Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

May 3, 2011

The Reading Record

This is Simon’s weekly Reading Record from last week.

Most weeks it’s missing a few days. Most weeks the minutes read is somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes with a bunch of stopping to look at the clock and ask how much more time? Most weeks it’s a challenge to get him to do his daily reading. Most weeks I have to decide if it’s the battle I want to fight that night.

I want him to want to do it and I don’t want it to be a battle. I want him to love it in that “this can change your world buddy” kind of way.

Last week the Edwards’ household did some major celebrating as Simon finally found a book he wanted to devour.

It came in his Easter basket and it was very unassuming at first.

He actually got a bunch of books in his basket (including The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, The Boxcar Children, and The Wizard of Oz). This particular one happened to come in a bucket via a special Easter scavenger hunt set up by our Katie (babysitter/nanny/caregiver – I never know what to call her but man do we love her so maybe I’ll just call her “our Katie”).

It’s a chapter book based on a movie he likes and already knows the story called How To Train Your Dragon: The Chapter Book. Familiar things are a “happy place” for Simon – stories, foods, places, events, etc. He started reading and he didn’t want to stop. He was excited. The looks on his face as the words connected with the movie in his head were so awesome. Glee. Joy. Excitement. Happiness.

One night he read for two hours straight and another night for an entire hour.

Tonight we’re currently searching high and low for this book. It’s gotten misplaced in the upstairs/downstairs shuffle of clothes, books, toys, etc. He’s almost done – maybe just a couple pages left.

Here’s to hoping he’ll connect with another book he wants to devour very soon.

Go Simon go.

UPDATE | He found the book (it was on the bench near the front door). He finished it tonight and came in and told me “I finished the book. And the last word was sunshine.”


  • 1.
    Lisa W. said…

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmm…love this story. AND I so get you want him to love it. I remember when my son DID NOT want to learn his site words, wanted nothing to do with reading. And that is exactly the key. Finding something “they” enjoy to read. He is very into cars …trucks…show type vehicles. He gets three magazines in the mail and READS them ALL the time. My heart tickles SO much when I see that. He is now 20 yrs. old and reads them all the time, all while working 7 days a week. AND I LOVE “Our Katie”. She has to be a special girl. I feel like I know her a bit…just from your blog. If she is not against in doing so, would LOVE to see a picture of her so I can put a face to this sweet young lady:) GO SIMON GO!!!

  • 2.
    Claire said…

    It is so wonderful when children discover reading. I tell mine – you need never be bored if you can read. There is a Jane Austen quote which puts it much better – something about how hard it is to learn, but it gives you so much back. I can’t imagine a life without books -escaping to another world for a while is just magical.

  • 3.
    Spedsue said…

    Way to go Simon You brought “sunshine” to your mom!

  • 4.
    Emma said…

    I used to have the same problem with my son he has dyspraxia and also dyslexia he’s about the same age as simon and one day it just clicked he’s currently readying Diary of a wimpy kid books which he loves, I love watching pick up the news paper/ or a history book ect and ready and understand it. Now if we could just have the same luck with his handwriting this is our area of struggle at the moment He can do it, he just does not want to and it like to much hard work, go Simon with the reading and good luck finding another book.

  • 5.
    Kristin said…

    So sweet! I knew my second wouldn’t be as interested in reading/letters/numbers as my first, so I’ve been patient and interjecting it slowly to make it seem less of a burden and more as a joy. We will see how that goes! Though it is quite nice to have my oldest ‘teach’ him some of this stuff. ;)

  • 6.
    Pam S. said…

    I’m celebrating with you! I’m a volunteer reading partner at our elementary school and it’s so exciting when a child enjoys a story. My older son (now 12) has loved to read since he was 4, but my younger son not so much. We’re working on it like you are with Simon. It’s all about timing and the right book!

  • 7.
    Suz said…


  • 8.
    Debbie S. said…

    That’s so awesome!!

  • 9.
    Celeste Smith said…

    That is a series you know – there are a bunch more books in it. :)

    • ….
      elizabeth said…

      was just about to say the same thing—there are a bunch of these, hooray!

  • 10.
    Nicky from Canada said…


  • 11.
    Chi Anne said…

    The librarian in me wants you to know (as you probably already do) that the How to Train Your Dragon books are a series. Its often easier to get them to keep going if they can read the next book in the series and then keep finding them series books they like.

