Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Older Son Loved the book "Castle Diary"

I had to laugh this morning.

I bought the book "Castle Diary: The Journal of Tobias Burgess" by Richard Platt in 2004 with plans to use it in our study of world history. (I'm embarrased to admit that for five years it sat on our shelves untouched, but this was part of my older son's delay with much independent reading due to a visual processing disorder learning disability.)

As the title implies it is a fiction story in the style of a diary. It is set in the year 1285.

A couple of days ago, I assigned it to my eleven year old son to read as part of independent reading of world history. I figured he'd like it. It looked good to me but I had not pre-read it.

After day one he said it was boring and complained about it. I said to stick with it and just read it. (Mean homeschool mom that I am.) Today he came to me smiling and said he finished it. And that HE LOVED IT.

Note the change of opinion!

Note that perseverance sometimes pays off! If I had waffled and been swayed by my son's first complaint and renegged on the assignment he would have missed out on his eventual enjoyment of the story!

He said an ad in the back said that the author had also published a book called "Pirate Diary". He asked to read that.

I replied, "Sure! We already own that too!"

"We do?!? Where is it?" was his reply.

He was elated and ran to the world history bookshelf to get it.

"Castle Diary" was published in 1999 and the publisher (Candlewick Press) has it labled for readers aged nine and up. There are illustrations on nearly every page. The font is a bit small, but not too bad (of note for readers with eye tracking problems).

I'm happy that my older son like it. I will assign "Castle Diary" to my 8.5 year old to read next because I think he can handle it. Certainly it was easy for my 11.5 year old to read. The story itself is short at 112 pages.

We are speeding along in our study of world history, a combination of read-aloud's by me with assigned independent reading by both of my children. Even though I have my older son reading a combination of easier books and books on his grade level and he is doing just fine learning from his silent reading. What matters is he is absorbing content and making connections.

Regarding my older son's eye tracking problem, he has made great progress and received a new treatment plan yesterday to tweak and improve one area that has not self-resolved. I am so happy that he is disovering the joy that comes from reading and that his self-esteem is rising about his perception of his reading abilities.

"Pirate Diary: The Journal of Jake Carpenter" by Richard Platt

And today I see the same author published a diary book for Ancient Egypt!

"Egyptian Diary: The Journal of Nakht"


Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Good for you, mean old homeschool mom that you are!

I have often told my kids that when they read an important book of fiction, they owe it to themselves and the book to read at least 100 pages prior to deciding it's not for them.

It works every time!

christinethecurious said...

It's so true: fun lags behind perseverance.

What have you seen in the dysgraphia front lately?

My 5th grade boy had a breakthrough yesterday; I said that since he made the same mistakes in his copywork every day, we could made a checklist, and if he found them, he could correct them himself, then I wouldn't have to, and we would have a more cheerful time going over his independent work. For some reason, finding his own mistakes is much easier emotionally than if I do.

This morning I was shocked to only find missing punctuation. He is copying algebra definitions into a notebook, because the Key-to books are so flimsy, it is hard to look things up in them for review.

We will get back to Writing with Ease eventually, that is our catch up book before we go back to a writing program, writing essays with dreadful handwriting is torture. Meanwhile, he does compose essays for Lego Brickmaster magazine contests, but my Mom takes his dictation.

christinemm said...

Hi Christine,
We have lagged with the brain integration from the Dianne Craft book. I'm not beating myself up about it as there is no formal diagnosis etc so it is not like I"m not following a doctor's orders!

I'm busy with orthdontist visits, hadn't blogged that my younger son got an expander in November then braces in January!

And I'm going to get a speech therapy eval on younger son as some of the R and L sounds are still not right and I thought by age 8.5 they'd have self-resolved at this point (visit next week).

I can only handle so much!

Older son though, despite not doing the exercise things for dysgraphia, is having an easier time at writing, who knows why, writing smaller font on his own.

He is almost done with his italic workbook then I think I'll have him do copywork of my own design using the StartWrite software we already own (bought when he was just 4 years old).