Friday, October 17, 2014

Taking Mr. Men too seriously

Who: J2 and guest appearance from G1 (grandpa)
Where: in bed
When; at bedtime

There are a bunch of ways to take the Mr. Men too seriously, and I'm not even talking about this.

Reading out loud
We recently got the full set of Mr Men and Little Miss books.  J2 has especially enjoyed reading them and has his own routines for extracting the books that will be read each night, then collecting the books at the end and flipping the first book for the next night upside in the box.

He really seems to enjoy these books, whether we are reading to him, he is reading to us, or he is reading to his sister.

As he was reading to us tonight (Mr Impossible!) I was wondering about how to be a good listener when the Js are reading. A quick scan of literacy sites suggests that it is both easier to get this right and easier to mess it up than I had thought.

Mainly, I think you need to have the right attitude and, like so much of parenting, the answer here is to be playful and focus on enjoyment.  Choose books, talk about them, help with the reading, let the kids struggle, but all to a degree that it is fun for you and them.

More specifically, the 5 finger test: as the child is reading, have them hold up one finger whenever they encounter a word they don't know/can't read. If you have a full hand up, then the book is too hard for them.

Two nice references, I found are Trevor Cairney's Blog and a New South Wales schools brochure, if you want to pursue this further.

When I started writing this post, it was only a reading note, but you know that I'm bound to see a math activity, exploration, or discussion in anything. There were a bunch of counting opportunities in Mr Strong, then we hit this picture:

So, what is the mass of the water in the barn carried by Mr Strong? We had to investigate.
To be honest, I was more interested than the little one who was absorbed in the story, so I'll leave you to come to your own conclusions about how much water there was.

Further exploration: how much pressure does Mr Strong exert on the ground when he walks?
Further further exploration: what happens to soil under that much pressure?

Ok, so further, further explorations about the Mr Men books:
- Is Mr Men vs Little Miss sexist?
- Does the whole series reinforce a fixed mindset?

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