Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We Both Read

The New Red Bed (We Both Read)

Way back when (an eyeblink ago)
when my nine year old
was four I looked for good books
to read with him and found the
We Both Read series.

The psychologist had said
he'd be reading at age three.
That didn't happen, but
he was a bit ahead
of the curve.

The We Both Read
series starts at a K level
and goes up. Titles include
simple stories and non-fiction
about bugs and and stars.
About Bugs (We Both Read)

My boy liked the
You Read to Me, I'll Read to You
series more later, in
1st grade and still reads those
books to himself sometimes. 

You Read to Me, I'll Read to You: Very Short Scary Tales to Read Together
They have more words
per page and sidebar pictures 
instead of full page illustrations.

I didn't think about that
at the time, but looking
back I think that's part
of the reason my kid
liked the We Both Read
series more initially.

I wish I could make
the world more easily
understandable for all
our kids. But finding the 
right books is a start.

-Spectum Mom

Monday, June 28, 2010

Surreally Connected


Last week my older boy went to
his bookshelf and pulled this book
out and said "I'm going to read
this after camp on Tuesday."

He read the book both before
and after camp. He likes his known 
universe to adhere to rules. 
On Tuesday, you read Tuesday.

He also likes the book.
I've mentioned before
that the meta and the
surreal pose few problems.
Frogs (or pancakes-Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
was another favorite)
soaring through the air do not disturb him.

Frogs uncertain of where they are going,
or pictures of frogs when he was expecting
pigs, now that would lead to protests about
the author. ("Why did he do that?" 
"I don't know." 
"Then who knows?")

The Three Pigs

Weisner provides pigs in an 
insanely meta take on the old tale.
My boy liked that book too, 
despite or because of the pigs 
leaving the pages altogether
and wandering into other 

Leaving my page now .  .  .

-Spectrum Mom

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Getting Graphic

Bone, Vol. 1: Out From Boneville

Graphic novels and cartoon books offer
great picture support for all sorts of
readers, so I always am on the look out
for good ones. Bone is a good one with
the added bonus that other boys my son's
age (9) like it too.

Unfortunately, my boy is not as into this
story as I am. Bone tells the story of 
Fone Bone and his cousins who find
themselves in an alien land meeting
the friendly (possums, bugs,
a human family) unfriendly (rat
creatures) and strange (dragon)

I recommend this one for kids
7-13 who like adventure
stories and are not overly
worried about rat attacks.

The book reminded me of Pogo,
Pogo: The Complete Daily & Sunday Comic Strips, Vol. 1: Through the Wild Blue Wonder (v. 1)

the mid 20th century comic strip,
so much that at one point I thought
Smith was parodying Kelly.

My son flips through my Pogo
books, which combine 
excellent storytelling with
political satire, but again,
I'm unsure what he's
seeking or what he

I've mentioned
Diary of a Wimpy Kid

the semi-cartoon book
he likes before, the
really popular 
Wimpy Kid.

Like means that
when Mom or Dad 
sits down with him
and we read the book
together, he seems to
enjoy the experience.

My son knows no
half measures, he says
either "Don't like it."
"I looooooove it."

May your kids
loooooove books,

-Spectrum  Mom

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer Fun/Summer Skills

A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever

Summer offers a great chance 
for kids to read just because
they want to read.

But though my boy will flip
through books endlessly, we
need to sit down with him
to know if he's processing

A Couple of Boys was a 
great read aloud to do
together for his pre-K
brother, since my boy
does great with speech
bubbles. He sometimes
goes sing-song with 
longer passages.

"Read with feeling."
works great as an instruction
for him when a character
is speaking, and speech
bubbles make that
crystal clear - as clear
as pool water.

Intex Swim Center Family Lounge Pool
Now to find a few 
waterproof books .  .  .

- S M (Swim Mom)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer Reading/Summer Camp

Dodger and Me
Before and after a long 
day of social skills camp, 
my son's thinking more about today's
pizza party ("I hope they don't have
cheese pizza.""I liked the pepperoni 
pizza.") than summer reading 

But I've powered through and read
five of the six choices offered
by my son's school.
The sixth involves child abuse,
so I didn't even have to
read it to rule that one out.
I want books my child can
make a connection with, 
not ones to give him 

And the 
winners are (tah rah ta):
Dodger and Me
The Magician's Elephant

The Magician's Elephant
The Magician's Elephant does
describe the protagonist's father's
death on a battlefield and
the crushing of a woman's
legs (by the eponymous
pachyderm), but the mood
is fairy taleish and the
happy ending satisfactory.

