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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]

There are two sets of 8+1 lights flickering on my front windowsills right now - a tad late, but well within the time limit. And they are beautiful, as they always are, and they're also a trifle sad because it's the end. Maybe that's why I filled my oil cups so high - so they'd last longer.

On the whole, this was a lovely holiday. I got several books from Jonathan, including a collection of Connie Willis stories that were, not surprisingy, wonderful, and a Yeast Giant Microbe. I made applesauce. :)

I gave my mother-in-law a menorah pin, and my niece got a stuffed dragon whom she fell in love with. And maybe my favorite gift that I gave, for reasons beyond gift-giving - one of my husband's young cousins, age eleven, only learned how to read in the past year. He's a bright kid, but reading intimidated him.

What broke through? Comics. Manageable chunks of print and exciting pictures, and in highly interesting subjects. Last year, I gave him Marvel Ultimates Spiderman. And this year? Marvel Ultimates Fantastic Four. He loves Fantastic Four, and so, instead of watch football with his father or playing poker with the rest of the boys, he stayed in the room with the little girls and read the trade paperback. Not quickly, but he clearly enjoyed it. I loved seeing my niece play with her dragon, but watching Benjamin? Was special. And seeing his mother look so happy? Even more special.


I'm so glad you and your family had a wonderful Chanukah! My S.O., in particular, send you a hearty kudos for the gift to your nephew. (He mastered basic and intermmediate English by reading comics, and is of the opinion that comics are a fantastic way to learn and encourage learning and reading.)

I've noticed a lot of religious families out the past few days. They all looked so happy. It was nice to be able to watch people being happy, doing ordinary things together that seemed to make them even happier. Best gift in the world.

I completely agree about the comics. Not only are they motivating but they use a real vocabulary - words the kids would use themselves. And they illustrate the words in *real* manner. And then it encourages discussion and imagination.

I got him the Spiderman comic last year because I'd had a chat with Benjamin's mother a few months earlier at my brother-in-law's sheva brachot (party during the week after the wedding.) She was concerned because he wasn't reading and mentioned that he loved superheroes. I suggested comics at the time, and got them a kid-friendly one for Chanukah.

I'm very happy about all that. Even if it is Marvel. :)

My brother learned to read with Stephen King.
Whatever works, you know?

Yes, indeed.

I promised myself to light every night this year but of course instead I lit once and then forgot. Doing anything Jewish is such a damn conflict for me...

As far as presents... I gave my daughter some Alton Brown stuff and she gave me the first DVD of the anime Pumpkin Scissors. And my friend in Germany sent me this little plush dude thing she sewed herself, which was really sweet.

What Connie Willis book did you get? I've read almost all of hers.

Yay for you! Reading is so incredibly crucial. I'm really ok with being horrible at math, but there is absolutely no replacement for reading skills.

My mother, who trained as a teacher in South Wales in the 1930s*, was a great enthusiast for using comics to encourage children - particularly boys - to read. Her reasoning was that motivation was the key.

Come to think of it, that was how she taught me to read.

You must all be delighted that he has clicked to it. If he's had problems for so long, he must be much happier in himself now.

*Not exactly a time and place that one would associate with such a radical attitude

Isn't it wonderful to see the reading light come on in a young person's face! My mother always said "I don't care what she's reading as long as she reads." I grew up reading anything from cereal boxes to novels. At 55 I'm still a reader, I LOVE IT! My son's was not so much a reader, he could read but never really enjoyed it. Then at about 12 those horrible little horror mysteries for kids became popular. He loved them. I cringed and let him read them to his heart's content. Now as an adult, he's still not the reader I am but does sit down with a book to relax now and then. He works with computers all day and sometimes picking up a book is really nice. When his kids come along I hope he and his wife allow them the fun of finding out about reading through many different channels including comics. I grew up on Archie, Superman, Fantastic Four and yes even True Romance. Boy did I just date myself.