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Life

Raising a Reader

Michael Forbes, whom I follow on Twitter for hockey stuff, linked an article in the New York Times, “Boys and Reading: Is There Any Hope?” by Robert Lipsyte.  The issues brought up in the essay are boiled down to this passage:

If we’re to counter this tendency and encourage reading among boys who may collectively resist it, boys need to be approached individually with books about their fears, choices, possibilities and relationships — the kind of reading that will prick their dormant empathy, involve them with fictional characters and lead them into deeper engagement with their own lives. This is what turns boys into readers.

The differences in the boys around here were driven home to me today as I picked my son up after school from a friend’s house.  Part of their homework (3rd grade by the way) was to read for 20 minutes.  The friend would ONLY read for the requisite 20, even complaining – seriously! – about an extra second of time on the timer set for him.  My son would read every night until he fell asleep face first in a book if I let him.  After catching sight of that article tonight, I sat down to try and think if there was anything I did specifically to encourage his love of reading.  First, I think the biggest thing is this:

On his Web site, guysread.com, the teacher and author Jon Scieszka writes that boys “don’t feel comfortable exploring the emotions and feelings found in fiction. . . . Boys don’t have enough positive male role models for literacy. Because the majority of adults involved in kids’ reading are women, boys might not see reading as a masculine activity.”

This is something where being a GeekDad comes in handy.  I grew up reading, and the gateway to my love of reading was science fiction and comics.  From there it was an easy branch out to fantasy, and whatever other books my brother bought until I could afford my own.  The next part is having good teachers.  Last year his teacher had a ‘browsing box’ of books you could read in class and take home (outside of their scant library time).  He reads this series of Geronimo Stilton books she had in there (he’s a mouse that runs a newspaper and has adventures), but when he runs out of those, he picks up whatever I have here.  That could be a Narnia book, the Hobbit, Percy Jackson (the movie caught his eye) or my wife’s Harry Potter.

If your kid shows the interest, the next step is to be sure to feed them books regularly.  The library can help, church rummage sales, those discount bookstores that appear in the shopping centers after a big anchor store closes, and the discount shelf at your local B&N.  An e-reader can come in handy as well, as kids love technology nowadays, and I have a hard time prying my Nook away from Thomas.  I’m not saying this stuff will work for every kid, but hopefully this (and the link article and guysread.com site) give you some ideas on how to nudge your young one on the reading path.  If you have any other tips, share them here.

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Life

Father's Day Weekend at Camp Findley

Most folks were already there when Jen, Mattie and I got there.  The first night began with some swimming, but was mostly eating, getting everything squared away in the right spots, and herding 5 children into bed.  That went better than expected for most of the days, actually.

The rest of the days, the kids wanted to play in the water.  I am the only adult that cannot swim, but thankfully there is a shallow section and plenty of life jackets.  Thomas and Ethan spent much of the water time goofing with the floating weeds, piling them up and so on.

The next day, everyone was brave enough to take the various paddle boats and canoes out.  The pictures from that will all be at the bottom of the post, please note you see me in a canoe.  We basically went in a very short circle, as my very pregnant wife made the canoe just a little tippy (at least, it felt that way to me).  Never again.  Anyway, the wheel to the car didn’t fly off on the way down this time, stranding us in Fredonia and making us miserable, so I count that as a win.

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Life

Happy Mother's Day!

I would like to wish all the Mommies out there, especially my wife and Mommy of Thomas, Mattie, and little Eva to be, a wonderful day!

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Life

Mayville Ice Palace

We recently took the kids to see the Mayville Ice Palace on the way back from ‘camping’.  I’ll have pictures and stuff about that later, but check this out (and yes, we walked out on the ice to visit the ice fishermen):

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Life Random

Eggertsville Hose Fire Safety Day

We went (as we seem to every year) to the open house at the Eggertsville Hose Company. Thomas loves it there anyway, and where else can you see a house on fire, a helicopter land and a car cut into pieces all at once?

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He just won’t give up that fire truck Jeep. One thing that was funny, it actually took several minutes for the couch to catch fire in their little house – I guess it was pretty wet. Thomas and Mattie both love the fire trucks, and Mattie got licked by a police dog (a big step for her, she used to be afraid of big dogs – she liked this one!).

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Life

New Pics of Mattie and Thomas!

My parents were in town the past week or so, and we went to the Buffalo Zoo and the Strong Museum. Here’s a few highlights:

In no particular order, as my in-laws’ camera didn’t have the right date set and I’m too lazy to manually sort all the pics. By the way, if you have an excuse to make it out to Rochester, NY, the Strong Museum currently has the Videotopia exhibit: 60+ classic arcade consoles, from Tapper to Star Wars, Dig-Dug to Ms. Pac-man. I’m assuming their website is ironic, and they really could have a better design if they wanted to…

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Life

Camping Adventures: Lost Tires, Rainstorms and Lots of Children, Part 2

So, when we left off, there was a decision to make. We had only made it maybe 40 miles or so from home, and the weekend was more than half over. But Thomas desperately wanted to see his cousins, so off we went. Things still weren’t any better, as the rains turned into a downpour, and for a good stretch of I-79S traffic was moving along at about 30 mph. We do make it, though, and get the kids to bed (the cousins were already down for the count).

He was pushing this for some ladies.  Good job, buddy.
He was pushing this for some ladies. Good job, buddy.

We actually managed to sleep fairly well, though Thomas got scared and asked me to come up on the top bunk with him in the middle of the night. *hugs* Jen got up and made breakfast (carting around all that food and trying to keep it cold finally paid off!) and then Thomas, Ethan and Noah went crazy at the very muddy playground. You can see just how muddy in the picture. :) After that, it was pretty much lunch time and then time for us to pack up. We got our cabin cleaned out, and then Thomas got to do his jobs to help with Papa’s trailer.

We decided for the trip back that Jen and the kids would ride with her parents, and I would drive the poor Subaru home. Mostly uneventful, though every odd noise or bump in the road made me nervous. At least for that portion of the trip, the rain had finished and I could cruise with the windows open (AC doesn’t work on that car).

Well there you have it. At the rate these attempts at camping are increasing in suckitude, next time out I should have pictures of punching a bear in the face.

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Life

Thomas and Mattie Pictures

rabbit hole movie in hd

Thomas and Mattie with their cousin Shani. Aren’t they the cutest? :D

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Life

Pittsburgh Museum Fun

I wanted to get the pictures up (especially for cute kid pictures), so I’m tossing these up with little commentary. Thomas and his cousins visited the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (also in Pittsburgh) this weekend. We pretty much have to go to the ‘chil-seum’ every time, and added the Carnegie in order to check out the dinosaurs. Ask any questions you have in the comments!

download megamind film in hd formats

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Life

Miserable

And I don’t just mean the last Sabres game. Pretty much the whole family had the flu, so it’s been tough sledding the past few days. Thomas, Mattie and I are all feeling somewhat better, but Mommy is still down for the count. Hopefully we’re all back and ready for Sunday, as I work before taking Thomas to the Sabres game.

all good things full movie online

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Life

Buffalo Zoo and Erie County Fair

Yes, we were crazy enough to do both in one day…here are some pictures!

Tropical parasites, your carefree infestation ends here! Tonight, you swim in ointments of righteous hygiene!

The reference will make more sense if you are a fan of a certain cartoon, as I am.

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Life

More Family Pictures!

All of which were taken either dropping my son off before heading to a wedding, or at the wedding. :)