Monday, September 12, 2011

Book reports!!

Yes, I did it. I made them do book reports. Writing is one of those things that is so important, that if you don't learn, well... you can't blog!! Who wants to read a blog with no paragraphs and no flow and no form? Well, apparently lots of people, lol, but I hate blogs without paragraphs. I hate people who use bad spelling and grammar on Facebook. I also hate when people say "libary" and "fustrated."

We've dabbled a little in Writing Strands. We play around with Mad Libs. But I truly, truly believe that good writing comes from reading good books. The reading is still coming along slowly here. I'm sure they're all "behind" grade level - though Cameron fakes it pretty well. (Actually, I gave them a couple of word tests about a month ago and both Cameron and Cassia scored at about where they should be on one test, but then kind of low on one that was supposed to test their ability to read alone.) But we do listen to a lot of good audio books and I read wonderful stories to them (finally finished the entire Harry Potter series! and have now moved on to Treasure Island). I know in my heart that hearing good prose will help them to write good prose.

And now I have proof.

Cameron's book report was so lovely! I just don't have another word for it. I mean, the spelling was horrific (and you can put that word on his vocabulary list because he asked me what it meant when I mentioned that, lol) but the content was divine. When I first assigned the task (in a spur of the moment, "This is what you need to do before you can play video games today," moment) I first asked them if they knew what a paragraph was. Cameron spit out the perfectly right answer, "A collection of sentences," though I'm not entirely sure where he picked that up. I must have said that before (?). Then we digressed into this silly tirade of, "Well, what are sentences?" A collection of words. What are words? A collection of letters. What are letters? A representation of sounds. What are sounds? A way we use our voices to communicate with each other. Etc., etc., etc. Yes, it went on for quite a bit longer. Eeek.

Anyway, after defining the paragraph (and the meaning of life) I told them the basic parts of an essay and that their book report should contain at least three paragraphs: an introduction, "I read X book by Y and it was about Z;" a body, "I (dis)liked X because ABC," but please use more than just one sentence here; and finally a conclusion, "I think people should(n't) read X because Q." I also told them that this book report should be at least a page long (knowing that Cassia writes bigger and occasionally skips lines). I was truly impressed by how little help they asked for and how comprehensive their book reports were! I mean, it worked!!! Just listening to good literature has given them good writing skills (not Hemmingway, obviously, but good for their age!)

Cassia's essay was a little sparse - her last two paragraphs were only one sentence each - but they did the assignment well and Cameron wrote quite a nice second half of his essay because he was concerned about filling a whole page, lol. Cassia just wrote bigger. ;) (Finding it hilarious that my paragraph about Cassia's paragraph being sparse is sparse. LOL.)

In conclusion, "I think that the Ghost of Blackhawk Island is a really good book and I think that every kid should get a chance to read the Ghost of Blackhawk Island at least once or twice in their life." And, "I like Molly the Pony: A True Story so much I read it 7 times. I really think you should read this book it is really good."

The End.

1 comment:

Gillian said...

You're blogging! So happy to see new posts since we don't always get much of a chance to talk in real life.

Book reports, wow. We haven't done those yet. With Cyrus reading like a maniac and Cassia not reading much, I sometimes feel like a ping pong ball bouncing back and forth between two extremes.