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  Topic Review (Newest First)
10-30-2011 04:11 PM
purslaine

If you are doing MTH as read alouds, and the grammar is just too grating, try these (they are similar in theme, size, and intended audience as MTH ):

 

Geronimo Stilton  

 

Time Warp Trio

 

 

 

10-28-2011 09:08 AM
ChiaraRose

This is all you see in a book? Wow, through MTH my kids have discovered science, history and were able to listen to chapter books at a very young age. We love to listen to the series on tape read by Mary Pope Osborne and I love listening to her. Jack said and Annie said are annoying to me, too, but the we have benefitted so much in other areas. We use her books as starting points and then explore her topics further. They won't learn great grammar, but there is more to life.

10-28-2011 08:42 AM
journeymom

I'm with jgale, I couldn't stand reading Junie B. Jones out loud.  But I didn't care if dd wanted to read it to herself. 

 

And like I said previously about Magic Tree House, it helps to have a broad view of it.  Dd, seventeen years old, devoured both MTH and Junie B. Jones when she was little.  But in spite of that she's now an exceptionally articulate person.  She's actually something of a grammar snob. 

 

 

Edited to add, In my opinion the example of bad grammar these books provide has zero influence on a child's own eventual grammar.  Mom and Dad's example is practically everything.  Well, peers are in a distant second place.

10-28-2011 07:35 AM
Daffodil

I can understand people not liking Junie B. Jones books.  I'm neutral about them myself.  But I don't get the complaints about bad grammar.  It's supposed to be bad, because that makes it funnier.  Junie B. is a little kid, so she talks like a little kid.  (Maybe not exactly like most real little kids - mine certainly never sounded like that - but so what?)  Should characters in books never be allowed to use bad grammar?  Either your kid already knows Junie B.'s grammar is wrong (in which case the books aren't going to teach her bad grammar) or your kid talks that way herself (in which case the books aren't going to teach her bad grammar.)

10-28-2011 07:12 AM
hildare

i never really objected to the sentence structure in MTH, it just seemed like a journalistic sort of move to build excitement. 

however, i cannot can NOT stand junie b jones, and some of the others mentioned... the bad grammar really turns me off, which for some reason i feel differently about than the creative rearranging of sentence structure.  (junie b has double negatives, disagreement, etc.)

10-28-2011 04:00 AM
jgale

I couldn't read these out loud because the grammar annoyed me so much.  My kids listened to them on audio.  Ditto Junie B Jones and Judy Moody.  There are too many books that I love and can't wait to read aloud to read stuff that annoys me.  But I wouldn't stop my kids from reading that or almost anything else that they wanted to.

 

J

10-15-2011 02:32 PM
Imakcerka

Junie B is different because, it's supposed be from the vocabulary of a Kinder Kid.    When I read the books to my girls they laugh and enjoy the fun.  I have voices and am very expressive.  I write quite a few stories for them myself and it could be really boring but I can make it more interesting.  However the Magic tree house... BLAH!  DD1 got bored in kinder on that one.  Then picked them up again in 3rd and quickly set them aside for donating.  That bad to her. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post

When dd1 was into reading Junie B Jones, I had her read aloud a chapter and point out the errors. She had no problems with it, so I let her read them.


 

10-15-2011 01:00 PM
katiecat

This is an old post but when I first read it ds (and I) had only read one or two of the newer MTH books. Now he's started at the beginning and we have read the very first two and wow do the sentence fragments bother me! lol Even ds notices them. I would never discourage him from reading them for that reason and I think they are fine little adventures for that age group but now I see what you mean!

10-23-2010 03:22 PM
journeymom Please don't keep your child from reading books.

My dd devoured probably the first 35 MTH books before she outgrew them. She reads so much, she was in the rapid learner program, in jr high, is in Honors English in high school now. And is now reading Cry the Beloved Country, Farenheit 451, etc.

I'm just suggesting it's good to think long term and big picture.
10-23-2010 10:49 AM
Sativarain1 My kids have really enjoyed this series. The research books have taught them a lot. I found Magic Treehouse to actually be quite influential in teaching about whatever the topic was about. I don't mind about sentence fragments or minor errors, they read other books and learn English in school. Sometimes it's okay to kick back and just read something you enjoy.
10-23-2010 02:18 AM
AAK Magic Tree House are annoying to me too. HOwever, I thought of the fragments as the ramblings of the thought process of the characters. So, it worked for me. I didn't really like the books though and was happy that dd read them herself. I won't read them aloud. I try to read aloud books that I like and want to share with the kids.

One good thing, though, is that dd generally became interested in the topic of the book. If the Magic Tree House book was about the Amazon, we went to the library for books about the Amazon.