    I believe there are eight books so far.

    You may also be familiar with this site but it has great recommendations for kiddos as well.

    And finally, one more site where you can type in the book you liked and it will make recommendations for you:

    • ….
      Susan R said…

      Thanks for sharing these links, my kiddos love to read and these are great for finding new faves!

    • ….
      Reneecrops said…

      Thank you for these links not only for my daugther which I appreciate more than you can imagine, but I’m for myself as well. I’ll read every book I can get my hands on from an author, but then I’m stumped where to go from there.

  • 12.
    Shelley said…

    I know that feeling, and it is SO AWESOME when they get it! This bookmark with a timer (–Neon-Blue/dp/B000CC4U6Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1304428664&sr=8-1) was the best investment in my son’s reading.

    Simon might like the BeastQuest series by Scholastic. My guy is devouring it.

  • 13.

    i have the same problem with my son, it almost seems like a battle at times. but it’s so great when they find a book they love, it makes me happy! glad simon found one :)

  • 14.
    peanut said…


  • 15.
    Laurie said…

    As an educator, an avid reader and a mother, I empathize with you. I’ve gone through the same battles with my daughter, who is now 12. It’s great when something just clicks and reading becomes enjoyable. My daughter had a mandated reading time every night from her teachers in elementary school and there were nights where the battle just wasn’t worth it. She could read (no reading disabilities) and in fact, could read in two languages because she was in a dual language program. I tried everything I’d ever heard of to get her to enjoy reading. I finally had to accept the fact that for my daughter, reading was not going to be her “go to” free time activity. There were too many other things she enjoyed doing. I think that was probably what bothered me the most; I so enjoy reading and it is my number 1 free time activity and I wanted her to have the same experience as I did with books. I just had to accept (interesting that accept is my one little word this year!) that my daughter had different interests; I love that she is so athletic (I am not), so her lack of avid interest in reading is okay. It took me awhile to reach this acceptance though.

    I did find that when I told her she could stay up an extra 20 minutes as long as she was reading, that motivated her to read! Now that she’s in 6th grade, she seems to have discovered reading. I’m not sure what is different, but she has read more books on her own this year than in the past. It’s still not her “go to” activity, but, struggling to get her to read at all is no longer part of our evening ritual.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • ….
      Alison said…

      One of my favorite books at that age was Mandy by Julie Andrews. It is an older book so you might need to get it through interlibrary loan but I highly recommend it. I still read it every year.

  • 16.
    Dori said…

    Way to go, Simon!

    Ali, I highly recommend the personalized books at book by you dot com. They have really awsesome stories for kids of all ages (including the personalized romance novels that I usually gift to my nieces at their bridal showers). I’ve ordered from this company several times and have never been disappointed. Although these books aren’t inexpensive, they’re true keepsakes and, according to my DIL, they’re the most popular books in my grandsons’ home library. They LOVE them!

  • 17.
    SHERRY said…

    The dragon books actually came before the movie, there is a series of books. Next time you are at B&N check them out :) my daughter starting reading them about 5 yrs or so ago. one of the titles is “how to speak dragonese”, the title alone got her excited.

  • 18.
    KellyM said…

    Have you tried ‘The 39 Clues’ books? My 8 and 9 year old boys loved them.

  • 19.
    dawn said…

    I loved reading about Simon and the other comments here too. Reading is such a big thing at our house we are all readers then came Sam (9yrsold) and he hasn’t picked up the love of reading like the rest of us. It is a battle at our home too and trying to get him to make new goals each month at school too. He stays in the little books and won’t leave them, partly lazy and partly too afraid. I’ve never let him read the goosebumps series and so finally in the beginning of April I caved and told him to go ahead. He brought them home and loves them and read all month at school and at home and on weekends, finally it worked. NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS HE BROUGHT HOME A CERTIFICATE FOR MOST BOOKS READ IN THE MONTH OF APRIL AND THE MOST POINTS IN READING AND HIS MOST A/R TESTS PASSED WITH A 100% on all but 3 of them. I was so excited and so was he. So Ali and others I totally get how all of you are feeling. Funny how we all live so far apart and don’t know each other but have the same connections. So GO SIMON GO !! I am so happy for the Edward’s house. It does help to find them books they love so I told Sam to see if he can do even more this last 6 weeks of school and beat his record. Ali, we also love the boxcar children books and the tree house mystery ones were a hit with my girls too. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

    P.s. I think “our Katie” sounds perfect!!

