June 26, 2014

Summer school, Rhyne-style

Remember, a while back, when Zoe told me she didn't want to learn to read and it almost broke my heart?

In the many months since then, Zoe's not only learned to read...but she's become a reader. A real reader. We go to the library and take home stacks of books. Her closet is full of books, but most of them wind up under her bed while she's reading them, and re-reading them. She does what I did when I was a kid, finishing a book and turning back to the first page to start it all over again. 

It's brilliant. So brilliant.

I absolutely adore sharing with Zoe the books I loved when I was a child. She's torn up some Judy Bloom books, and the Cam Jansen series remains one of her favorites. I'm forever buying/borrowing books I think she'll love, and hoping she does. I'm forever giving her suggestions. 

"Here, Zoe, try this book! You have to read it!"

Sometimes she loves it, sometimes not, but we already share a love of The Secret Garden, so what more can I ask?

What more indeed.

You see, Zoe thinks she knows everything. She's in THAT stage. You know the one - full of instructions and helpful tips. Full of random facts she makes up on the fly that she somehow convinces herself are true. It's hilarious and annoying, true, but sometimes I remember to stop and listen.

Like today. 

At the library, she was tickled to find a huge stash of Boxcar Children books. She's mentioned them a few times throughout the school year - I knew she read one of them during nap time, and I knew she loved it. 

Today she asked me to find the very first one from the library's stash: The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner.



"You have to read it, Mommy," she said, giving me that look that lets me know she means business. 

The thing is, I hadn't ever heard of these books until she mentioned them. I somehow missed them,growing up. While The Happy Hollisters (shut up) were staples in my house, solving mysteries with freckles and smiles, The Boxcar Children were completely absent. 

I didn't think I was missing anything.

After the library and a morning spent working outside, we were both quiet this afternoon. She read one of her library books (one of the ABC Mysteries, I believe, which she LOVES if you're looking for children's book recommendations), and my book was all the way upstairs. Yes. I was being lazy. 

But I picked up The Boxcar Children.

I read it in one and a half sittings (the half was only because Charles came home and I had to get up and say hi). 

It was written in 1942 and follows four orphan children as they try to survive by living in the a boxcar they find in the woods. 

It's sticky-sweet. Saccharine. With formal dialogue out of the mouths of children, it probably wouldn't be published today. But still. Something about it...

I loved it. I'm not going to lie. The idea of surviving on my own, of adventure, has always appealed to me (I once thought about applying for Survivor, at least until I remembered how afraid I am of spiders), and this was a great outlet for little adventure-seeking me. I love the idea of kids taking care of each other, of working hard to make a home. 

It was really lovely and I'm glad I read it. 

Today I learned I should listen to Zoe when she tells me things. Today I found a sweet book we can share and discuss from now until...well, I guess until forever. Today I discovered a new way to stay connected with my child.

I, the teacher, learned from my student. Just another piece of the bits of our summer we devote to learning, and today, Zoe was the better teacher. 

Oh. And by the way. She's still reading. :D

1 comment:

Nadre said...

I loved The Boxcar Children as a kid! So glad Zoe's a reader, though I have to say, I'm not all that surprised growing up in that house! :)

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