We spent the last hours of 2016 making goals. BlerdHero decided he wanted to read fifty books, all over 150 pages in 2017. That's about a book a week; I feel like it's an attainable but challenging goal. So far keeping him on task has been a challenge. There haven't been mainly goals that I have been able to help him achieve. Goal setting is a skill, learning to achieve your goals is a practice. I have been working on how to help him understand that doing a little bit every day is an effective way to reach a target and I think this will be a year-long exercise in that. Today is the 15th, and he has read one and a half books.
I have increased my search for books to accommodate his need because #yougonreachthisgoal. I am deeply invested because I know his success is going to depend in part to me helping him find books that he WANTS to read. I also need to help him push past the hump for books he's not as interested in reading.
I want him to gain the confidence of succeeding. I could tell him how great he is from sunrise to sunset but unless I help him get some wins under his belt we will have issues with his confidence, that is the kind of kid I have. On the other hand, I take pleasure in helping him find books he enjoys. I am sure I am not the only one so, I thought I'd share some of my favorite literacy websites and bookstores .
1. Unabridged Books (Chicago)
The North-sides best bookstore. This place has everything. I often go there and browse the shelves to see what I discover. During a recent trip, I found, X: A novel by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon. I had no idea that this existed and I am very excited to read it with my son. There are some great discussion questions in the back as well. Kekla Magoon also wrote, The Rock and The River, which BlerdHero read last year. The book was incredibly powerful and left a lasting impression on him. Aside from having a broad range of books, the staff atUnabridged are extremely helpful. The bookstore is also in the midst of a beautiful neighborhood with lots to enjoy. There is an excellent pastry shop named Vanille next door with spectacular macaroons. It is always my next stop after getting some books. There are also some great restaurants, mainly sushi, in walking distance.
2. 57th Street Books (Chicago)
The southside's best bookstore. I love this place for all the same reasons I love unabridged. I have found more great kids reads here than any other place in the city. This bookstore has the added benefit of being near the University of Chicago, The Dusable Museum, and Museum of Science and Industry. The University of Chicago has a few museums that are ideal for exploration. During the summer, we wonder to one of the nearby parks, which has more grassy areas than the northside and relax.
Lexile.com: Ths website helps you look up the Lexile level of just about any book and search for books by Lexile level. Lexile.com is my go to for determining how challenging a book will be for BlerdHero. I find myself on it about once every two weeks.
Usborne: Usborne books were my first love as a homeschooler. Their website is ideal for exploring books for a broad range of age levels and interest areas. I like this publishing company because they are not afraid to tackle complex science topics for young readers. The website includes links to online resources by subject area. You can even take quizzes and watch videos, all of this gave me a little insight into what education is like in England, where the company is located.