  • 20.
    Sheri Brady said…

    Just wanted to say I so enjoy reading about the successes of your son, and love the way you share your stories with us. I don’t know what it must be like to raise a child with some of the special needs that he has, but I just wanted to say bless you. It is obvious you are such a good mama, and I think he’s really lucky to have you! So from one mom to another, I just wanted to say well done! I think in your own way you are both champions. Blessings to your family this week, Sheri :)

  • 21.
    Megan Beverly said…

    Go Simon!!!!!

  • 22.
    Julia said…

    Your update to the post made me tear up! Thanks for sharing these special moments with us.
    Maybe some day Simon will read one of my childhoods favourite book: Michael Endes “The Neverending Story”. Or any other book… So lovely Simon likes reading!

  • 23.
    pidge said…

    ‘The last word was sunshine”! Oh my, I have tears in my eyes!!! That was unexpected. So true how reading makes impacts in ways we never plan.

  • 24.
    Cindy d said…

    How exciting! What a wonderful post. I hope Simon continues to find the joy in reading.

  • 25.
    michelle said…

    One of the best series that LOCKS kids in is the Magic Tree House Series. There are over 30 books in the series and it has been a lifesaver to many of my students that need to be hooked-My daughter is in the 4th Grade and this is the first year she has enjoyed reading…I was so stressed about it, but it just clicked. Congrats Simon!!

  • 26.
    Beth Holmes said…

    Wonderful! So glad Simon found a book to devour and I hope he finds many more. As for what to call Katie — I like “our Katie”. My daughter was given a teddy bear by her much loved babysitter from when she was Anna’s age and we all still call it” My Katie’s Teddy”. My daughter always called Katie — “MY KATIE!”

  • 27.
    Kim said…

    ahhh it makes me want to cry. My son who is now 8 loves to read and can struggle with getting started on a book, but once he does he doesn’t want to put it down! So exciting to watch it grow. My daughter who is 5 is just learning and I can’t wait for her to fall in love with reading.
    P.S. My son loved the Treehouse series, he is now just getting into the Goosebump books…

  • 28.
    Cindy said…

    My Logan is at about this stage too. He just finished his first chapter book in school, and he loves books, but reading is an uphill battle for him. We tried “Dragon”, but not with as much success as you had. Still working on finding that right one. Congrats on finding it for Simon! There’s a whole series of those too, yay!

  • 29.
    Michelle Elaine said…

    Love: “the last word was sunshine.” love, love it.

    • ….
      Carrie said…

      I was going to leave that exact same comment…love that life sometimes packagages these little memorable moments in the most unexpexted places.

      Simon – I am so happy you really liked that book. I hope there were others in your Easter basket that you enjoy just as much. Thanks for sharing your reading record. IT’S AWESOME!

  • 30.
    Renee said…

    Allie – so awesome for you and for Simon. My son devours books. He gets so caught up in them that he can’t hardly concentrate on other things so sometimes we have to limit his time with a book, but my daughter doesn’t seem to be as interested in them. She is doing it her own time. As many of the different movies, etc. Simon enjoys are parts of a series he may ultimately get into the series types of books. These are what have truly done it for our son. He has read all 15 of the Wizard of Oz books and loves each one of them. If Simon likes one and it is part of a series, I would definitely grab the next one and see if he goes for it. Knowing the characters, etc. fuels my son. He rereads some of the books over and over again. There are a lot of the series, both old and new that you can get for the Kindle or on an iPod with the Kindle app. We use this method for probably half of the books our son reads now. Congratulations!

  • 31.
    {vicki} said…

    Great story!

  • 32.
    Laurel said…

    Awesome! There’s an entire series of these books. My kids (elementary and middle school) adore them.

  • 33.

    I’ve found a lot of good suggestions for reluctant readers in How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esme Raji Codell. It’s a great book and has many wonderful suggestions. She also has a blog where she reviews books.

  • 34.
    Charis said…

    I actually teared up when I read the last line of your post…”the last word was sunshine”. What a great thing it is when things in our lives end in sunshine! What a great thing for Simon to remember! What a great thing for you to share his attention to this little (HUGE!) detail! Thanks Ali!

