Monday, May 3, 2010

Trying out fiction

I read with Archer every night. He's made a habit of bringing home non-fiction books of various kinds -- science, weather, biography -- many of which are really far below his level. I've been trying to tempt him with various longer-form juvenile novels, using the little I know about the fiction he has enjoyed ... stories from the perspective of animals, or with a school setting.

After I asked him to bring home a storybook that is "a little more challenging," Archer delighted me a couple of weeks ago by selecting Frindle by Andrew Clements. And to my further delight, he seemed utterly engaged and charmed by the story. The school setting helped, as did the notion of the new word, the dictionary, and the real-world consequences of Nick Adams' coinage.

Last night Archer read the final chapter to me, and he could barely keep the grin off his face as he described the secret messages and surprises being passed back and forth between the protagonists ten years after the events of the main story. I asked him afterwards if he thought that was a good ending. "That was a great ending," he corrected me.

I guess he was listening when I talked about how much I enjoyed the book and hoped he would bring home another like it. Another Andrew Clements book was in his backpack today -- The Report Card. Archer is already talking about the back blurb, which describes the plotline of a girl who gets bad grades on purpose even though she's a genius. Will this be the start of a more broad-based enjoyment of fiction? Or will this Clements phase be a passing craze? I'd love to get your suggestions for books at this level (fourth to sixth grade) that he might like, what with his various autistic obsessions. A special request: Archer has made two memorable references to time travel in the last few weeks, a concept I suspect he got from Bill Nye, and it would be great to find him some time-travel fiction.

1 comment:

Doc Thelma said...

Is he ready for Madeline L'Engle? A Wrinkle in Time was the first thing that came to my mind.