Meeting Ramona...

Every parent out there, whether they homeschool or not, knows how difficult it can be to get your kid to actually WANT to read. Of late, Jeromy had been going through what I can only hope is a normal period of not wanting to read any more than what is required of him in his school work. Me being his mom, teacher, plus a self-prescribed Book Geek, well...this did not exactly settle well. I decided that the key was to find books that HE was interested in reading on his own, and not just books I wanted him to read. I found a few that he liked, such as the Beast Quest series, and the Fudge Series by Judy Blume. When he got through those, I hit a bit of a dead end; everything I suggested didn't interest him one bit. In a move of sheer frustration and desperation mixed with a desire to run for the hills screaming, I introduced him to Ramona Quimby, that quirky, funny, and absolutely adorable character from the genius mind of Beverly Cleary.  So from the Scholastic Book Clubs I purchased an entire Beverly Cleary set, which included five books, three of which were about the Quimby Clan.  Since my son is still at that stage where girls and anything to do with girls, including the color pink, must be avoided at all cost, I decided the best way to bait the hook was to let him read Henry and Ribsy. For those of you not familiar with the story line, Henry is Ramona's brother. Jeromy absolutely loved this story, mainly because of the mischievous yet oh-so-lovable dog, Ribsy. It was in these pages that he met a little girl named Ramona, a character that he could identify with on so many levels....even if she was a girl and much younger than he is now. I honestly think that he remembered more about Ramona than he did of Henry and Ribsy! He laughed and giggled while retelling to me about all her exploits and adventures, about how she was always causing trouble and mischief, even though she didn't mean to (moms, does that sound familiar?). He identified a lot with her infectious curiosity and blatant honesty. Jeromy chose Beezus and Ramona next, which he found to be just hysterical as he read of the amazingly comical yet loving relationship between two sisters. Then just today he finished up Ramona's World, where Ramona is in fourth grade.  Coincidentally, that's exactly the grade Jeromy will be in the next school year! I know loyal Ramona fans out there are wondering why we skipped over Ramona Quimby: Age 8 and Ramona The Pest...rest assured, Jeromy has already put this on the top of his reading wish list, and they will be next.

I decided to blog about this not just because I'm ecstatic that my son is actually now wanting to read independently, all on his own, and he's reading chapter books! But what touches my heart is that he's enjoying stories that I treasured as a child. I've loved reading and books since I could put letters and words and sentences together...the Book Geek in me sprouted very early on. Ramona Quimby holds a special place in my bibliophile heart because it was her stories that really showed me how enjoyable reading was. And like Jeromy is now, I could most definitely identify with her natural curiosity. Meeting Ramona in books was like meeting a new friend who knew exactly what it was like to be in nursery school, to be 8 years old, or to be in fourth grade, to have older siblings that were always somehow irritated with me, and who knew what it was like to have every one think she was a pest! Now of course, I don't think of my son as a pest, but I believe that in Ramona he has found a friend whom he can relate to. It will be very interesting to watch and see how he reacts to the next Ramona stories he reads. And more importantly, I'm just going to enjoy seeing him curl up with a good book because HE wants to read, and not just because mommy is making him.

* Square photo courtesy of this SITE.
* Tall drawing photo courtesy of this SITE.

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