  • 35.
    Melissa said…

    My 8yo DD has loved HTTYD for about a year now. It also inspired her to read. The power of finding a topic that interests a child who isn’t interested in reading is AMAZING. (And just so you know: WalMart has exclusive rights to all HTTYD toys/merchandise so you won’t find it at ToysRUs, etc.).

  • 36.
    Michelle L said…

    That’s so awesome! I know reading was a bear for me until I was in Middle School and now it’s rare when I don’t have a book in my purse and two or three on my nightstand so you really never know!

  • 37.
    Ginny said…

    I love the sunshine quote! I’ll second what someone else recommended–the 39 Clues series by Rick Riordan and a series of authors. The first book is Maze of Bones. My 7 and 9 year olds love them. They have hidden clues to decipher and history is woven into the plot.

  • 38.
    elise said…

    That is so cool. Has he read the Harry Potter books? I know he has seen the movies so maybe the connections will be the same? Esp. with the first three – the movies follow the books so closely.

    And Boxcar Children – LOVE those.

  • 39.
    Christine said…

    Way to go Simon! I am a school librarian and I see my share of reluctant readers. Simon might like the “Dragon Slayers’ Academy ” series by Kate McMullan. Very popular at my school.

  • 40.
    Thinkie said…

    I hope he’ll find many more books he’ll like this much, because it’s the best feeling in the world to escape into the magical worlds that can be found inside of books!

  • 41.
    Shari Anderson said…

    I’ll never forgot how much my daughter HATED to read in 1st and 2nd grade especially. She would get very frustrated because the different sounds letters make didn’t make sense to her. She was (and still is somewhat) a very black and white person. To her an “A” should make an “A” sound, it didn’t work for her that sometimes it was “aw” or “a” or whatever. Now she is in 7th grade and we can’t keep her in books. She LOVES reading more than anything in the world and reads hundreds (it’s true) of books in a year. She is obsessed and is never without a book or her Kindle in her hand. I am SO GRATEFUL! Anyway, my point is I used to dread the reading log because she hated doing it and I hated that she hated it…but it all worked out in the end. She found her groove and sadly, on the rare occasion she gets in trouble we dont’ bother taking away her iPod or her cell phone…those things don’t matter to her…we have to threaten her books….what a strange turn of events, huh?

  • 42.
    Amy Fink said…

    I LOVE this story!! (the story of Simon finding a book he loves, although, How to Train Your Dragon is a much loved book by my Alex, too) My nine year old would much rather do ANYthing than read a chapter book…both my husband and I LOVE to read and so when he finds a book he’s excited about, it’s a great feeling.


  • 43.
    Terebene said…

    The Dragon books were a great find for us, too. You know there are 7 of them, right? They significantly increased my daughter’s reading level because they were a challenge to read. She loved them all.

  • 44.
    Jessie said…

    Way to go Simon!!

  • 45.
    Pam said…

    i just had a weird realization when I saw that picture (first of all – hooray, Simon!) that what I consider your “autograph” is really your signature ;) and being a parent you use it to sign things like reading logs.

  • 46.
    Alison said…

    Awesome story! It totally brought tears to my eyes! Way to go simon. That is one thing I pray for my children…a love of reading. Thanks for sharing Ali.

  • 47.
    Deirdre said…

    That last lane is priceless—I think I see a layout in its future! My son loved the Dragon series, way better than the movies in our opinion.

    I’m wondering if he’s given the Harry Potter series a try. I know you’re both fans, and I’ve found getting them in paperback (and even ripping them in two if necessary) makes them more kid friendly. He’ll be amazed to learn how much is left out. Sometimes when I start reading aloud, my son will run with it because he’s too impatient to wait until I have time to read aloud again.

    There’s nothing better than the RIGHT book finding the right kid at the right time. Awesome that you captured this!

  • 48.
    Cindy Holshouser said…

    I wonder if Simon has discovered the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books? My 9-yeard old son never wanted to read until we discoved this book series last fall. He has read them all and now I’m trying to find something as funny and entertaining for him so he continues to read.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      He has Cindy – he read most of the first one. The problem we encountered is then he just wanted to read the captions – according to him he has read all those books now (he’s just read the captions…which is reading of course…but not the same). We will be trying those again.

  • 49.
    tara pollard pakosta said…

    sooooo sweet!!! maybe he would like more books about dragons! or harry potter?! go simon!

  • 50.
    Doris said…

    Oh ALi you got me with ‘sunshine.’ Thanks for the smile.

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