reading · slice of life

The Book List and Another Reading Milestone

Over the weekend, Isabelle read her 200th book this year. That’s right. HER. 200TH. BOOK. How do I know? Late last year, we talked about keeping track of all of the books she read from the very first day of the year. We started a Google Doc on January 1st. Every time she finished a book, I typed in the title, author, and illustrator.

Isabelle has been proud of her growing list. She always wants to know, “How many books have I read?” (Let’s be honest. She’s read more than 200 books this year. I couldn’t keep track of everything she read on Epic during the stay-at-home order. But don’t let that distract you from the fact that we’ve recorded 200 books in her log this year!) When she hit 100 books, she was pretty proud. She said she wanted to reach 300 by the end of the year. I told her that might be hard to do if she started to read larger books. Alas, she hoped she would and so she kept reading.

The book list has been incredibly helpful to us on our trips to the library. Isabelle has read several series this year. Due to availability, she’s sometimes read a latter book in a series before an earlier one. Therefore, having this list has helped her know the titles of books she’s read.

Earlier this year, Isabelle read all of the Humphrey books written by Betty G. Birney and illustrated by Priscilla Burris. Once she finished all of them, she lamented about moving on. I knew there were unillustrated Humphrey books, but I knew they were beyond her ability to comprehend independently. Therefore, I steered her to another illustrated series.

Last week, Isabelle and I were talking about what was next for her as a reader. Casually, I mentioned the Humphrey books. I asked her if she’d like to try the unillustrated books. She said she’d try them, but was worried they’d be too hard.

I snapped a photo as Isabelle read aloud to me.

Yesterday afternoon, I walked into Isabelle’s room when she was two-thirds of the way finished with The World According to Humphrey. I asked her some questions to assess basic comprehension. I was fairly confident she understood the basics of what was happening — since the characters are the same as the illustrated series — but I worried she was in too deep since the reading level is an O (and she isn’t reading independently at a level O). I asked her to read the text aloud to me. When she did, I was amazed! The only thing she read incorrectly were three names. She didn’t miss any other words. In fact, her fluency was better than I expected on a book like that. I asked her a few more questions and was pleased.

Even though I am not convinced she’s comprehending the text perfectly, I know she wants to read these unillustrated Humphrey books. After years of arguing with Isabelle to just get her to read, and months of convincing her that she could read without a grown-up by her side, I am thankful she’s reached this milestone in her reading life.

17 thoughts on “The Book List and Another Reading Milestone

  1. Oh my goodness! My youngest LOVED the Humphrey books. We even wrote an email to Betty Birney *and she wrote back* – I thought he might die of happiness. I love that Isabelle is motivated by lists, and I laugh at how your teaching mama self snuck in as you assessed her. I’m glad she’s found something she’s enjoying. As for other hamster books, I can give you plenty of ideas. For example, Dave Lowe has a series that starts with “My Hamster is a Genius”…

  2. Congratulations to Isabelle for her perseverance. She should be very proud of herself for the number of books she read and her willingness to be caught up in the magic of reading. The photo you have here certainly exemplified that Isabelle is a reader. I do love hearing your Isabelle stories, Stacey.

  3. What a momentous, joyous event in Isabelle’s life. I adore that photo of her reading, and I can’t help but feel proud of this child I’ve only met through your stories. Is that weird or simply a teacher thing? I’m so glad I stopped by to share this milestone. Bravo, Isabelle!

  4. Congratulations Isabelle and Mom! Having followed your blog, I know what a wonderful accomplishment this is for her! You have done so much to support and guide Isabelle and appreciate that you’re sharing this journey:)

  5. Extraordinary – Isabelle’s accomplishment and her determination. I sometimes think, quite unscientifically and unprofessionally, that reading is a mysterious and magical sort of process, really. This post and Isabelle make my heart rejoice! I can imagine how yours is.

  6. Doing a happy dance for you and Isabelle! Let Isabelle know that even across the ocean there are people happy for her as a reader- that she is developed a habit of reading, that she is increasing the volume of reading and that she is a risk taker ready to take on challenges.

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