One thing I really enjoy doing with my boys (glasses or no glasses) is reading. I think it is a no brainer when they are younger because they love any age appropriate children's book. We have some old favorites, but through about the age of six, we could pull random books off the shelves at the library and they would be happy little bookworms.
The Hunter and Sauce are getting a bit trickier. Sure, they love the ever popular "Magic Tree House" series as well as "The Boxcar Children." They will often take these to bed and read to themselves at bedtime.
But I work to stretch them and broaden their horizons. I like to go to the library by myself and scan the chapter books for something that I know they will really enjoy, but that they wouldn't necessarily choose themselves.
And then, because I know they are going to love a certain book, I read it aloud to them.
I'm selfish like that.
I LOVE to hear their giggles and gasps and, "Oh man!" I get such enjoyment from the begging for just one more chapter. I cherish the moments when I'm tucking them in and they ask me who my favorite character is or what I think will happen next.
"Because of Mr. Terupt" caught my eye because as I flipped through the 260+ pages, I could see that the chapters were randomly titled with the same seven first names (Peter, Alexia, Luke, Jeffrey, Danielle, Anna, Jessica). The summary said that the story revolved around one phenomenal fifth grade teacher and seven (very different) students from his class told the story.
I knew that a story led by a creative, enthusiastic teacher would catch my big boys' attention. They are in the thick of experiencing the ups and downs of classroom learning, both socially and academically. Often, they will question WHY they must learn a certain concept. Other times, they will come home with a story of how another student said something mean for no reason at all.
I know that kids can be just plain mean for no reason, but I thought the different points of view would really open my sons' eyes and give them perspective that their fellow students are often more than meets the eye. Also, I knew they would enjoy the creative and dynamic teacher that Mr. Terupt would prove to be.
I was right. We finished the book in a grand total of four days. In every spare moment, they were asking me to read "just one more chapter." I had to hide the book when we had a babysitter one night because I knew they would finish it without me.
They laughed out loud at Luke's "dollar word" habit (you'll never guess). They started out hating Alexia, and then they learned to understand her. They cracked up at the plant experiment and seeing the principal's wedgie. All so perfect for elementary boys.
Although we are an in tact family, I know that many of their friends are struggling in broken homes. I loved the real life "behind the scenes" perspective it gave them on grief, loss, judging others, and freely giving to those who may appear not to have anything to give in return such as special needs kids.
Although painful at times, this story dove into all of those topics without dealing my kids anything that I felt was inappropriate for their ages. I felt it was so valuable to process through these types of feelings through a fictional experience.
If you have a third grade level reader or above, I emphatically recommend this book. I was so glad that I didn't just hand it to one of my boys to read alone. There were so many life lessons and discussion starters and we are all a bit more wise and compassionate because of it.