The happy endings to two
of the other contenders are
realistic-not satisfactory at
all. The author puts the characters
through he** and at the end
they're only a little worse off 
than at the beginning (Ida B. 
and The Music of Dolphins).

Among the Hidden (Shadow Children #1)
Among the Hidden is far 
worse. The boy's
only friend is killed in
a massacre of children
ordered by a totalitarian

These stories seem more
suitable for adolescents 
than ten year olds. 

Dodger and Me, amazingly
enough, tells a story without
a single death, life-threatening
illness, or soul destroying
decision. The kid has no 
friends, doesn't like the girl
who is nice to him, and is
bad at baseball. Then 
cleaning up some litter 
gives him a whole new
perspective (and a blue
monkey pal). Hijinks
ensue. Life lessons are

So now comes the hard
part: getting my son
to read and understand 
the books.

A parent of another
camper mentioned
that reading out loud
to the child is their
required books strategy.

Reading out 
loud together sometimes
works for us. And for
you? What works best?

I warned my boy
that Dodger had
no pictures and he
said we could draw
some-sounds like 
a plan.
Original Chimpanzee Charcoal Drawing 18" X 24"
-Spectrum Mom

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Social Skills Camp - Communication

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (some kids on the spectrum
enjoy the same books as their neurotypical peers)

When I started this blog to find
out more about what and how
kids with autism read, my brother 
cautioned me: 
"You may find out they all
read differently"
"That's fine," I said,
"that would be knowledge,
and that's what I want."

Of course every kid is
different, but while
we can't base what we
teach one kid based on
how another one learns,
we sure can look for
strategies to try.

Beauty and the Beast: The Graphic Novel (Graphic Spin)
(graphic novels give
good picture support)

And camp is a great 
place to learn! I
love the theme this
year (Superflex!) and 
can see it as a kids'
book series, or
at least as part of
effective social

I sometimes find 
communication as
difficult as my boy
does, especially 
online. For those
of you who want
to communicate
with others on this
blog, post a comment
below. If it says
without the "post a
comment" box
click on the
word "comments"
directly at: autismreads

*Thanks to Mud Mama
for this elegant locution.

Happy Camping!

(or, for everyone,
Happy Campers!)

-Spectrum Mom

Monday, June 7, 2010

Welcome Social Skills Camp People!

Oh, the Places You'll Go! (Classic Seuss)

This morning my son started 
social skills camp, so his counselor 
took him away and the learning 

For me, that is. I have no idea 
what he was doing.
But I had the opportunity 
to talk with other parents 
and find out a little of what 
their kids read and don't.
I hope some of  
you will share your insights 

Green Eggs and Ham (I Can Read It All by Myself Beginner Books)

Not surprisingly, one mom mentioning
moving beyond Seuss. The patterns
and rhymes that make Seuss such
a good early choice can also turn
the books into a stim (my son
sometimes stands and flips 
through picture books).

Shark vs. Train Germs Are Not for Sharing (Ages 4-7) (Best Behavior Series)

Another mother whose boy
has an Asperger's diagnosis
mentioned two reading needs-
getting him to read outside
his interest (sharks) and
having him read for 
social habits.

Both books I have 
imaged here are probably
too elementary for him.
But finding books that
appeal yet move beyond
core interests could work.

Although I know the
fixations of a child
with Asperger's can
be extremely challenging,
I've read of that 
obsession as sometimes
working as a starting
point. Can anyone
comment on that point?

And does anyone know 
of shark-related stories
(The Shark who Brushed
his Teeth Really Well)?

-Spectrum Mom

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Summer book list update

On the summer book list from my last post,  I've read  Ida B. 
and Music of the Dolphins.  I don't know what kids think
of them, but they gave me bad dreams. Music of the Dolphins
resembles Flowers for Algernon closely, though the end
is slightly more upbeat, more like the extraordinarily 
well-written Eva by Peter Dickinson. All three
books speak to the endless striving and the ultimate
 isolation of the human spirit.


Isn't ten years old a little early to dive into that whirlpool?

I certainly have no idea how to begin to
read these books with my child.

Does anyone out there?

Do we force children (with or without
a diagnosis) to read books they have 
little chance of connecting with a
meaningful way? What do parents
do when that is what is expected?

I'll be more upbeat myself next

-Spectrum Mom