Tag Archives: reading

Chapter Books

Recently the following piece of paper found its way home in Lily’s book bag.
“I have a dream. My dream is read chaptr books”

I 100% support this dream, though the dream itself had already come true before this slip of paper came home. For the last couple months, Lily has been reading the Junie B. Jones series to herself.

My husband, however, is confused by the dream. He doesn’t understand exactly what chapter books are.

I keep explaining that for a little kid, graduating from picture books to books with chapters in them is a thing. When you are in elementary school, books with chapters in them are called chapter books. I know it’s not a term I’ve made up because our local bookstore has a whole section in it labeled “Early Chapter Books.”

Still, he won’t acknowledge that chapter books are a thing. He insists they are just books, since all adult books have chapters in them. “Are they fiction? Non-fiction?”

It’s not a difficult concept to grasp. Any book you read as a child that has chapters in it as opposed to just pictures in it is considered a chapter book. When you are 6 or 7 or maybe 8, you strive to read chapter books like a “big kid.” I remember feeling a big sense of accomplishment in second grade when I was finally able to read a Ramona book by myself. I remember bragging to relatives that I was able to read chapter books!

But no, my husband claims that “chapter book” is a made-up term he’s never heard of.

How were we educated in the same country?!


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Tonight I read the girls “Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed.” Almost every time Junie B. mentioned the possibility of a monster being under the bed, I reassured the girls there was no such thing as monsters. Every single time her parents or teachers reassured Junie B. that there was no such thing as monsters, I told the girls that the parents and teachers were correct. Every single time Junie B. doubted them, I told them Junie B. was wrong and had a big imagination.

I repeatedly asked the girls if they understood about how there were no monsters. They repeatedly told me they knew monsters were pretend and they weren’t scared of them or the book.

So, even though I was a little worried about it, I thought we were safe to keep reading.

I should have known better!

Within 10 minutes of putting the girls to bed, Rose came downstairs.

“I’m scared of the monster under my bed!”

In other news, Violet is on Reasons My Son is Crying right now. I was an idiot and did not ask for a link because I admire that blog so much that I was just happy to get a picture up on it! So, there is my 15 minutes of fame: Violet was once on the extremely popular Reasons My Son is Crying.


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The Devil Wears Scrubs

Hey guys, I edited a book. It launched today and it’s really funny. It’s called “The Devil Wears Scrubs,” and the play on “The Devil Wears Prada” suits it well. Torturous evil bosses clearly are not limited to the magazine world.
The author has categorized it as medical humor, but I consider it humorous chick lit in a medical setting. It’s a fast, hilarious, light read and you should all check it out. You can buy it for your kindle very cheaply right here. There’s also a paperback edition available.

I really enjoyed reading this book and felt privileged to edit it. It’s one of the most amusing things I’ve read lately. Go buy it!

Also, if you are looking for a freelance editor, I’m your girl. Contact me to discuss your project at jenica.schultz@gmail.com.


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Ramona and Her Complexities

We recently started reading Beverly Cleary’s Ramona series to Lily. I thought it would be a nice, easy introduction to chapter books. Little did I know how many deep, complicated subjects I would have to explain in one book. While reading “Ramona and Her Father”, I felt like I had to stop every 5 minutes to explain a complex issue. Here are just a few of the examples of what I had to explain to Lily while reading this book:

*Ramona’s father loses his job in the first chapter. I had to explain why it was important for Ramona’s dad to have a job and what it meant for the family that he no longer had one. She was horrified by the prospect that any daddy anywhere can lose a job for no reason (or even for a reason) and that would mean that a family wouldn’t have money. We’ve talked about how some people don’t have much money in the past, but it was a revelation to her that it could happen to anyone, including her friends and family. She got kind of upset about it, but I explained (perhaps naively) that if daddy ever lost his job we would work together as a family to make sure she still had everything she needed.

