital Courtesies in Public Places
* Parent’s Guide to Electronic Etiquette

TODAY’S “NETIQUETTE”
-Rules associated with the use of web surfing, emails and instant messaging
* Responsibility
* Ethicality
* Consideration

DANCE
* Music appreciation
* Teamwork
* Timing
* Coordination
* Basic dance courtesies
* Current popular line dances
* Dance include the Waltz, Fox Trot, Cha Cha Cha, Shag/Swing,
Rhumba, and Tango.

Our local program hosts two balls: a winter ball and a spring ball. For all of us moms whose daughters have grown up reading books and watching movies about princesses, these balls are dreams come true. In the spring, the girls all wear white dresses, with elegant white gloves, and the ballroom scene creates a gorgeous picture of budding womanhood. The boys, I must add, look mighty handsome in their coats and ties.

In her novel, Betsy in Spite of Herself, Maud Hart Lovelace, describes the dance programs that were being created for the Leap Year Dance of 1908:

Tacy and Alice are making the programs. They’re terribly cute, with a bar from the ‘Merry Widow Waltz’ painted on the cover. But fifteen dances, Julia! Cab will ask me for one, of course, and Tony, and Dennie, and Pin, and Al, probably, and Squirrelly and Harry, but that’s only seven. I’ve fifteen to fill.

Over a hundred years later, I have the feeling that Maud Hart Lovelace would be pleased that girls are still filling out dance cards and waltzing through their coming-of-age years. As a parent, it was a happy experience for me, and I’m passing my joy along to you.






April 28, 2010

One of my favorite places in the world is a red brick building on an emerald patch of heaven in Montgomery, Alabama.

I’d let the years slip by without visiting. Two decades. Like an old friend, I missed this little oasis of literature and decided to do something about it last fall.

I was supposed to be working on a Nanowrimo project, but things got rough. I took a breather and clicked over to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival website — when inspiration hit!

A play! Yes! The play’s the thing!

I discovered two upcoming Shakespeare plays, All’s Well That Ends Well and Hamlet. I chose “Hamlet” because there are so many famous quotes taken from this play — plus, I figured my son might like the sword-fighting scenes. My husband liked the idea and so we bought a few extra tickets for extended family to join us, (which made great Christmas presents!).

Then the waiting began. April seemed forever away — but finally the big date arrived. We headed down the highway to Montgomery … and a trip down memory lane for me.

When I was an English major at Auburn University, my professors took us to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival every quarter. I remember seeing tragedies “Romeo and Juliet” and “Julius Caesar,” and the comic “As You Like It.” It was such a treat to get away from dorm life and essay exams. I loved seeing the plays performed live on the stage.

I never imagined 20 years later, I’d be bringing my own family with me.

When we entered the theater, the room seemed hazy, as a smoke machine of some sort created an atmosphere of fog. Nearly every seat was filled, and I noticed rows and rows of teenagers.

We sat next to a group of kids, and I wondered if they were on a field trip. I struck up a conversation with their teacher who told me there were 60 students altogether, from a Christian school literary club in northeast Alabama.

The girl next to me wore blue jeans and smiled at me, popping gum and showing her braces. “I can’t wait for this to start,” she confided. “Our teacher told us all about it. I think Hamlet is going to be so cool.”

Behind us, a row of teens chatted and laughed, some texting on neon cell phones, others nodding in rhythm to unknown tunes from their ipods. I wondered if they would get Shakespeare. Would it seem too, you know, ancient for them?

The play began, and we were all spellbound.



Nathan Hosner’s portrayal of Hamlet was so realistic I don’t think you had to understand a single word to know what emotions he expressed. We held our breath as he soliloquized and felt our eyes water up at the tragedy.

We were the audience Shakespeare originally wrote for, the masses who sought escape from the sweat and toil of Elizabethan England.

I peeked at the girl next to me and the row of teens behind me. They were all leaning forward, perched on the edge of their seats, not a whisper among them. Over four hundred years after this play was written, we were still totally enthralled.

