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By the Book

Monday, 20 December 2010

I have been waiting for this day for what seems like a lifetime; the day that I introduce my daughter to Ella, Henrietta (“Henny, for short.”), Sarah, Charlotte, and Gertie. Today was that day.

Poppyseed is what some might call a reluctant reader. She has struggled from the very start. And though she has made tremendous improvement, thanks to highly-anticipated daily visits to the Reading Clinic at school, she is still lagging behind.

We did everything by the book, you should pardon the expression. Our kids have been surrounded by the written word since they emerged. Because Mommy has to read before going to sleep at night, there was reading material in the hospital bag. We read everything and anything to our kids. With inflection, drama, and sound effects. And they saw both parents reading books, magazines, newspapers, ancient tomes, etc.

And term after term sees remarks from the teacher to encourage Poppyseed to read daily.

What Poppyseed wants is for us to read to her rather than read independently. We’ve upped the reading to the point that there are times we end up skipping her daily assignment because we are enjoying the together-time.

Which brings us to tonight. Having completed, and thoroughly loving The Doll Shop Downstairs, I knew that it was time to bring out All of a Kind Family.

Two chapters into the book and it is apparent that she is falling in love with the five little girls. Which thrills me to no end.

As for reading on her own, we tried a new approach tonight; paying her to read to Peach. One dime per book. Gets her reading and Peach loves the attention.

A perfect solution for the girl who is constantly reminding us of the following:

Studies show that the best way for kids to be lifelong readers is to have caring adults read to them.

Or caring older siblings.

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25 Comments leave one →
  1. Valerie permalink
    Monday, 20 December 2010 11:04 pm

    I loved those books as a kid too! Can’t wait to read them to my daughter. I still remember the dusting/button hunting game, even if I hardly ever dust!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 30 December 2010 9:39 pm

      Me too. Though I might have to see if the button trick works.

  2. Monday, 20 December 2010 11:11 pm

    I’ve actually never heard of that book, but I was just recommended the Doll Shop Downstairs by a children’s librarian friend.

    I have twin girls, one who reads anything that holds still long enough and one who starts, but loses interest. So I’m going to add both of these to our hold list at the library. Thanks.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 30 December 2010 9:39 pm

      Enjoy. And let me know how they enjoy them!

  3. Monday, 20 December 2010 11:47 pm

    I’m waiting for H to be ready for these! We tried them last year, and they just didn’t hold her interest. I so LOVED them as a kid, and while I don’t want to proscribe them, I also want to share something I enjoyed so much! We’ll try them again soon.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 30 December 2010 9:46 pm

      It’s hard to wait for the right moment. Like with the “Anne” books. I am bursting with giddy anticipation at the thought of Poppyseed and I sharing Anne’s adventures. But we shouldn’t wish away time. So I’ll enjoy today and wait for tomorrow.

  4. Tuesday, 21 December 2010 2:24 am

    I had never heard of these books either.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 30 December 2010 9:48 pm

      The Dollshop Downstairs is a recent release. But the All of a Kind series were the most well-known books about American Jewish children in the second half of the last century.

      Which might explain why you did not recognize them.

      • Friday, 31 December 2010 1:11 am

        Thanks for enlightening me; apparently the series never crossed the Atlantic ocean. But now one can get them in English on the French Amazon website.

  5. babkanosher permalink
    Tuesday, 21 December 2010 5:17 am

    Best books EVER! I loved each of those girls and their stories. When my daughter was 3 I found that the books had been reprinted and bought the set, waiting for the day I could read them with her. On a side note… I met a woman several years ago with a daughter named Ella, so I asked if she was named for the character in the All of a Kind Family books. The woman’s jaw dropped – I was the only person outside of her family to make the connection.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 30 December 2010 9:49 pm

      Really? The name has become rather popular and whenever I heard it, I immediately think of the books.

  6. Teresa permalink
    Tuesday, 21 December 2010 7:07 am

    Thank you! I read these books as a kid and couldn’t remember anything other than Henny’s name and one plot line. I’m going to check these out for my daughter in hopes she loves them as much as I did.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 30 December 2010 9:51 pm

      Ooo — I do hope that she loves them as well.

      Which plot line did you recall?? The ecru-stained dress?

  7. Tuesday, 21 December 2010 9:18 am

    Yet another reason we’re virtual-friend soulmates. I read at least a book a week because I must read to fall asleep no matter how tired I am. My husband can’t stand the light so we have an elaborate system of tiny book lights (always need back ups because the batteries/bulbs run out) and big pillows to block him from having to see even a speck. 🙂

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 30 December 2010 9:51 pm

      Now that visual has me on the floor.

  8. Tuesday, 21 December 2010 11:10 am

    I love the idea of having her read to her younger sister! Though I admit, I’m an obsessive reader and have no memory of my parents reading to me! Though I probably stopped letting them once I learned myself, as I was quite stubborn and independent early on!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 30 December 2010 9:55 pm

      Nor do I. I was reading at a ridiculously early age. Haven’t stopped.

      Thanks so much for your comment!!

      BTW, it so happens that Peach is the little brother. Another post for another day…

  9. Crys permalink
    Tuesday, 21 December 2010 12:02 pm

    I never heard of those books either. I will definitely have to get them for her and I to read in another year or so. One of my favorite things is that Shayla loves to read to Kyle. We have the opposite problem, he only wants me to do it.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 30 December 2010 9:57 pm

      Maybe you could find a special place for just the two of them to read. Create a cozy nook somewhere that is their private reading space.

  10. Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:43 pm

    I am surprised that I haven’t heard of these either.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 30 December 2010 10:03 pm

      Me too, actually. But then, I don’t know many boys who read the AOAKF series when we were kids. So you probably never heard of them recently since they haven’t been in print.

  11. Wednesday, 22 December 2010 5:00 pm

    Oh, Oh, Oh…. I LOVE this series and am on crusade to get them all back in print. Right now, only the first one is. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post.

    My 8-year-old and 10-year-old (both girls) love them and I loved this series as a child. Here’s hoping!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 30 December 2010 10:00 pm

      Good luck on you crusade. I’d be happy to join you and I know some other mommies who will stand strong with us.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  12. Thursday, 23 December 2010 4:29 am

    Love All of a Kind Family series. The scene were the mother hides pennies so she will know if they did the dusting properly…

    My daughter was slow to learn to read, but she’s had great reading teachers in school. AND my husband reads to her almost every day. Now she is slowly reading Harry Potter to herself whenever my husband says he doesn’t have time to continue. It is amusing to watch her, with her lips moving, as she finds out what Harry, Ron and Hermione are up to now.

    Reading to her books I love is much easier than ones I don’t like much.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 30 December 2010 9:59 pm

      Yes! For example, I cannot abide the Junie B. Jones series. What a dreadful protagonist. But I received solid counsel from a wise friend — let Poppyseed read those books on her own. They were meant to be independent reading books. Then I can save the good stuff for our Mommy/Poppyseed reading time.

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