Hey! Listen to This!

April 1, 2008 @ 6:48 am | Filed under: Books, Connections

Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, wrote a second book called Hey! Listen to This. It’s a collection of stories for reading aloud to young children. I read it many years ago and don’t remember anything about what stories are in the book; what I do remember, have never forgotten, is his story about the book’s title. He said his kids teased him about saying those words more than any other: “Hey, listen to this!”—and then he’d read aloud something that had fired his enthusiasm in a book, newspaper, magazine he was reading.

I laughed out loud the first time I read that anecdote, because that’s exactly what Scott and I did to each other all the time. We were practically newlyweds then, but it’s a habit that hasn’t changed over the years. At any given moment, someone, somewhere in my house, is likely to call out, “Hey, check this out” or “Whoa! You’ve gotta hear this!” and read a passage aloud for anyone in the vicinity.

Our bedsides are piled with books and articles one of us read and thought someone else would enjoy too. I suppose the flurry of links we email back and forth is an extension of that pile. Once upon a time, I was the one strewing reading material in Jane’s path. These days she strews just as much, or more, back into mine. Muse magazine has been the jumping-off point for a thousand heady discussions. I’m still working my way through the Redwall books she loves so dearly, not to mention the Arthur Ransome Swallows and Amazons series. She has more time to read than I do, so I get the fun of restocking her pile on practically a daily basis.

I’ve been reading Edward Eager’s Knight’s Castle to Beanie. It’s the sequel to Half Magic, and if you don’t know these books, you are so lucky because all the fun is still in front of you. Eager was (like me) a huge fan of Edith Nesbit’s children’s books. He set out to write books in the same rich and rollicking spirit, and he succeeded beautifully. Half Magic is the story of four siblings who find a magic charm that grants wishes. Sort of. It’s an old charm and only grants wishes at half strength, resulting in much mishap, hilarity, and confusion. For example, the youngest girl wishes her cat could talk, and the poor beast winds up able to speak a garbled, nonsensical half-version of English. The cat’s outraged utterances have become regular contributions to discussion around here. “Idgwits! Foos!”

The young heroes of Knight’s Castle, much to my children’s delight, are the children of the Half Magic kids. Jane tells me that the next book in the series, and I can’t remember if it’s Magic by the Lake or The Time Garden, but I’m thinking the former, is another story about the four Half Magic children, and then the fourth book is about their kids again. I’m told that the most delicious part is that the second generation of children actually get to meet their parents as children, though I don’t think they let their young future parents in on the secret.

One of my favorite things about Eager’s writing is his fondness for referencing other authors, other books. Nesbit in particular (the Half Magic and Knight’s Castle kids alike are great fans), but also Sir Walter Scott, Jane Porter, and many others. It’s as if Eager is always crying out, “Hey, listen to this!” and gushing about the books that set his imagination on fire.

Yesterday when I was reading to Beanie, Rose got sucked in. She’s read Half Magic herself but not the rest of the series, and she had thought she’d prefer to read them on her own but the snippet she overheard yesterday proved too bewitching, and she decided she wanted to hear the book out loud after all. She asked if I would catch her up, so we started over at the beginning and read all afternoon, and that’s why dinner was late.

In chapter two the children (two sets of cousins) are taken to see Ivanhoe, much to the delight of young Robert, who, we’re told, is in a yeomanry phase. Back at home, a massive Ivanhoe reenactment is set up by all four of the kids. The descriptions of Scott’s colorful characters had Rose and Bean clamoring to watch the same movie. (“In Technicolor, just like in the book!” says Bean.) Jane thinks it’s cool that Ivanhoe, the novel, makes an appearance in so many of her favorite books. It’s a plot point in one of the Betsy-Tacy high-school books, I forget which; I always loved the bit about how Betsy narrates the plot to two friends who forgot to read the assigned book over the summer, and they get perfect marks on the summaries they’re made to write on the first day of school, but Betsy herself, a devoted fan of the book, waxes on in such detail that she runs out of time while still describing the opening episode—and is severely rebuked by her teacher, who takes her paper as evidence that she never read more than the first chapter. Ouch, dear Betsy, I feel your pain.

When I was researching the fourth Charlotte book (I think it was the fourth), I found a Boston newspaper article from the year in which that book takes place excitedly announcing the arrival on U.S. shores of Sir Walter Scott’s latest novel, Ivanhoe. Naturally, I couldn’t resist including that event in the book, so Charlotte’s family enjoys it as their own read-aloud.

