Bad Mom,  Bug

My Little Reader

my little reader

I’ve been meaning to put together a little post about Bug’s many notes. She’s a writing fiend these days. Lists, wipe board announcements, love letters, commandments, play money, complicated maps…she does it all. I buy the cheap copy paper by the reams because she goes through it like a forest fire.

However, the pictures for that post are all over my hard drive and it would take me a while to collect them all so I’m just going to write about what a little reader she is instead. I’m not really bragging. All first graders are great readers. I know because I volunteer in her class. They all read to me and it is ADORABLE!!! Need a cute fix? Volunteer for a junior reading program.

I thought I couldn’t squeeze volunteering into my schedule but I’m so glad I did. (It’s only one day a week for a couple of hours.) I can’t get over how cute six-year-olds are in general. They still really really want to please and they try so hard it breaks your heart. I wish I could keep them all in a bubble and protect them from the great big scary world forever.

Anyway! Back to my six year old.

Bug has this reading program at her school where they have to read twenty minutes a day for homework. That sounds like hardly any time at all, right? When I first heard about it I scoffed. We read every night! We read for hours! We are reading queens!

Well, pffft! I had myself fooled. We don’t read every night. Sometimes we fall into bed and watch Cake Boss while snuggling under the covers. Sometimes we fill our day up with errands and then end up at friend’s house late and then Bug falls asleep in the car on the way home. Sometimes I’m so tired I can barely keep my eyes open long enough to yell at her to brush her teeth. I don’t know where all that reading time went!!! I know we used to read regularly. It’s a mystery.

I didn’t really think much about the homework because it’s on an honor system and obviously Bug can read. It’s not like she’s falling behind in the class or anything. If anything she’s pretty smart and I wish she’d slow down sometimes. I can’t spell out words anymore to keep them secret from her and every other minute she’s asking me what random signs on the side of the road mean. What happened to my baby?!!

reading challenge

Then her class started this Reading Rainbow Contest thing where they have to read twenty books and write a book report for each color of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple). I thought, Oh, that’s nice and promptly forgot about it.

BAD MOM alert! I don’t know what happened. One minute the notice came home explaining the program and the next thing I knew her whole class was on green and we hadn’t even started red! What?!!! We Ponnays win at everything! How could this little competition sneak under my nose like that?!!

code orange

So we’ve been playing catch up. It did not go well at first. Reading turned into a chore and it was NOT fun anymore. We had timers and stacks of books, a special reading area… The pressure was not good. I was making Bug sound out every word and wouldn’t you know it, Reading Time turned into Crying Time. Fail, fail Sad Panda Fail Whale.

Part of the problem is I don’t like to buy those flimsy little level one readers. I like to buy big fat pretty hardback books. Bug has a beautiful collection of pretty books. But they are all on the long side and they have big words. No wonder her classmates were leaving her in the dust. Our one book was the equivalent to five of their little flippy paperback books.

kid homework

I learned this when we were at Bethany’s this past week. Annalie has a huge collection of the thin paperback level one readers. I discovered them when I was organizing her little sister’s room because now that Annalie has moved onto more difficult books the easy books are going into her little sister’s room. I grabbed a few and let Bug read them. She FLEW through them! Seriously. Easy Peasy!!!

Why do I have to be such a book snob who refuses to buy paperback kids books? I’m going to have to put aside aesthetics and just start buying them or let the relatives know that’s what Bug needs for birthdays and Christmas from now on because this is where the reading time is at. No more tears. Just make reading easier! She’ll get to the long hard books soon enough.


We borrowed about five thousand books from Bethany and we are slowing making it through the orange page of the Reading Rainbow contest. I don’t know if we’ll ever catch up to the other kids, they’re pretty far ahead, but we’re trying. And at least I’m learning. One of these year’s I’ll figure out how to follow directions.


  • Christine

    D has a collection of the superhero ones of those books and they’re invariably what he turns to when it’s time for his 20 minutes of reading. I just bought some more for stocking fillers, actually! I just wish he’d be as eager as Bug when it comes to writing.

  • Justyna

    Go Bug! Reading is best when it’s fun. We found out the same thing. My daughter is only a month younger than yours. She can fly through these books too so now reading is fun for her. We started with a few books that were given to her but the words were longer and more complicated. She would get stuck and cry. It was no fun. We still mix them in but at least most reading is now fun and no more frustrations.

  • Courtney

    Long time reader, VERY RARE commenter here. But you’re talking about reading and that’s my ‘THANG! I work for the library system in OC. You actually helped me out once with creating some signage and bookmarks for a teen book club I did in San Clemente. It was awesome, I’m at a Costa Mesa library now so I can’t reuse the images but they were SO COOL!

    Why not check out what the library has? They have TONS of the readers and that way you don’t need to purchase them because I’m sure she’ll be beyond them in a few months.

    And now that I’m typing this out, I’m sure you’ve thought of this before and have some reason for not doing the library thing, so perhaps just ignore me? :)

  • Jen

    I didn’t get the flippy floppy books either, but kept ordering for the girls because they asked me to. Then one day I picked one up and the story was so funny that it literally made me LOL. I guess you can’t just a book by it’s flippy floppy cover. Yay, for reading rainbow progress!

  • Emily

    I must agree six year olds are brilliant, capable but still innocent. We also get through so much paper I was thinking of giving my girl a stack of cheap paper for Christmas all of her own, she’d be so thrilled.

  • Genevieve Shockley

    About not being able to spell in front of Bug.

    Talk to Bethany and Troy, and have them teach you the military alphabet.

    Foxtrot, tango, etc. Actually, when I need to spell in front of my grandkids, my daughter and I just make up the words to go with the first letter because neither of us can remember the actual military alphabet.

    Now beware, Bug is smart, so this won’t work for long. Then you go to pig-latin.

    Sincerely, Gen E. Shockley.

  • bethany actually

    I’m so happy Bug is flying through those books! I second Courtney’s suggestion about the library, too—libraries are usually arranged so it’s easy to find books by reading level, especially in the early grades.

    When you’re here next weekend, you can check out more books from the Gronberg Library! :-)

  • Amanda

    I am most definitely a book snob, you should see what I am willing to buy for the library and what I will NOT buy for our school library, even if it means being able to get twice as many books. It’s all about the pretty books with great stories…even in my own collection.
    As for the flimsy “step into” books, check thrift stores. I have been able to pick up TONS for them for my classroom (or for when I go back to a regular classroom) for cheap. And…this site is great, if you don’t mind printing the books: The books grow with Bug’s ability…smaller steps so to speak.
    And…see the DM I sent on Twitter…really cool site but p/w access only.
    Sorry…the teacher side of me doesn’t know when to give it a rest. :)

  • Alma

    I have a reader on my hands as well and I nurtured it so much that I am have created a monster. He is now eleven and read a book called ” Out of my mind” in two days. He was hysterically crying in his room after reading the last page. I have never seen him this upset. It was a sweet thing though. He also writes his own stories. If he likes a book he cannot put it down. We have an extensive library here. So many we could open up a book store.
    Your bug might like the “magic treehouse” books.. my boy loved those.

  • s

    I have a first grader as well and dislike the tiny books so we usually borrow from the library and buy only the ones we love. Check out library book sales – lots of times families are trying to purge them!! Razz books on line is something my youngest enjoys as well.

    You school’s library is a great resource as well.