At the intermission, I overheard a girl behind me say, “When are they all gonna start getting killed? I thought everybody dies in this play.”

“It’s coming up,” somebody answered.

And of course, in the end, the tragedy unfolds with devastating consequences. We left, pondering how it all happened, what Hamlet should have done differently, why revenge isn’t the best course of action, etc.

In the program, Dr. William Engel explained:

Part of why this play remains so popular is its fearless examination of human nature. It explores, among other things, authentic responses to grief and mourning, the uncertain line between sanity and madness, the stresses of dating and marriage, and the pressures of living up to parents’ expectations.

Shakespeare spoke to all of us that evening, whether we dressed up in coat and tie or donned our favorite blue jeans. I can’t wait to go back again.

As an added bonus to our trip, we swung by Auburn on the way home, my first time back in 15 years. It’s the place where I learned to love the lines of Shakespeare, and where a whole new generation is reading him now.


Samford Hall, Auburn University





March 18, 2008

I receive a LOT of press releases from PR firms asking me to post announcements on my site. Usually I ignore these because I don’t want to waste your time here by turning into a junky blog full of commercials for other people’s stuff!

But THIS contest I found worthy of your attention for two reasons:

1) It involves writing an essay, with a deadline. I’m always in favor of finding ways to motivate kids to see that English grammar and composition actually DO have a purpose in life beyond school. If they (or YOU) can write an essay strong enough to persuade the judges in this contest, it’s a great way to honor someone you love (and there are some mighty fine prizes, as you’ll see below!).

2) This is a contest to honor teachers. I love teachers! I am, on occasion, a teacher!

So here’s the announcement:

Lands’ End is announcing the Teachers Light the Way Contest. The company will recognize outstanding teachers that have made a difference in the life of a student, a school or a community.

Forty-five (45) teachers will receive the coveted Lands’ End Lighthouse Award – representing the company’s 45-year history.

o Three (3) Grand Prize winners that will receive between $4,000-$10,000 for the teachers to split with the winning school.
o Forty-two (42) Honorable Mention winning teachers will receive a $100 Lands End gift card.

But that’s not all – readers who nominate a Grand Prize winning teacher will also receive a $250 Lands’ End gift card. Readers who nominate an Honorable Mention winning teacher will get a $25 Lands End gift card.

If your readers would like to recognize an extraordinary teacher or get more information, they can submit an essay up to 500 words and fill out the online entry form at www.landsend.com/teacheraward.

The contest will end at midnight, April 17, 2008.




December 6, 2007

Jotham's Journey: A Storybook for Advent (Jotham's Journey Trilogy)

Thank you so much to Tina who commented in my Advent post that Arnold Ytreeide’s Advent books are coming back in print, thanks to the great folks at Kregel!

Tina gave me Arnold Ytreeide’s website, Jotham’s Journey, which I visited and read this wonderful news:

In October 2007, author Arnold Ytreeide signed a contract with Kregel Publications of Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the re-printing of Jotham’s Journey. It is Kregel’s intention to have the books available for the 2008 Christmas season.

Depending on sales of Jotham, the other books may also be re-printed in subsequent years. But if Kregel decides to end their involvement after Jotham, another publisher is already interested, so there’s still hope that Bartholomew, Tabitha and other books will follow.

In the meantime, watch for Jotham beginning in the summer of 2008 at major on-line booksellers as well as most Christian distributors. You can also watch for it on Kregel’s site.

We’d like to say a huge “Thanks!” to the thousands of people who have written, called, and even visited over the last several years as Jotham was looking for a new home. We appreciate so much the suggestions, praise, and encouragement. Finding a publisher for a book is not an easy task — every book is a huge risk for a publisher, so they’re very careful in selecting books for publication. Your letters and emails helped keep Jotham alive!

When these books are back in print, everybody go out and buy them so they’ll STAY in print! It is so awesome to have Advent stories like these that draw families together. As a mom with five children ranging in age from 2 to 11, we love having these books to help teach our kids about the true meaning of Christmas in new and interesting ways.