Amy
10-23-2010 01:02 AM
Starflower
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unoppressed MAMA Q View Post
I was just coming to bemoan the snarky undertones of the sibling relationship. Jack is a bit of an uppity brat toward his younger sister.
He may be snarkier than I thought. I've only heard one book on CD and DD has only read two of the other books so we have pretty limited exposure to these stories. For a comparison, we listened to a book on CD about a character named "Stink" on a trip once. He is Judy Moody's younger brother. Those kids were constantly sniping at one another and we noticed a bad attitude and snarkiness in DD after that trip. I haven't noticed this type of attitude in DD after reading any Magic Tree House books.

For school-aged dramas, I prefer the Ramona books. They have sibling rivalry but somehow don't seem as nasty or rude (though perhaps this is because they are old like me ). DD prefers fantasy and adventure books which seem to have less nit-picking in general. But now I am getting way off topic.
10-22-2010 01:03 PM
ollyoxenfree
Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen'nZoe View Post
I don't want to be nit-picky, but starting a sentence with a conjunction is OK. Most grammar books consider it to be just fine, even in formal writing styles. Along with prohibitions against putting a preposition at the end of the sentence, this rule is completely out-dated.


I start sentences with "And" or "But" all the time. I avoid it in formal writing, though, because there is still a big prejudice against it.
10-22-2010 11:29 AM
Unoppressed MAMA Q
Quote:
Originally Posted by Starflower View Post
Personally, I prefer them over some of the other kids' books just because the MTH siblings aren't constantly sniping at each other all the time.
I was just coming to bemoan the snarky undertones of the sibling relationship. Jack is a bit of an uppity brat toward his younger sister.
10-21-2010 06:41 PM
Owen'nZoe
Quote:
Originally Posted by babygirlie View Post
Never read them but reading yours did bug me. Who starts a sentence with And or But that is suppose to be an author. I would think they would be creative enough to say it in a better way. I would be concerned my child would think it's "ok" and then not understanding why she got bad grades. As long as they know it's not right I guess it doesn't matter but yea.. it would bug me to read that over and over. I'd be screaming in my head... why?!?!!
I don't want to be nit-picky, but starting a sentence with a conjunction is OK. Most grammar books consider it to be just fine, even in formal writing styles. Along with prohibitions against putting a preposition at the end of the sentence, this rule is completely out-dated.
10-21-2010 06:11 AM
babygirlie Never read them but reading yours did bug me. Who starts a sentence with And or But that is suppose to be an author. I would think they would be creative enough to say it in a better way. I would be concerned my child would think it's "ok" and then not understanding why she got bad grades. As long as they know it's not right I guess it doesn't matter but yea.. it would bug me to read that over and over. I'd be screaming in my head... why?!?!!
10-21-2010 03:56 AM
Starflower Unless a child is only allowed to read these books, I don't think it's likely that they'll base all of their grammar knowledge on The Magic Tree House. DD has only read two of them and listened to one on CD. She enjoyed the stories, could relate to the children and even learned a couple things about history and mythology. She hates history in most contexts so I thought this was a good thing.

Personally, I prefer them over some of the other kids' books just because the MTH siblings aren't constantly sniping at each other all the time.
10-21-2010 03:26 AM
Smokering Dan Brown does the same thing. Honestly, I nearly threw The Da Vinci Code across the room because I was so sick of his little snippets of sentences and repetition. I assume it was meant to build tension and/or appeal to those with short attention spans (like the one-and-a-half-page chapters), but it drove me barmy.
10-21-2010 12:42 AM
honeybee80 I also REALLY dislike these books for this reason! I can't believe they have become so popular given the horrible grammar usage. My kids haven't started reading these themselves yet, but I'm going to try to steer them elsewhere as they get to that level and do my best to encourage them to read books that contain correct grammar I have a really hard time reading them to my kids because I tend to get annoyed and verbalize my disgust with the way they are written
09-07-2010 03:54 PM
ancoda My son enjoys them, but he also reads lots of other books. Some of the books he reads have better grammar then others. I want him to gain a love of reading lots of different types of books.
09-07-2010 01:15 AM
ImaSophie
Quote:
Originally Posted by merpk View Post
My kids read them (or more accurately, I read them to them) a few years back, and yeah, the grammatical issues stood out, but you know what? They don't read to learn grammar.

We don't live in the US and I count on books in English as the mainstay of whatever homeschooling we do in English, but you can't count on them for grammar lessons. After all, some absolute classics are nightmares of grammar.

"Tom Sawyer," anyone? "Huckleberry Finn"?

And my 12yo just read a wonderful book called "Elijah of Buxton" that probably undid half of what he learned grammatically over the last 12 years. But that was also worthwhile discussion fodder; why did the writer make those choices, why are the words spelled that way, and why are these words that are thoroughly incorrect being used intentionally?

And if an award-winning book can be written with intentionally horrendous grammar, then why does he have to learn it, anyway? LOL

The grammar is a separate issue from the story, from the reading itself, with any book. The reading is the point. Grammar, go elsewhere for.






