Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Zingo, Mysteries, and More

Our home reading life has been greatly interrupted by Claudia's obsession with the game Zingo. I play it at least 4 times a day with her. (Help.) Zingo has bumped out some of our reading time, especially for Fran who is the Official Zingo Caller. Hopefully over mid-winter vacation, we will tank up on some good books.

Recently we have been making a concerted effort to make sure we are carving out almost-daily time for personal reading for Fran. He's only awake and at home for 3 hours after school and with dinner, skating on the backyard rink, playing (Zingo) with Claudia, and bathtime we are crunched for time. So now, Fran and I read right after we put Miss C down to bed. Sometimes I have to poke him to stay awake and his recent bout of strep wasn't too helpful with the sleepies. But it's going well. I enjoy listening to him read, get out of tricky spots, and have theories on the books he reads, but I do miss just reading to him.

So it was with great joy that I settled into the couch with Fran last week while he read "Big Max". Fran and I talked about how it was a mystery and that mysteries have problems to solve. We talked about looking for hints- or clues. (I sat on my hands so I didn't shove post-its at him to mark the pages. This is home- not school...) He told me this was his first mystery. I was so excited to listen to him read it. (I enjoyed this more than I enjoy watching Matlock on the Hallmark channel.)

Fran did a lovely job reading, studying the pictures, and thinking. The little guy solved the mystery by using some fine inference skills. (You will have to read the book to find out how Big Max solved it: The Reading and Writing House is a "No Spoiler Zone".) I called his mystery-loving Grandmother, bragging of his mystery-solving abilities. His first mystery...solved. And I got to see it. I felt so lucky to have this window into his reading life.

The next moring, driving to school, that kid burst my bubble. He explained that really, "The Case of the Hungry Stranger" was his first mystery. That's just like him, going around and sneaking books behind my back. But still, I was so excited that he was embracing a new genre- and really pushing himself to read and think; mysteries are a great way to get into this habit. And now, it seems that he's hooked. Maybe when he gets older, he will even watch Matlock with me...

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