|She didn’t even bother to make her bed before falling asleep||with her books piled all around.|
To a stranger it would seem very odd to hear me say, “If you don’t do your chores, I am going to take away your books.” After all, most parents must threaten punishment to get their kids to read not the reverse. Sierra, however, loves books. Truly loves books, enough so that gift cards to Half Price Books and Amazon are her favorite things to receive as gifts. She comes by it honest, I love to read as well. Her older sister, Savannah, is a passionate bookworm, too. It was to Savannah that I first made the threat to take away her books and a friend of Cheyenne’s who was visiting, looked over at her and said, “That is just weird.”
Each year during our school days the kids use poetry or famous speeches as copy work. It is the premise that in copying really good literature, poetry and speeches that a child will “pick up” good writing, grammar, and speech patterns. I have seen this to be the case with mine and the kids find this a much more interesting process than workbooks filled with disconnected nouns and parts of speech. Of course, as a child enters the older grades the study of grammar and speech becomes more focused and advanced. But I see no good reason to turn children off to language in the written form before they have had a chance to develop a love of good literature.
Last year both Sierra and Jonathan copied from Emily Dickinson. I have loved Emily Dickinson since I did my senior research paper on her. It felt like visiting and old friend as I read through her poems choosing those that I thought the kids would enjoy. This year, Jonathan is copying poetry having to do with Texas History, mainly the Texas Revolution. Sierra requested to keep doing Emily Dickinson, it seems she has grown found of her as well. She told me that Emily had written her favorite poem, funny enough it was entitled “A Book”. Sierra is also recording her copy work in a spiral with one of her favorite books on the cover: The Hunger Games.
A Book, by Emily Dickinson
There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without the oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!