Tabitha's Travels: A Family Story for Advent (Jotham's Journey Trilogy)

This year, we’re going to be reading Tabitha’s Travels, and I can’t WAIT to get started. I’m being honest here and telling you that we haven’t begun our 2007 Advent storytime yet. Our weeknights have been so busy and exhausting that we’re going to wait until this weekend.

But I DID go to Hobby Lobby a few days ago to pick up pink, purple, and white Advent candles, and I’ve got the Advent wreath set up. I’m looking forward to starting this new journey with Tabitha. I would love to hear what materials you’re using to help celebrate the joy of Christmas with your family this year.

I would never have heard of Jotham’s Journey if another mom in my hometown hadn’t shared it with me.

By: Heather Ivester in: Books,Children's Books,Education,Faith,Family,Parenting | Permalink | Comments Off on Jotham’s Journey Coming Back in Print



November 5, 2007

As I type this, I’m escaping for a few minutes into the clean world of letters on a keyboard. What a relief!

A terrible stomach bug has moved through our house. Ugh! One of those preschool bugs. All seven of us have caught it. Good thing I’m not contagious through your screen, or you’d hate me.

My two-year-old came down with it first. I had thought maybe she’d just eaten too much Halloween candy — but it turns out that was only the beginning of what has kept my washing machine in constant use!

At any rate, I’m determined to make it through this Bible study journey, and here we are on week 8.

A few of us have already started to discuss what we’re going to study next — after the Christmas break. We’re first browsing through our church’s media supplies — to see if they’ve already purchased a study we can use. (We really enjoyed Mary Kassian’s Conversation Peace last spring and would like something like this again.)

This week was a short session for us. We didn’t have any discussion of last week’s homework! All we did was watch the video because several of the women in our group had to leave early to be downstairs for the preschool costume parade (including me). But we decided this was the best option instead of canceling.

The homework in our workbooks focused on Daniel 7, exploring the four beasts from Daniel’s dream. I’m so glad we’re studying this book chapter by chapter because I wasn’t overwhelmed at all. I recognized the four kingdoms that the four beasts symbolize.

There is a neat chart on p.138 that we filled in, showing the four empires and how they’re symbolized in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream from Daniel 2 and later in Daniel’s vision in Daniel 7. The empires are:

Babylon — golden head, lion with eagle’s wings
Medo-Persian — silver chest and arms, lopsided bear
Grecian — bronze belly and thighs, leopard with wings
Roman — iron legs, beast with 10 horns

I really enjoyed this homework, especially toward the end of the week as Beth explained very clearly the difference between amillennialism, historic premillennialism, and dispensational premillennialism. I’ve never really understood these points of view in such detail, yet I LOVE using my brain to think through these things.

Our homework includes charts that help it make more sense, and I’m definitely going to keep this workbook handy as a tool to be able to teach this someday (maybe to teens). Beth makes the point again and again that brilliant scholars disagree on these issues, and we would be wise to study the different points of view on our own.

As the week wraps up, Beth says, “You can do this, Dear One! Ask God for focus and a supernatural ability to learn … Where the healthy mind is concerned, exercise prolongs sharpness. If Scripture is brain food, eschatology is an energy bar on steroids.”

I’m still processing what we learned from the video — the history lessons are so cool to me. I went through 12 years of public school and 6 years of a public university education — so I’ve never studied world history from a Biblical point of view. Oh, I wish something greater for my children!

The people we’re learning about now are leaders of the Gentile Empires that ruled over Israel, known as the Beautiful Land. So we’re studying Alexander the Great, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, as well as Cassander, Lysimachus, Ptolemy, and Seleucus. Some of these names are familiar to me from world history classes I’ve taken — yet I only learned what I needed to know to pass a test. Now that I’m learning about the impact they had on Christianity, I’m fascinated.

More than ever, I WISH I could read the Bible in its original languages. If you’re young and haven’t gone to college yet — PLEASE don’t waste those precious years when your only responsibility is to learn! Study Hebrew and Greek!

