Two weeks on, and the second grade has been a real transition for my daughter. I remember my time in second grade as unpleasant, but that is because I had a rather mean teacher (she had issues--but not my fault.) But my daughter, as far as I can tell, likes her teachers. She's friendly with most of the children in her class and is happy to see them, and they her. But she is daunted--with a capital D--at the thought of homework. Twenty minutes a night, two nights a week, is like torture--water torture, to be exact. And sadly, lumped into that hell that is known as homework, is reading.
I suspect that my daughter is already a reluctant reader (how can that be?! I'm a guru!) And this misery over homework is not helping the matter. My daughter and I have a set reading routine which has been in place since I started reading to her regularly at bedtime. She loves it. Threatening to take away stories at night is a legitimate punishment and wields mighty power. She could be read to all day. But she seems reluctant to do it herself. A few notable exceptions: non-fiction, American Girl catalogs, and picture books.
All this rambling is to lead up to a rather excellent essay in this month's Horn Book about helping parents chose books for their second graders. It was a good refresher read because it reinforced many things I have noticed in my experience with children at the library: the love of series fiction, the appeal of underpants, and the fear of long books. The author of the essay, teacher Robin Smith, even puts in a plug for picture books. Thank you! I cannot stress how often I have seen parents turn their noses up at picture books, never mind the kids. If we all remember that "picture book" is a term used to describe a format, not a level, the world would run much better. I'm convinced of that!