In January 2011, we got on a kick with Yoko by Rosemary Wells. At least twice a day I would read this frankly adorable book to Benjamin. In it, a little cat named Yoko is new to her kindergarten class. She isn't fast friends with Sophie or Olive or the Franks. She does "weird" things like bringing sushi instead of sandwiches for lunch and red bean ice cream for dessert. I love that Rosemary Wells doesn't shy away from the really emotional experiences kids have in early elementary school. This is true, by the way, in all her books, not just her books about Yoko.
Anyway, we were reading Yoko constantly and Benjamin, being two-and-a-half, would ask me all the time what red bean ice cream was. Yoko brings hers to school in a Thermos cup. Well in early 2011 I got a new Thermos brand water bottle and Jacob mentioned the word "Thermos." So Benjamin immediately started pretending to eat red bean ice cream. I thought "Hey, I bet an Asian grocery would have some real red bean ice cream." So he and I went on a date to our local Asian food store. They not only had it, but there were lots of options! Apparently Adzuki is a popular flavor for treats of all kinds. We bought a pint of the ice cream and gave it a try. Jacob didn't like the texture, and Benjamin pronounced it "too cold." But that just meant there was more for me—I like it!
|I also like red bean mochi. |
This is the brand my neighbor gave me once and
I've since bought more for myself.
I had so much fun bringing this little piece of the book to life that later I made some sushi for us to eat as well.
When teachers do this sort of thing in the classroom, they call it "making connections," and it actually improves children's reading comprehension and enjoyment. It is easier to relate to the characters and the story once you've done something written about in the book. And when you relate, you care enough to read—even if the book has some hard words. Text-to-self connections: they're fun and they're good for you!
So, if you're wondering how to make reading more fun for someone in your life, or if you're just looking for something to do on one of these long summer days, try a day themed around a book. I was inspired to write this post because I loved reading about my friend Lindsey's ideas for just such a day centered on Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.
How do you make reading fun? Comment below and share your story.