Someday, when my kids are older, this is what I plan to do. I’m not all that great with learning languages, but I loved learning Japanese, so why couldn’t I force my brain to learn how to read Hebrew and Greek? When I read my Japanese Bible, I’m amazed at the deeper meanings I can pick up from scripture. I know that my understanding of God’s Word, limited only to English, is like drinking a watered-down Coca-Cola (you know how it tastes when the ice melts!).

I want the REAL thing!

God, thank you for giving us a hunger and thirst for your Word that comes from your Holy Spirit, inhabiting our minds. Thank you for the joy we’ve found through this study, that has unlocked some of the secrets of the Scriptures. Give us the energy and health to finish up this journey through Daniel! We love you, Lord, and want to know your Word more so that we can know YOU more. (And please help this stomach bug to move quickly through our house — and be gone!) AMEN.




April 5, 2007

I saw this quiz on Christine Lynxwiler’s blog and thought I’d give it a try. It was pretty basic — but I did have to guess a couple of times!

As a parent taking this quiz, I’m so thankful my kids are growing up learning the Bible — I think I’ll let them try this quiz out and see how they do! (Give yourself a few minutes — there are around 40 questions!)

You know the Bible 100%!

 

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses – you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

By: Heather Ivester in: Education,Faith | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)



March 14, 2007


I’ve debated about posting something about school sign-ups — which are going on right now all over the U.S. But then, oh, how I wish I’d known about this back in 1999, when I was still a new mother with two young children, and we moved.

I didn’t know about school registrations until it was too late. If you want to get your children in the school of your choice next year, March is the time to do it. Don’t wait until June or July, when it’s hot, and you’re feeling frazzled. It will be too late then. Most good preschools have a waiting list by the end of March.

In our area, we live five minutes from our church, which has a wonderful preschool — I love it. Since we presently have a child enrolled in the school, we can register for next year a day before it’s open to the public — but even so, I’ve learned I have to get to the school at least an hour before the sign-ups start, or most of the classes are filled. By the end of registration, there is a long waiting list of parents hoping someone will drop out and open up a spot for fall.

I’ve changed my thinking about preschool — I used to feel like it was unnecessary — especially for stay-home moms! But now I know that it’s not about getting kids to speed-read by the age of 4; it’s about building relationships — and giving moms a little break.

We used to live in a town that had several active play groups, and the moms would meet at local parks — so we got plenty of social interaction. Then we moved — and it was a real struggle for me to even see other moms like me.

We lived on a rural road where it wasn’t safe for me to walk alone with a stroller — although I did anyway out of the need for exercise. We moved in June, and by the time September came around, I thought it might be nice to have my oldest (who had just turned three) enrolled in a little morning preschool a couple of times a week. But when I started calling around, I was told, “I’m sorry. Our slots were all filled in March. Would you like us to add you to our waiting list?”

So, that was the year we got involved in toddler gymnastics and mommy-and-me art, which helped get me out of the house to meet other moms and kids. And I became a faithful attender to the Wednesday morning library storytime.

But I learned my lesson — and got my oldest signed up for school by March the next year (by then I was pregnant with #3 and really needing some help). The morning preschool was great for my son, even though we decided to homeschool him for the next three years. It gave our mornings a nice routine and allowed me an easy way to interact with other families who had children the same age as mine.

All this to say — if you’re even considering the possibility of enrolling your kids in school next year, start doing some research now. Call churches in your area — or the area where you’re moving — and see if they have a preschool. If you’re a homeschooling mother, don’t feel bad if you want some help with your younger kids. There are several homeschool moms who still use our preschool for their younger children — they say it frees up their morning to focus on teaching the older ones. (It helps when dad can manage the morning drop-off!)

Some of you are reading this thinking your kids are doing quite fine without a preschool — who needs it? I applaud you amazing women! Everyone is different — and I have learned from over a decade of being a mom that I thrive on having a routine outside of my home. I tried desperately one year to employ the Managers of Their Home workbook by the Maxwells with all the color-coded cards and disciplined schedules — and I know moms who love doing this — but it just didn’t work for us.

