We love Raggedy Ann and Andy and the original stories written by Johnny Gruelle. In one of the many books I have read, I came upon a great idea to encourage beginning readers to practice reading. The idea was to have the child's doll or stuffed animal do the reading for them. I tweaked the idea a bit and this is how it worked. Jacob and I would sit down so he could practice reading out of his beginner reader books. I would hold Raggedy Ann in my lap and Jacob held his favorite bear. I would start by reading one page of the book as Raggedy Ann with my own made up Raggedy Ann voice. Then Jacob would have his bear read a page of the book. We would go back and forth like this until the story was finished. Jacob absolutely loved practicing his reading this way and would ask to read with Raggedy Ann and his bear. Prior to this, he had not been very interested in practicing reading and considered it a chore as so many little boys often do.
Raggedy Ann acted as a teacher figure during these reading times and she would correct Jacob's bear if he made a mistake. Sometimes she was a little bossy, especially when Jacob's bear got too silly. Jacob thought it was funny when Raggedy Ann reprimanded his bear and told him that reading time would be over if he did not behave. At the end of the story, Raggedy Ann and Jacob's bear would have a short wrestling match.
I admit, this way of teaching beginner reading is pretty funny but it really worked for Jacob. He still asks for me to talk for Raggedy Ann every once in a while even though he has moved beyond the beginner readers. The wrestling between Raggedy Ann and Jacob's bear at the end of the story is probably not something that little girls would be into and probably sounds pretty silly. It was a real motivator for Jacob though! Little boys just seem to have something for wrestling and bigger boys as well. My husband and four younger brothers, who are all out of school now, were doing some wrestling in the snow last Christmas. I should add that my husband and the oldest of my brothers did not actually participate but they wanted to. I told my husband that he has a family to support now and he does not need to get a wrestling injury.
Anyway, this story about wrestling just shows how different boys and girls are. I have never had an urge to wrestle myself although I am sure I would have enjoyed reading with my Raggedy Ann doll when I was a child. I guess I can thank my four brothers for teaching me how boys learn best. You can check out a couple of our favorite original Raggedy Ann and Andy stories below and you can buy your own dolls through the Kids Love Learning Store. Of course, any of your child's favorite dolls or stuffed animals can be substituted for Raggedy Ann.
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