We were just talking yesterday about yet another children’s book that references Ivanhoe, but I forget what it was and Jane isn’t up yet. Probably there are many, but she was talking about one in particular.

I think Edward Eager would have gotten a kick out of knowing that Jeanne Birdsall set out to write her delightful novel The Penderwicks “in the spirit of Edward Eager and E. Nesbit.” The Penderwick children are also great devourers and quoters of books.

As I’m writing this, iChat is pinging me to let me know that Scott, making his early-morning internet rounds on the other computer, is saying “check this out” about something interesting he’s come across. Whatever it is, it’ll probably show up later in one of my del.icio.us link autoposts, the 21st-century version of “Hey! Listen to this!”


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Comments

23 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. Isn’t that the truth!

    My oldest is just getting to the age of enjoying some of my childhood favorites (Half Magic featured prominently).

    Introducing him to these books is just delicious!

  2. Say, Lissa, how do you deal with ugly elements in otherwise excellent books? It first came up for me with Ivanhoe, when I read it aloud to my oldest son. The anti-Semitism is sprinkled liberally throughout. I am reading Little House on the Prairie to my two middle boys, and am not quite sure what to do with the racism. I was opting for bowdlerization when the second-grader said, “Why didn’t you read that part?” Do you expurgate? explain? or something else entirely?

  3. Oooh, Oooh… you really hit that spot on the head! I have been reading the Caroline books to my 7 year old son who really is a good reader so I can no longer get away with that tactic either anymore. In our case, it’s in “Little City by the Lake” (but Lissa is not the author) discussions of Temperance meetings. Caroline is thinking that drinking liquor is wrong, especially on Sunday. But both my husband and I drink alcohol and of course since we do NOT see it as sinful to do so, there is no reason not to drink alcohol on Sunday. So I specifically addressed the issue mid-paragraph. When I was reading the LIW books to him, before he was at his current level (high 2nd grade/early 3rd), I just skipped or paraphrased the offending stuff.

    But this brings up another question for Lissa if she will perhaps be able to shed some light on the matter based on her research for the Charlotte books. Maria Wilkes wrote the first few Caroline books, and in them she writes in a scenario where an Indian was a lifesaving provider of fresh meat to Caroline’s family after Charlotte was widowed. Since the incident may likely have been referenced by Charlotte’s oldest daughter’s letters to Laura Ingalls Wilder, how then does one explain Ma (Caroline) having such hatred for Indians in Laura’s novels??

    There are any number of generally delightful older books with ungodly attitudes in them–one reason why I am rather suspicious of claims as to how wonderful “the good old days” were in a moral context.

    I try to explain the context of the time and the attitudes of the times to my kids when they do ask (or as CJ’s kid does, when they read over my shoulder!) but always link it whenever possible to a Biblical repudiation of the offensive action(s)/attitude(s). I admit it was easier to read and edit for them when they were not good readers!

  4. I love reading aloud. My boyfriend and I do it whenever we’re reading the same book. We read a good part of the last Harry Potter book to each other, he’s read me some of the Narnia Chronicles. We’ll read to each other over the phone sometimes.

    I love it! The other day I was watching my nephews, and I just started reading a book, out loud, to noone in particular. The 9 month old just listened while he played, and the 3 year old would play-listen, play-listen, play-listen. I realized that day that it doesn’t matter if they’re paying attention or not, they’re hearing a story. I felt all warn and fuzzy inside. 🙂

  5. Well, here’s a new series for us to try!! We are thick into Ivanhoe and we love it, love all the references in all the books you’ve mentioned too, what great connections to share with our kiddos!

  6. “how do you deal with ugly elements in otherwise excellent books? It first came up for me with Ivanhoe, when I read it aloud to my oldest son. The anti-Semitism is sprinkled liberally throughout. I am reading Little House on the Prairie to my two middle boys, and am not quite sure what to do with the racism. I was opting for bowdlerization when the second-grader said, “Why didn’t you read that part?” Do you expurgate? explain? or something else entirely?”

    It depends on the circumstance. For short bits and very young children, like the Ma Ingalls stuff, I might just skip over it. Or if the moment feels right for discussion (sometimes this is great, other times it kills the momentum of the narrative), I might do as Nancy says and talk about it frankly. Some of our best discussions have sprung from those moments, and it comes up more and more as the kids get older.