Our preschool sign-ups are next week — and I’ve already got the paperwork filled out for my youngest two children to go! We’ll still have plenty of time to be together at home — but I’m looking forward to a change of pace — getting out of the house more, volunteering in my older kids’ Christian school, and joining an exercise class without having to worry about child care.

Whatever you decide to do — March is the time to make your plans.

By: Heather Ivester in: Education | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (8)



February 19, 2007

I was a sophomore in high school when Sarah, Plain and Tall was published, so I missed out on reading this delightful children’s book. I bought it for my girls for Christmas, and we found time over the cold, quiet weekend to read the book together.

What a beautiful story.

I won’t tell you about it — you can read a review here. But I wanted to tell you how interesting it was the way we responded to reading this book together. In this story, Sarah likes cats, and she likes to draw. My daughters and I talked about how nice Sarah must be, since she takes care of animals — and how God loves people who are kind to animals.

While I read, the girls got out some crayons and drew. My six-year-old drew a picture of our fluffy prodigal cat (who ran away but came home), and my nine-year-old drew a variety of little pictures.

When I finished Sarah, Plain and Tall (which was quite short, only 67 pages!), I felt like reading more — so I read the girls a couple of stories they’d written a year ago, when our hamster died. They loved hearing me read their own words, just like I’d read Patricia Maclachlan’s.

Then they each got busy writing something new — which they couldn’t wait for me to read. If you’ll indulge me a minute, here’s what they wrote (along with their pictures):

A Story of Briar Rose (by daughter, age 6)

One day, a little sweety pie named Briar Rose the great pie.
She is not really a pie, but we call her that because she’s really qute.
One day when Mama was reading Sarah Plain and Tall, Briar Rose interrupted my story I wrote when I was in kindergarten by doing something very qute.
She was in the side of the under the couch laying down.
Oh how she loved the warm air coming out of the vent.
Oh how I can’t stand how qute she was!
I could not even sit down because guess what Briar Rose sat down instead.
One time Briar Rose ran away from home. And did not come back for a very long time. We missed her so much. But one day she got sick, and had to come back. We took her to the vet and we saw our grandmother. She had a ear enfeckshen [the cat, not the grandmother] and she tilted her head when she walked. Now it is still tilted.
And still very qute.

(Oh, I almost hated to have to tell her that “cute” is spelled with a “c,” but the teacher in me must do these kinds of things.)

You Can Learn Your Pictures Too! (by daughter, age 9)

Practice these pictures. You can practice drawing, saying, writing, and find these pictures in places around your home. Try to find them in stores too!

Star, Rain, Teddy Bear, Flower, Blue Circle,
Ice Cream Cone, Grass, Rose, Pictures, Potato,
Milk, Juice, Water, Lake, Chick, Swan,
Snow Man, Rabbit, Grapes, Yellow Triangle,
Book, Ball, Jelly Biscuit, Punch, Shirt, Pants,
Skirt, Dress, Rocks, Inchworm, Hearts (Blue and Red)

What would we have missed, as a family, as a mother and daughters, if we’d watched TV instead? Since I can’t stand kid shows, I would have most likely been in a separate room doing my own thing, while they sat in front of the TV.

Or even if we’d watched a movie together, a good family movie, they still wouldn’t have responded with their own pieces of writing — I don’t think. Although watching movies together can be a good bonding activity, it still doesn’t even come CLOSE to the interactive joys of reading together.

I guess that’s why I’m so nuts about books!

I’d love to collect a bunch of parent/child literature responses like mine here — parents who read out loud to their children and experience something exciting — and then teach a workshop of some sort (when my kids are older).

In contrast, here’s an article from today’s Scottsman’s News: Children’s TV is Linked to Cancer, Autism, Dementia. Yes, TV does more to our children than make them fat and lazy; it can damage their minds and bodies.

Read with your children!!! 🙂

By: Heather Ivester in: Cats,Children's Books,Education,Family | Permalink | Comments Off on Two Responses to Sarah, Plain and Tall