Posts Tagged ‘reading challenge’

Helping Jumpstart go for the record

Since 1993, more than 70,000 preschool children across America have benefited from millions of hours of Jumpstart service. This year alone, Jumpstart volunteers are serving more than one million hours with 15,000 preschool children in 80 communities across America.

Today, Jumpstart is recognized as one of the nation’s leading nonprofit organizations in the field of early childhood education. [from Jumpstart’s website]

Today marked the day of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record. Now I’m all for promoting literacy and the love of books and I always enjoy reading with my kids so we had no excuse not to participate. And when I found out the book everyone was to read for the record was Eric Carle‘s The Very Hungry Caterpillar my kids and I jumped at the chance to read it, again. Actually my oldest daughter took the lead:

Did you read to your kids today?

It’s a slow process

You may remember an earlier post I made about participating in Gallysmith’s Harry Potter Reading Challenge. I don’t actually own any of the books so I was fortunate enough to borrow the first two books from my mom. What’s that say when my mom owns and has read the books before me.

Since I enjoy the movies so much, I thought reading the books would be enjoyable. But the main reason I joined the challenge was to share the stories with my kids (who also enjoy the movies). We’ve been reading a few pages each night as part of the kids bedtime routine. The only problem with reading to the kids, I only get to read the book at bedtime , to the kids. This makes for a long read.

Some nights I would read ahead, thinking the kids wouldn’t know any better. The next night I’d get caught and have to read the chapter again. It’s been a slow process but we have finally finished the first book. It’s a good thing we have until next August to finish the challenge.

Summer reading club finale

You know summer is coming to a close when the libraries Summer Reading Club program comes to an end. All three of my kids have been participating in this year’s Secret Agent 009 reading program. We’ve participated in the past, but this is the first year we’ve actually completed it. So to celebrate we attended the finale party.

Only my two oldest finished their books but all three kids received participation awards. Anyone who read at least one book as part of the program was given an award, which was great for my youngest.

An award for all

An award for all

After the awards the real fun began. And no party is complete without a magician. The great thing about this magic show was that it was based around the secret agenct theme. He also had lots of participation from the kids. Some kids were called upon to be secret agents to help the magician detective. Others were called into bad guy roles to try and capture the magician detective. The show was enjoyed by adults and kids alike.

We're watching the detective (magician)

We're watching the detective (magician)

Enjoying the show

Enjoying the show

My oldest daughter trying to figure out the tricks

My oldest daughter trying to figure out the tricks

Near the end of the show, the magician had magnifying glasses to give to all the kids for their own secret missions. My oldest daughter was selected to help hand these out, but first she needed a secret agent name. Secret Agent White Meatball (colour + food) enjoyed her important role.

Secret Agency White Meatball at work

Secret Agency White Meatball at work

Then came the ice-cream and random name draw for prizes. My son was thrilled to have his name picked and walked away with a secret agency pen (it has a light that flashes at the end). And all three of my kids were on the winning trivia team so they all received a free book.

When my daughter found out the person who read the most books received a bag of books as a prize, she vowed to read the most next summer (ah, a girl after my own free book giveaway heart). It was a great way to end the summer reading program.

I’m sure I could write it better

As you already know, I’m participating in the Harry Potter Reading Challenge happening over at Galleysmith. I was fortunate enough to have my mom lend me her copies of The Philosophers Stone and The Chamber of Secrets so we were able to start reading. My husband and I have been taking turns reading a chapter to the kids each night at bedtime. We’ve all been really enjoying the experience.

Since I’ve seen the movies also, I can’t help but compare each scene we read in the book to the corresponding scene in the movie, if it exists. Yesterday the kids asked to watch The Chamber of Secrets movie. We finished watching The Philosopher’s Stone a few days earlier (again) so when we asked the kids what they wanted to watch, The Chamber of Secrets was the obvious next choice.

There’s a scene in movie where Ron and Harry are in Professor Dumbledore’s office being reprimanded by Professor Snape for damaging the Whomping Willow:

Snape: Not to mention damaging a Whomping Willow that’s been on these grounds since before you were born

Okay, maybe it’s just me, but this line really bugs me. If you’ve seen the movie, the tree is so large it has to be hundreds of years old. And how old are Harry and Ron in the second story? Thirteen? Saying that tree is over thirteen years old is ridiculous! Of course I assumed this was a line that was pulled from the book. But after reading and re-reading the pages this scene occurs on in the book, it’s obvious the screenwriters added this.

I’m sure I could come up with something better:

  • a Whomping Willow that’s been around since before Hogworts was built
  • a Whomping Willow the founders of Hogwarts planted
  • a Whomping Willow that’s been around since before Dumbledore was born

Well you get the idea. At least these examples emphasize the old age of the tree, which I am assuming was the intention of including the line in the movie in the first place.

What would line would you write instead?

A Muggle of a Challenge

I’ll admit it, I’ve seen all the Harry Potter movies and enjoyed them immensely (some more than others). My kids have seen them too. We actually own them on DVD and re-watched them recently in preparation for the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

I remember when the books first came out and all the press around how kids were devouring them. I even knew adults who were into them. But me, no I just couldn’t bring myself to read them. I don’t know why actually. But I held strong.

Then the first movie came out. Since I hadn’t read the book before the movie, it was unlikely I was going to read it now. I have a problem reading books after I’ve seen the movie (though watching a movie after reading the book doesn’t seem to be an issue, even if I’m usually disappointed with film). When the Lord of the Rings Trilogy was planned for a film release, I made sure to finish reading all the books before seeing the movies. I think I get distracted and find difficulty maintaining my interest in the book because I know what the outcome is (oh, I’m also not one to reread books either).

But then something happened. After watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (which I really enjoyed), my kids started asking a bunch of questions; questions not addressed in the movie. Like all movie versions of books, they cut and condense. I thought all would probably be revealed in the printed pages so it was then that I decided to start reading the books. We could read a few pages everyday, out loud. The kids might maintain their interest since they know the characters.

Then I saw a tweet from Belle at MsBookish (@msbookish) about a Harry Potter Reading Challenge over at Galley Smith (@galleysmith). What were the odds! So of course I jumped over and signed up that night. Now my problem is getting a copy of the first book. When I checked the bookstores near, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone was no where to be found  (others must be jumping on the Harry Potter book bandwagon too). I’m on the waiting list at my library for one of their 174 copies and I’ve asked my local bookstore to order the first book from Raincoast Books (@RaincoastBooks) too. Hey, maybe I’ll be lucky enough to win one of the two box sets of books Galley Smith is giving away as part of the reading challenge launch.

What are you waiting for? Why don’t you jump over and sign-up too.