Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Free Comic Book Day 2018

The First Saturday in May means .  .  .
FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!

Usually I have a few recommendations, but I am unsure which titles have clear story lines this year. If you or your kid have trouble with cluttered visuals/picture storytelling - I've made a few guesses.

Fifty titles this year, but remember not every store will have them all and popular titles may go quickly.
For the younger set there will be Adventure Time, Disney Princess Ariel, Invader Zim, Sparks!, Dr. Who, and Bongo Free for All
  (Simpsons stories) as well as many other titles. Judging by past books, Dr. Who, Ariel, Star Wars and Howard Lovecraft's Big Book of Summer Fun will probably offer clear storytelling. Also,
 comic book stores (hooray for comic book stores!) often
put out a wide variety of comics to give away from previous
years and other sources, so you should be able to find
something fun and appropriate.

If you haven't been around comics in a while, be aware they
can get very dark if intended for teen/mature readers. Archie, Betty, and Veronica act very differently in a Riverdale comic - recommended for teens and up.
There are only four of the fifty rated mature - you may want to give those a miss because of nudity and language.

For more information and to find a participating store near you,

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The End of (High School) English

Ever since Third Grade when my son's teacher and the school staff revealed
1) my son didn't understand what he was reading 
2) they had no plans to help him improve
he's fought through the battlefield of English class with whatever poor weapons we could give him.
Currently he has an extraordinary, gifted tutor and a helpful, experienced teacher.
Together they face the last battle: Senior English

Beowulf
Canterbury Tales
Macbeth 

For a reader who still prefers Dr. Seuss, this reading list strikes me as mildly insane. But if he is to graduate with a regular diploma, (which I also have doubts about) to Chaucer and Shakespeare he must go.

Since his great tutor started, I only help once in a blue moon. He continues to be more interested in the sound of words than the meaning of sentences. As for narrative and subtext - 
let's just say his tutor needs to be the genius she is.
About The Canterbury Tales he remembers "When in April the sweet showers fall" and the titles The Pardoner and The Wife of Bath  
but when I ask what happened in the stories, he says 
"I forgot." (They studied it around Thanksgiving)

About Beowulf he says, "Did he ever have a battle with Grendel?"
(started this in September I think).

He's currently reading Macbeth, and remembers a fair amount, only slightly muddled:
"Macbeth is supposed to kill King Duncan in order to become Thane of Cawdor and King hereafter.  Macbeth's sidekick Banquo doesn't like it. He says Macbeth cheated to win those titles. Macbeth decides to kill Banquo and his son Fleance. Banquo dies but Fleance. Wait, he tells the murderers to kill Banquo and his son. The witches Macbeth will not die except at the hands of somebody who was not born of woman. They also say that the forest will move to Dunsinane hill. The forest does move. And Macduff says that he was not born of woman, but that he was untimely ripped from his mother's womb or something so Macbeth tries to deny the prophecy but he can't. And therefore he dies."

To get the regular ed diploma, you take the regular ed classes. 
I have more questions than answers about what all that means
and whether it makes sense for every student. 

What about you? What is your experience as student, parent, guardian, teacher, etc.?

Spectrum Mom



Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Editing Emotions

Little Critter by Mercer Mayer
Parenting Works posted an edited Little Critter page that went viral.
The original page read "I wanted to cry, but I didn't. I was brave instead."
The edit read "I wanted to cry, so I did! I was brave and sad."
While many commenters embraced the thoughtfulness of the message, others questioned why you would pick a book 
you have to edit before you can read it.
As a mother, I'm all about giving my kids the best emotional grounding I can. As a reader and a writer I am less sympathetic to those changing the words. Write your own books.
It takes forever to get the words just right.

This particular edit is sweet, but I think would confuse kids, 
especially some with autism who are only just learning what "brave" means. 

By all means, let your kids know it is okay to cry. And perhaps choose another book, because this one tells a different story about how sometimes we feel like we have to not cry.

The educator who writes Parenting Works explained that this
was one of her childhood favorites, and that she lacks the time
to bring just the right library books home. Instead she edits her own book collection. While I admire her dedication, her calm intelligence, and her emotional understanding, I don't really get why that is better than talking about the ideas in the book (after all, Little Critter is crying in the picture. Why not ask, "Why do you think Little Critter says he didn't cry?") or reading a book that fits her ideal of emotional intelligence.

Yet there's an idea in this post for all of us trying to connect our kids with books. Judicious edits may help avoid problems or improve messages. With the Froggy books I edited out the rudeness as much as possible. If a book is almost perfect for your child, what's wrong with a little tweak? But I still prefer judicious selection of books to editing the text. Not only are you reading what a gifted author wrote (and with so many wonderful books in the world, why bother with anything less?), you also avoid having your hyperlexic detail oriented child with autism obsess over why you changed the words. 


Here's a link to the Little Critter page edited by Parenting Works and featured in Elevating Child Care.

Spectrum Mom