I have especially fond memories of my childhood of my mother reading aloud to us. Whether you consider yourself a Charlotte Mason homeschooler or not, I don’t think I have to convince you of the value of reading to your children. I have, however, recently been convinced that the quality of writing of the books you read to your children also matters.
It is simply an argument of input equals output. We want our children to become sophiticated readers and writers (See Andrew Pudewa’s Nurturing Competent Communicators), increasing their vocabulary, sentence structure complexity, and literary competence. This won’t happen if all they are only exposed to the simplistic writing styles of popular elementary reads. Dont’ get me wrong — I value interest-based reading, and I make sure my son has opportunities to read what interests him whatever it is, but I also want to expose him to great writing styles.
So, this year I am making an effort to read approximately 2 books a month aloud to my second grader and kindergartener from a list targeted toward this goal. As suggested by Pudewa, most of the books on my list were written before 1920. Before 1920, books were written for families. Around that time, authors began separating children’s fiction from adult and tended to ‘dumb down’ the children’s stories. This, of course, isn’t true across the board: Tolkein’s The Hobbit was first published in 1937 after all.
When creating this reading list, I chose books that would be interesting not only to my children but also to me and ones that they probably wouldn’t pick up on their own. My goal is exposure to good writing. I won’t be expecting in-depth literary analysis or complex book reports. Honestly, I don’t think I’m going to require anything: I just want them to follow the story.
Here are the choices I’ve made for this school year:
I’m excited! This is going to be fun for all of us, and hopefully we can build some memories like the ones I have.
Keeping Hands Busy
I have found that by allowing my kids to do an activity while we read actually helps them to pay attention better. Here are some ideas of non-disruptive activities that keep hands busy but minds free:
- Legos or other building blocks
- Cut & Paste Projects
- Play Doh or Clay
- Sensory toys
- Needle point
- Cross stitch
- Word Searches
- Sticker books
Download this reading list here.
What books would you add to this list? I’d love to hear about it below in the comments.
Till Next Time,