I totally realize that there's a big difference between a book about runaway slaves using bad grammar, where it's key to the characterization, and a series of books where the author just chose to disregard rules of sentence structure, etc. But the point is still the same. The books are for reading. Grammar is a different lesson.
My oldest reads Junie B Jones, Magic Treehouse, and a wide selection of what ever else catches his eye (right now he is very into Native Americans). I want him to LOVE reading! The point is not grammar IMO. The point is to get him reading, comprehending what he is reading, and enjoying the act of reading. The grammar will (or will not) come with time, a lot of the greatest writers out there have horrible grammar that's what they make copy editor's for .

To the poster that wants to discourage her son from reading a book series he enjoys why would you do that? He likes reading them, they aren't hurting him so why discourage it? he will outgrow the series and hopefully move on to bigger and better books.
09-07-2010 12:54 AM
PuppyFluffer Our introduction to the Magic Treehouse series was through borrowing them on CD (read by the author) to listen to on an 8 hour trip we just took. My 8 year old daughter really liked them from the audio cds. She did pick up a few of the later numbered books at a yard sale recently. I'll have to look at them and see the sentence structure. Interestng observation and yeah, I would have totally noticed that and been bothered by it. For ease of reading in a newly reading child, I can see the function.
09-07-2010 12:39 AM
madskye I think part of it is that she is writing with an aim towards building excitement in the plot developments. So the sentence fragments are basically...another clue!

And I agree that part of it is writing around the targeted reading level--that is a really, really hard game. Publishers say the hardest thing to write is actually a level 1 reader (which MTH books are not)--but something like Step Into Reading or I Can Read books in the easiest level. You're only allowed to use so many words and then you have to form a story around the pictures--supposedly it's maddening!

Mary Pope Osborne is a really, really nice hippie lady. I'll try to see if I can find a webcast of her somewhere, but I also think it might be the way she talks in real life. I met her a few times in my old job and she's really wonderful, but kind of groovy and excited and distracted if that makes any sense? So maybe part of it is just her personality coming through in the books.
09-06-2010 05:50 AM
merpk My kids read them (or more accurately, I read them to them) a few years back, and yeah, the grammatical issues stood out, but you know what? They don't read to learn grammar.

We don't live in the US and I count on books in English as the mainstay of whatever homeschooling we do in English, but you can't count on them for grammar lessons. After all, some absolute classics are nightmares of grammar.

"Tom Sawyer," anyone? "Huckleberry Finn"?

And my 12yo just read a wonderful book called "Elijah of Buxton" that probably undid half of what he learned grammatically over the last 12 years. But that was also worthwhile discussion fodder; why did the writer make those choices, why are the words spelled that way, and why are these words that are thoroughly incorrect being used intentionally?

And if an award-winning book can be written with intentionally horrendous grammar, then why does he have to learn it, anyway? LOL

The grammar is a separate issue from the story, from the reading itself, with any book. The reading is the point. Grammar, go elsewhere for.






I totally realize that there's a big difference between a book about runaway slaves using bad grammar, where it's key to the characterization, and a series of books where the author just chose to disregard rules of sentence structure, etc. But the point is still the same. The books are for reading. Grammar is a different lesson.
09-02-2010 09:56 AM
Aquitane DS read them more when he was in 1st and 2nd grade. He struggled with reading more than DD, so they were easier for him. It didn't take too long before he was bored with them.

DD was in a Junie B. craze last year. We've talked about how the writing isn't correct, and she understands.

I agree with LuckyMamaToo, as long as they're reading something, that's fine with me. (I do agree that the fragments are annoying, though!)
09-01-2010 11:59 PM
SubliminalDarkness I admit, I have never read one, but DS1 has. I think I'll be discouraging them from now on(though they're well below his reading level, he enjoys reading them here or there) because I don't want him to pick up on poor sentence structure. The only reason I really know what is proper is because I read so much when I was young and was able to learn that way. I'd hate to think that the activity which should be teaching is actually sending the wrong message.
09-01-2010 11:43 PM
ecoteat I used to teach 3rd/4th grade and I just could not recommend those books. If the author wants to improve readablily for kids, ignoring English grammar conventions is not the way to do it. Kids learn how to write by reading. I certainly did not want my students writing like that! What terrible modeling.
09-01-2010 09:35 PM
LuckyMommaToo Eh, it doesn't bother me (and I was a professional copyeditor!). DS reads all kinds of things: comics, graphic novels, classics, goofy series. Pretty much anything that engages him is okay by me. Right now he's on a Garfield comic strip kick. OMG they're SO bad. At least I don't have to read them to him!
-e
09-01-2010 12:54 PM
marieangela I noticed this, too. My 7 ear old read a few of those and is now reading Secrets of Droon books, which he likes better.
07-08-2010 02:53 AM
stik Short sentences help keep the reading level low, which helps the publisher market the books for early elementary students.

Personally, I think Pope is gaming the system. The computer calculating reading level uses lengths of words and sentences. The shorter they are, the lower the reading level is calculated to be. However, a book full of sentence fragments is not necessarily easy to read or comprehend. Pope should be using short complete sentences instead of fragments.
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