Monday, February 1, 2010

New Bedtime Story

We finished reading a simplified version of The Swiss Family Robinson a while ago and started on a new book; Stuart Little by E. B. White. Each night before bed we read one chapter together. Tonight’s chapter was titled “Spring”, and in it Stuart’s good friend, Margalo the bird, finds out that a cat will be coming after her and so decides to fly away. The chapter ends after Margalo leaves, but before Stuart finds out that she's gone. (Margalo didn't tell anyone she was leaving.)

I’ve been told many times that when reading with kids it’s important to test their comprehension, so every night I start off by asking H & K to recount what happened in the last chapter, and then finish up with a question or two about the current chapter. Tonight I wondered if the kids felt sad for Stuart because he was losing his good friend, so my questions prodded in that area. Both kids remembered that Margalo and Stuart were friends, and that Margalo had flown away, but when asked what might happen in the next chapter, neither kid said that Stuart might be sad.

I guess this is one step beyond reading comprehension. It was more of a test to see if the kids empathized with Stuart, and could foresee what would happen next. I wonder when children are supposed be able to do this?