Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Love That Creech

Hate That Cat: A Novel

Sharon Creech's two novels in poetry
(upper elementary-middle school reading)
combine elements especially attractive to
my boy with autism
● Poetry
● Dates
● Pages with few words
● Short Chapters
No illustrations, but they're not needed.
Some of the poems are illustrations in 
themselves-the "apple" and "chair"
Hate That Cat picks up where Love
That Dog left off with the remarkable
teacher Ms. Stretchberry switching
grades along with Jack.
My boy barely noticed the plot
(Jack gets a kitten, Jack learns to be
open about his mother's deafness)
but fastened right on to the discussion
of poetic devices like alliteration (long
one of his favorite thoughts).
I find the best way to share these books

with my son is for me to read the poems
and have my boy read Jack's responses
to them.
The book not only offers a selection of
poetry, but a list of books "from the

class poetry shelf" for further reading.
I'd like another book in the series from
Creech, but I expect she's done.
Unless Jack decides to
"Tolerate That Pigeon" ?
-Spectrum Mom

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What do you know?

Woods Runner

My son's summer reading list includes a Paulsen
book, an author whose name frequently comes
up as a popular choice for older readers with 
autism. This summer my kid gets a little
extra help from a specialist to try to teach
pre-reading, so she's started him on Woods
Runner while I read Hugo Cabret with him
at home.
Both of us are trying to use K-W-L-S to 
help "activate" his reading. Here's a
Recently, an instructional technique known as K-W-L, 
created by Ogle (1986) was introduced into classrooms. 
Teachers activate students' prior knowledge by asking 
them what they already Know; then students 
(collaborating as a classroom unit or within small groups) 
set goals specifying what they Want to learn; and after reading
students discuss what they have Learned. 
Students apply higher-order thinking strategies 
which help them construct meaning from what they read and 
help them monitor their progress toward their goals. 
A worksheet is given to every student that includes columns 
for each of these activities.
The S stands for "What do you still want 
to know?"
Since my boy is my boy, some of his
answers reference non-textual matters,
and he often makes wild guesses that show
he's either processed far less than I thought,
or that he's not interested in answering
my questions.
But we've started, and we'll see how we
-Spectrum Mom

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer Reading List

The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Last year I wrote about the mostly immensely depressing 
choices on the summer reading list for rising 5th graders 
(5/28) and my eventual choices for my son (6/5 & 6/14).
I don't know if I ever mentioned that our work together 
on laboriously getting through Dodger and Me (funny) 
and The Magician's Elephant (melancholy) was largely 
moot. My boy was in Reading Resource. 
Why isn't there a Reading Resource Summer Reading 
list? It might have more cheerful books.
He worked really hard all year, and made good progress.
So this Fall, the teachers are going to try to keep him in 
with his peers for reading. Which means we're back to the
Summer Reading List, this time for rising Sixth Graders.
At first glance, the list seems a bit less doom laden.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret has been suggested to me
for years as a possible read for him. I've avoided it because
the illustrations seem more distracting than helpful, but it's 
worth a try.
Nothing But The Truth (Orchard Classics)
I had high hopes for Avi's Nothing But the Truth. It has 
journal entries and my son is currently obsessed with journals.
Unfortunately, the first journal entry date did not match up
with the copyright year and pleas that the author wrote the
book the previous year when March 13 was on a Tuesday
were to no avail.
The book has a miserably unhappy ending, but nobody dies.
Plus, it makes a case for literature, funding schools, 
supporting teachers, and paying attention to your kids. 
This week I want to plug a play-kids with autism read
the script and the lyrics, so it sort of fits the blog. 
If you're in Nashville Friday or Saturday, come see the 
kids of SENSE theatre perform Bridges.  Full details here: 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Picturing the Past

Enemy Pie (Reading Rainbow book)

Right now my 5 year old and my 10 year old are not
getting along. This is only tangentially related to my
older boy's autism. He's going into the younger boy's
bedroom to grab picture books.
I, of course, want him to read chapter books. I try
to find the ones with a fair amount of pictures.
But he seems almost nostalgic. He's also turned
our bedroom upside down looking for journals.
He sat in an office today reciting the dates I had
written in my 2000 journal of his babyhood.
Since I found an old book review by him
I'll dwell in the past too and share his 2008
book review (all were answers to questions)
from when he was eight.
Enemy Pie
by Derek Munson
They had ice cream on pie like I would have.
It's in the pie fiction genre.
It was summer.
I liked when they went up in the treehouse.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What My Boy Thinks Summer Reading Will Be Like

The Little Engine That Could mini
Today was a half day of school, the last day of 
5th Grade for my ten year old. So the reading
limbo dance begins.
I asked my boy some questions about what he
thinks summer reading will be like.
Here's his response:
I like to read The little engine that could 

(Not the board book)
in the Summer because of the pictures. 
I like the engines.
I plan to read 
Do not open this Book. It’s very funny.
Mr. bond might come in one of the 
[library reading] programs. 
He is in for a shock.
The closest the summer reading
list comes to a picture book is
Hugo Cabret.
I don't know if Mr. Bond, the Science Guy
is on the library schedule or not.
And he has read Do Not Open This Book
five times so far this afternoon.
To Be Continued .  .  .
-Spectrum Mom