    If I had to generalize, I’d say it’s better to talk about problematic text rather than edit it out, because that lets kids know that just because something is in print, it isn’t necessarily true, and we have to use our own brains in analyzing the sense of something. Sooner or later they’re reading on their own and encountering all manner of platforms and prejudices. But I wouldn’t want to make such conversation heavy or didactic and kill the moment.

  7. “But this brings up another question for Lissa if she will perhaps be able to shed some light on the matter based on her research for the Charlotte books. Maria Wilkes wrote the first few Caroline books, and in them she writes in a scenario where an Indian was a lifesaving provider of fresh meat to Caroline’s family after Charlotte was widowed. Since the incident may likely have been referenced by Charlotte’s oldest daughter’s letters to Laura Ingalls Wilder, how then does one explain Ma (Caroline) having such hatred for Indians in Laura’s novels??”

    I believe the helpful Indian incident did come from one of Laura’s Aunt Martha’s letters. (That’s Caroline’s sister Martha, Charlotte’s oldest daughter, as Caroline notes–not Charlotte’s *mother*, the Martha of my books. Charlotte named her daughter after her mother. 🙂 )

    Nancy knows this part, but others may not: after Caroline Ingalls’s death, Laura wrote Aunt Martha and asked her to recount as many stories as she could remember from when she and Caroline were growing up. Aunt Martha wrote a very long letter full of anecdotes. In the 1990s, Maria Wilkes used this letter as the basis for many of the stories in the first books of the Caroline series. (She also did extensive research on land records, etc, so that the names of townspeople and other details are historically accurate.)

    I remember the discrepancy in the adult Caroline’s feelings about Indians coming up in editorial meetings…but I think everything I heard was theory and speculation? The papers in those days were full of stories painting Native Americans as ruthless savages and Caroline may have been influenced by this.

    I wouldn’t want to go on record as saying the friendly Indian incident was *definitely* a story told in Aunt Martha’s letter without checking the letter itself. I wasn’t on board yet when Maria was writing the first Caroline books, so I’m fuzzy on those details. Unfortunately, my copy of Martha’s letter is packed away w/ all my other Little House reference, so I can’t run and check right now.

  8. Hi Melissa ~ We are in the middle of another ‘tag’ and I have chosen you!
    Go to my Blog and check it out… 🙂

  9. Those sound good except for the fact that I have 2 reactions to Nesbitt. On the one hand I agree with the adventure and fun. But my overwhelming impression is “Victorian moralising literature”. I really felt like the message was pounded in rather brutally.

    I love that “he listen to this”. Unfortunately, it annoys the heck out of my partner who glares at me for interrupting him.

  10. We have lots of “hey listen to this” moments here and my dh and I instant message links back and forth many times during the day.

    I was commenting to someone recently how several of the older books (mostly written in the 40s or 50s) that I’ve read this past year either on my own or as a read-aloud reference classic books and the author assumes readers know the plot of those books. That seem to happen much less frequently in current books and I imagine that far fewer children today would be familiar with classics like Ivanhoe or Uncle Tom’s Cabin (the focus of a play in the 4th Besty-Tacy book).

    My dd who is ready for read-alouds is only 4.5 so for now most of those references are beyond her comprehension so I just explain that they are talking about a book that the characters have all read. I know it will be a delight when we revisit these books later having read some of the books they refer to. We read Half Magic a few months ago and it spurred and interest in King Arthur stories so we got some picture book versions of those.

    With my dd being so young but ready to listen to longer books and often ones intended for an older audience, I have chosem to skip over content dealing with racism and other issues. I think as she gets older I will try to explain them frankly. I agree with Melissa that it is good for kids to know that something isn’t right just because it is in print.

