Saturday, November 19, 2011

Magic Tree House

If you are looking for a good chapter book to introduce your emerging readers look no further! I normally recommend children who are ready to start reading chapter books start with the Magic Tree House series, by Mary Pope Osborne. There is over 45 books that have a brother and sister duo (Jack and Annie) go on adventures in a magic tree house. All they have to do is look in a book and wish to go there. Some of the places they go are dinosaur time, the rainforest, ancient Egypt, old Japan, the World Fair in Paris, Pompeii right before the volcano explodes, the ice-age and more. There really is something for all interest and because the characters are both a boy and a girl it appeals to both genders. If the child finds a book that really interest them Mary Pope Osborne's husband wrote a non-fiction companion to the books so they can do a little research! Each book is about ten chapters and is at a 2nd grade reading level.

Well, my son is NOT at a 2nd grade reading level. However, he has at the age he will sit for chapter book read-alouds. Some books I have done as a read-aloud are Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (my favorite book of all time), The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Beasts of Clawstone Castle, and Because of Winn Dixie. That being said sometimes he wants to hear a story when I am not able to read to him. What then?- books on CD of course! This is my favorite thing to do in car rides. I put the speakers on the back and pop in a book on CD. I normally choose stories that are only about an hour to read, so they hold his attention and he doesn't have to recall too much information when we have to pause the book. Our favorite books to hear in the car-the Stink series (Judy Moody's brother),  the Dinosaur Cove series, and Magic Tree House (of course). We get a collection of eight stories on five disks from our local library.
Whenever I do a read-aloud I try to do some comprehension component. I was thrilled to find that Magic Tree House has a pretty great website. You give your child a log-in and then you put in your email address. Then they have their own tree house they can decorate. You also can go on a mission (a game) that has you go to four different locations in their books. Answer questions, earn points & medals, and then a cool artifact to decorate your tree house with. Here is my son's tree house and the objects on the right are from his missions!
On top of the game and tree house component the website has a passport. For every book you read you answer three comprehension questions. If you get them right you get a stamp in your passport. They have it for all the books and the non-fiction companion books as well. Here is one page of my son's passport so far:

So if you are looking for something to hold your child's attention, and a fun learning component to go along with it, I highly recommend these books and the website. I do have to say that the comprehension questions are only knowledge base in the Bloom's taxonomy (I will write a whole post about this-I promise). What this means is that your child is just recalling information and not a lot of critical thinking is taking place. That is really my only negative comment about the whole thing.

1 comment:

  1. I will have to check them out! Thanks for linking up to TGIF! Have a great Thanksgiving & we'll see you next week!
    Beth =-)