Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Kids' Paper Air Plane Book

While most adults now see them as a tedious necessity, 
(oh wait, that’s airport security) 
many children see them as a source of delight. 
Some kids with autism can’t get enough plane facts and never rest till they have been in a cockpit 
(harder to arrange now, but not impossible).
Paper airplanes, while beyond the fine motor and motor skills of some (like me), are a wonderful diversion for others. 
Paper airplane building provides a quiet, engrossing pastime with a result peers can admire. And if your kid does have a passion for planes, don’t assume the folding challenge is beyond them. 
Despite fine motor and motor planning deficiencies, 
my boy can play the piano. 
I assume it’s because he really wants to do so.
The Kids’ Paper Airplane Book gives kids a basic knowledge 
of paper airplane flights. At the back, the authors provide 
full color sheets to fold along with complete instructions
and a flight log. 
If your kid has even higher flight ambitions, Ken Blackburn
and Jeff Lammers also wrote The World Record Paper
Air Plane Book.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer Reading - The Giver

Long time readers may have noted that I have not yet wailed over the choice of summer reading books that my son must read this Summer. There are several reasons for this:
  1. There was no choice to make, just two books he needs to read.
  2. The two books are good books.
  3. When you're going into eighth grade, there are mighty few inappropriate subjects any more, sad or glad, you should be ready to read it.
Of course, my boy is not ready to read these books. The books are age appropriate, and he's lagging behind in several key areas. 
So we started with The Giver, the milder of the two books and one I thought he had some connection to through The Giver treehouse at Cheekwood. Plus I have read it before and there is a ton of information about it out there.
It has been hard going, and asking for help online brought up a new concept for me-working memory. Is my son's inability to remember what words mean due to a deficiency in this area? 
Or is it that he cannot visualize what he reads?
His lack of comprehension goes beyond his inability to understand words from their context. He was unable to recall what a hatchet was when he encountered the word "hatchet" in the text.
Very disturbing, since he read Hatchet for school and I thought he actually engaged with it rather strongly.
The Giver interests him little.
In case you don't know or can't recall, The Giver was the first really popular dystopian novel for young adults 
(if you're feeling bitter about Hunger Games
blame Lowry (or credit her if you're a Hunger fan))
Jonas is about to go through the ceremony of twelve in
his community and find out what his lifetime job assignment will be. Much to his alarm, he is given the previously unknown to him task of Receiver of Memory. The knowledge he receives from the
current receiver reveals to him how much of feeling and life 
has been kept from the people of the community in order to keep 
everyone calm and cooperative. As his memories and feelings 
deepen, he finds he can no longer accept the status quo. The 
revelation of what "release" really means drives him to action,
and he flees to freedom.
What happens to Jonas at the end of the book is ambiguous, and 
upset my husband. It did not upset my son who took the words
literally (no surprise there).

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Most RecomMended 2 - Stripey the Caterpillar

Perhaps you remember How Are You Peeling
the most mended book in my house?
Today's book is almost that mended.
Stripey the Caterpillar is a colorful book with a caterpillar
finger puppet who travels through the pages 
before becoming the center part of a fold-out butterfly poster.
Not surprisingly, Stripey soon became separated from the
book. And the poster became torn and taped and torn again.
But, what a favorite! My boy still likes to curl up in a
blanket ("I'm in a chrysalis!") and then become a butterfly.
A powerful if oft-used metaphor for children, especially ours.
The story starts with Stripey feeling a bit sick.
"Not terrible, just a bit sick.
Maybe a different colored flower will help,
Stripey thought. So off he went."
And so he goes through the book, with 
red flower giving way to blue, to yellow,
to little white flowers, until he takes a nap
and feels completely better as a butterfly.
The flowers pop-up in a mild way,
the language is clear, and the words are large.
Most importantly, the puppet is fuzzy and wiggly.
If you can handle the repeated readings (and tapings, 
unless your child is far more careful than mine) 
this is a winning read aloud by Katie George.
I have another much mended book in mind to
recommend, but so far I've only found pieces of
it on the floor .  .  .
-Spectrum Mom