  11. I’m definitely adding these books to our list — thanks for the appetizing teasers! My son and I had a great time reading The Penderwicks last summer, so I’m interested in the forerunners. 🙂
    But, as usual, I got sidetracked by a small detail from your post, and I want to know, again, “How do you do it?” Specifically, you mentioned curling up with Rose and reading for the rest of the afternoon. What’s your strategy for managing this feat with a 2 and 4(?) year old around, assuming they’re not sleeping the whole time? I really struggle with reading anything more than board books aloud, esp. the chapter books my oldest craves, since we can barely make it through a full sentence without being interrupted by the attention-seeking toddler. We all end up frustrated. Do you just have the olders entertain the littles while you’re reading? I know other moms struggle with this so maybe this can help others as well …

  12. Hi Lissa! Since you mention restocking her book pile daily, I was wondering how you deal with the “book gobbling” phenomenon? I am having a hard time getting PT to slow down, I am still not entirely convinced that he needs to, but I notice that CM curriculums usually encourage reading fewer books with more care? I know that fun, distracting reading can go fast, but I also want him to understand that he needs to read CS Lewis differently than he might read the Hardy Boys? Right now he is probably spending two or three hours a day just reading on his own and getting a new pile from the library each week.

  13. “I want to know, again, “How do you do it?” Specifically, you mentioned curling up with Rose and reading for the rest of the afternoon. What’s your strategy for managing this feat with a 2 and 4(?) year old around, assuming they’re not sleeping the whole time? I really struggle with reading anything more than board books aloud, esp. the chapter books my oldest craves, since we can barely make it through a full sentence without being interrupted by the attention-seeking toddler. We all end up frustrated. Do you just have the olders entertain the littles while you’re reading? I know other moms struggle with this so maybe this can help others as well …”

    Hannah, all I can tell you is some days it works, and some days it doesn’t. 🙂 Sometimes the youngest two will play quietly (or semi-quietly, quietly enough) while I’m reading aloud. Other times they are very noisy (especially my hard-of-hearing boy who has no idea just how LOUD he can be!) or there are interruptions every two sentences. When that happens, sometimes I’ll ask Jane to take the little ones outside.

    Or I’ll wait until Rilla’s napping, which cuts the distractions and noise down by half. Wonderboy likes to watch Signing Time with the volume turned down (go figure), so that’s another strategy that works for us occasionally. But not always.

    I don’t have any one sure-fire solution; it’s just a question of juggling and grabbing opportunities when they present themselves, I guess. Mealtimes have always worked pretty well for us as read-aloud times, because then everyone else’s mouth is full. 🙂

  14. “I was wondering how you deal with the “book gobbling” phenomenon? I am having a hard time getting PT to slow down, I am still not entirely convinced that he needs to, but I notice that CM curriculums usually encourage reading fewer books with more care? I know that fun, distracting reading can go fast, but I also want him to understand that he needs to read CS Lewis differently than he might read the Hardy Boys?”

    Mary Alice, I was worried about this myself a few years ago, but I’ve come to believe it’s not a concern. Chances are he’ll return to C.S. Lewis in years to come and discover new layers every time. I know that is the case for me. Jane reads fast, and rereads, and rereads again. I think that’s how she likes to encounter books: gulping down the story, getting the suspense business out of the way 😉 and then revisiting the book and savoring it more slowly.

    I’ve noticed that she reads much more slowly when the prose is challenging, like Chesterton’s Father Brown stories.

    Rose seems to prefer to take her time with a book. Beanie goes more like Jane: reading quickly, then rereading (or even just rereading favorite parts—this goes for both of them).

    It’s a challenge to keep them supplied with new books, but they all seem to like revisiting old favorites multiple times. I guess they take after their parents in that! Scott and I first clicked over a discussion of The Lord of the Rings in which we discovered that each of us had reread it at least once a year since middle school. 🙂

  15. Thanks. 🙂 As I suspected, sounds like I’m not alone!

  16. I’d just like to add to the thread of reading aloud with busy children. I don’t have as large a family as some of you, but I always read when my children are/were very busy and otherwise engaged. Often I read to the oldest boys when the youngest — or all of them — were playing in the sandbox. What luxurious towns were constructed and destructed as we plowed thru books. I never was distracted by the little-boy-made puff-puff-tractor-noises or whatever they did in the background – I just read on.

    One of my very most favorite memories was the first summer that my then 2.5 year old could ride a scooter. (Yes, he could). This coincided with our living in an apartment with a large and vacant-during-the-day asphalt parking lot. I would have all of the kids out scootering around me in a circle, pushing away with wheels clacking in the gravel — and me hammering out D’aulaires Greek Myths. This came naturally for me, because I have taught many miles of horse back riding lessons, with kids on horses circling around me as I spoke with them – often pretty loud to get the message out there over all that might be going on in the ring. So, with the boys, sort of the same thing. Every once in a while I’d get them to change direction. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but my kids are/were quite a bit more apt at absorbing material when their bodies or at least their little hands were fully engaged. Imagine my delight when they later developed some whacky little card game based on Greek myths (each card was a boy-drawn mythological character) – which they had only been exposed to via scooter!

