Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mid-way Checkpoint

Did I mention that I am a reading specialist by profession?  Yeah, well one of the perks (em... quirks) of reading specialists is that we have a tendency towards data analysis.  I especially enjoy looking at data (stop laughing, I'm serious here), because it is a good way to step back and get an overall picture of kids as readers.  In my job, I use a variety of sources of data, and I am very handy with the excel spreadsheet.  (Stop, I know.  Please understand that I am not trying to make you jealous of my number-crunching skills.  I'm just providing a little background so you can see where I'm going with this.  Seriously.  Stay with me.  Stop laughing.)  
While this chart is not even close to the awesomeness that I create at work, I thought it would be a good way to snapshot our summer bookaday progress so far.  Can you believe we are halfway through?  (Sorry about the quality.  If you are really interested in the chart up-close, you can click on it and expand for more detail.)
Here are my observations:

P.J. has a pretty clear idea of his interests as a reader.  He loves fantasy and non-fiction. While this is a great thing to know, and I appreciate his focus and commitment to books (especially series books), I'd like to gently nudge him towards some other genres.  Just to try.  Expand horizons, for fun, and I think overall it will give him other perspectives and put a frame of reference around his love of fantasy.  With his interest in history and non-fiction, I think I'll suggest some historical fiction titles.

C.J. has been very adventurous as a reader so far and has tried many books from a variety of genres.  He has also abandoned quite a few books (almost half of the ones he tried), and he has not been too big of a fan of others that he did finish.  Can you say reluctant reader?  My only hope- he is currently reading a mystery/adventure that he is enjoying immensely!  He is 80% through and gets excited when he tells me about the latest plot twists each day.  He's even making some real-world connections and talking about themes in our conversations!  Whoa!  So, the challenge for me is to continue that momentum on our next book choice.  I want to keep that freight train rolling!

It was surprising for me to see my huge realistic fiction kick.  I did a little author study spurt at the beginning of the summer with Jennifer Holm's books (they were all historical fiction titles, which I love as a genre), but I am really hitting the RF genre hard.  They are mostly YA titles as well.  I promised myself that I would do more professional reading, too, and with the summer already halfway over (eeek!) I need to get hopping on those titles.

I hope our little data chart is helpful to you Moms (and Dads)  out there as you step back and take a peek at your own childrens' reading this summer.  

My next step (as always) is to go forward and suggest "next step books" for the boys, and I am excited to have found this super-cool website that makes individual book suggestions based on personal interests.  It's called YourNextRead (imagine that)!  It's so easy and visual, which I love, because it makes a web of book suggestions based on whatever books you like.  Just type in your favorite book, click the search icon that looks like a magnifying glass, and (poof!) it generates a web of books that you will enjoy reading.  If you've read all of the suggestions, then click on one of the other book covers, and it will pop up more title suggestions for you.  Even better- if you already have a Goodreads account, you can link both sites together to get a monster-web of book title suggestions!  



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