*Ramona’s father is a smoker. Ramona convinces her dad to stop smoking because she is (rightly) worried that cigarettes could kill him. No one in our family has ever smoked during the time she’s been alive. My dad smoked in the 1970s, but that’s such a thing of the past that Lily has no way of knowing about it. It’s not exactly being reenacted 30 years later. I had to explain what cigarettes were and why Mr. Quimby wanted to smoke them, which meant…

*I had to explain addiction in full. At some point Mr. Quimby has a small relapse and smokes a cigarette. I had to explain why this happened and how sometimes people get addicted to different substances, including the beer we currently have in our fridge. I had to explain why it was so hard for someone to kick an addiction. The very notion that some substances were bad was a new thing for her. I suppose it’s good for her to learn now. I remember learning to “Say no to drugs!” in first grade (Thanks, Nancy Reagan!). However, I didn’t know that reading Ramona would be when this subject came up! I guess I’m glad to have opened the door to it, but wow! Ramona opens the door to an addiction lecture? Who knew?!

*We are secular Jews. I haven’t discussed religion with Lily as much as I should have by this point because I’ve never been a very religious person. I am trying harder lately to get more in depth about what it all means and what we believe. Ramona is Christian and participates in a nativity scene at church which means…

I had to tell the entire Christmas story, what a nativity scene was, what Christ means to Christians and why Jewish people like us believe something different. WHEW! I wasn’t expecting to have to discuss all that at that moment. I suppose I could have glossed over the chapter, but she asked me what a nativity scene was and I felt like a failure that she didn’t know yet so… freaking Ramona opened a deep religious discussion at our house.

Seriously. Ramona made me talk about Jesus and Judaism. Ramona! I had no idea.

I suppose this is why reading to your children is so important– so that you are forced to tackle all those issues you may have not gotten around to bringing up just yet. But still… Ramona? All this came out of Ramona? Who knew. I had to explain death in depth when Charlotte died at the end of “Charlotte’s Web”, but I saw that one coming. All I saw coming with Ramona was a little girl who was creative and sometimes rambunctious– not multiple lectures about complex subjects even adults have trouble understanding.

I wonder what sort of trouble I’ll get myself into if we start reading Judy Blume’s “Superfudge” series? And what other giant concepts I’ll have to explain when we read the rest of the Ramona books? Perhaps I need to go study up on how to explain adult issues to children?

Ramona. SERIOUSLY. Who knew?


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The Trouble With Early Readers

Ever since Lily was a baby, we have been reading “That’s Not My Puppy” with a slight reader’s edit on the last page. In case you aren’t familiar with the book, it goes a little something like this.

That's not my puppy... Its coat is too hairy.

That's not my puppy. Its tail is too fluffy.

That's not my puppy. Its paws are too bumpy.

That's not my puppy. Its collar is too shiny

That's not my puppy. Its ears are too shaggy.

That's my puppy! His nose is so squashy.

Even though this page technically says “That’s my puppy”, we have always edited it when we read to say “That’s NOT my puppy. Its nose is too squashy.” We do this so that we can make the last “page” interactive.

At our house, the last “page” of “That’s Not My Puppy” has always been: “That’s my puppy! That’s my Lumpy puppy!” and involves Lumpy, our dog, running into the room from across the house and getting petted.

That's my puppy! That's my Lumpy puppy!

Well, the other day I was reading the book with Lily sitting right next to me. She can read now and is getting pretty good at it. When she saw the last page of the book, she yelled at me. “No, Mommy! That says ‘That’s my puppy!’ It doesn’t say ‘not’! That’s the puppy!”

Of course, she was right and discovered that we’ve been reading the book wrong to her for the last four years. While it’s neat that she’s learning to read, I don’t like my secrets revealed like that! I told her I read it that way so we can pet Lumpy at the end because that’s more fun all of us, but she keeps telling me I should read the right words. The “right” words at our house are that our puppy is Lumpy puppy. I don’t know what she’s talking about!

Man, reading just gives kids too much power sometimes. Who knew? Add this to an incident the other day where we had to eat at Subway because it had an “open” sign while the Thai restaurant we were there for was closed and it makes a mom somewhat regret teaching her kid to read early.

Me: Aw, Bangkok Kitchen is closed. We’ll have to go somewhere else.

Lily: But Mommy, Subway is open. See? The open sign is all lit up. We need to eat at Subway.

Me: Let’s go over to that other commercial strip to see what they have.

Lily: But it says open! We need to go there.

And we did because you have to reward early reading. And while the two small children were ecstatic, it was no Thai food.

Reading… sometimes it backfires.


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