They were each excited to get a new book for International Women's Day: "Hotel for Dogs" for Katya; "Kung Fu Panda"* for Natalia.
Katya usually reads in English; her reading in Russian isn't as strong and she needs to do it more often. We're simply thrilled she's a passionate reader and have pretty much let her decide what she wants to read out of all the books we've provided.
Natalia is really blossoming as a reader, too. She shunned most of our beginning reader books this fall, not wanting to be pushed at all. She refuses to do anything her sister has done sometimes, insisting on finding her own way; unfortunately, that has meant staying away from any of the books her sister loved. (Come on! She just has to read all the Magic Treehouse books!) Then all of the sudden, of all things, she became passionate about an inane "Wizards of Waverly Place" book about the Disney Channel show (probably because Katya had never read it). The book is way above her reading level, but she has stuck to it, steadfastly, stubbornly, and proudly.
Two weeks ago she put down that book, however, and devoured her children's Bible in two days. While the text wasn't as hard as the "Wizards" book, it was not easy -- and it was 150 pages! Since then, she has reread it!
At the same time, her skill in reading in Russian is also taking off! She can figure out sentences in her sister's new book, and she can read her own without much help -- albeit VERY slowly.
*The Panda book is part of the "Learn to Read" series in America, translated into Russian. I'm glad there are slowly becoming more books designed for beginning readers to read on their own; while this type of literature is the standard in the USA, it's not here. Children's books here go from infantile picture books to l-0-n-g fairy tales with text way too difficult for a nervous beginner, without care taken to create reading levels.