    When the weather was bad, I sometimes gave a toddler a few plastic bowls and cups with a tiny amount of water and some wooden spoons to play with on the open door of the dishwasher. As he poured back and forth, the rest of us read on – and he got to listen too! A small amount of mopping up with a towel after meant that part of the kitchen floor had been de-stickied for the day, too!

    I also used a “rice box”. Put rice (from the REALLY big bags, so cheap) in a shallow box (with an old plastic shower curtain under it for easier clean-up of that which escapes the box). Supply the boy(s) at the box with funnels, trucks, cups, and spoons and let him pour and play — and read on! The rice saves for ever (snap a top on the box) and what doesn’t get taken outside for a shake from the shower curtain isn’t toxic to dog or baby (tho’ may be slippery if you leave too much of it).

    We often read in the hammock, so a little one can explore or play on the swingset near by or throw the dog a ball 250 times –Read on!

    Play dough time for the youngest was always good read-aloud time for the older kids. We also often used Oak Meadow techniques of having the children draw what they were listening to, which encouraged the youngest to also engage in “art work,” keeping him busy.

    You might be able to tell that I have a high tolerance for distraction, and I also have learned to keep stuff where the kids can get what I want them to be able to have (age/size dependent! – like the art supplies). I’m also fine with a temporary mess if it gives opportunity for books and, when I really think about, is not THAT much trouble to clean up — Read on! (Planned messes always seem more manageable than the old Hersheys syrup hand prints going up the wall along the steps….)

    The simplest times were when the youngest just had out blocks or duplos and was busy and active and the rest of us curled up on the couch with books and drawing pads. Yes, sometimes it was squealy or messy or shorter than I wanted — but this morphed into EVERYbody being able to listen for long periods of time, eventually.

    I remember when I first brought my oldest out of school after 4th grade, and I tried to get him to “sit still” while I read to him. O! The folly! I have learned in the many years since (could it really be TEN? or ELEVEN?) that kinesthetic learners may not only “learn by moving” but “move while learning.”

    And so — we read on!

  17. Hi,

    I just wanted to chime in on reading aloud to the children. I have nine children and as they are in adulthood or moving that way, it feels odd to call them children. They are now 23, 21, 18, 17, 15, 13, 12, 10 and 8.

    Our best memories are of the books I have read aloud. There was a period of time that I probably read aloud four hours a day. Those were during the years of using Sonlight Curriculum and that was while expecting my eighth child on past the time that my ninth child was born, so until my oldest was about sixteen years old.

    I accomplished it by reading during meals . . . captive audience. I would always eat while preparing the meal so that as soon as they sat down, I could begin reading. Then I continued to read while they cleaned up the dining room and kitchen. I usually read to them before bedtime as well. We also would play clean up games that would entail me reading to them while they straightened a room. If they could finish before I finished a chapter or two (depending on how long the chapters were) then we would move on to the next room for more straightening and reading. The consequence of dawdling was supposed to be that they would still have to straighten the room with no reading … but it never happened. I would always slow down at the end of the chapter if they needed a few extra minutes.

    I have found it more difficult to read to them as they have gotten older. As their outside activities increase, our time together has decreased. No one wants to miss out but sadly, they must at times. I don’t want to rob the younger ones of what the older ones enjoyed.

    Even now, my 18 yos will ask, “are you going to read to us while we eat, Mommy?” Gotta love that!

  18. Melissa, thanks for sharing how you manage read-alouds. I’d been wondering how that worked too.

    Jeanne and Cynthia, I’m so glad you both wrote about reading aloud while children are active. My dd always wants to wiggle and squirm while I read and I do get distracted easily but you’ve encouraged me to try to work through my own distraction and accept that she’s taking things in even when she’s doing something with her hands or her whole body.

    In the comments on Comments on Comments, Jennifer mentioned that trying to read aloud to her daughter was one of the hardest transitions from one child to two and I remember crying after my second was born because every time I started reading to then 3 yr old which was my favorite part of our day, the baby would start crying. My 3 year old would want to me to just keep reading as though nothing was happening but my heart was racing as I tried to scream the words of the book and bounce the baby.

    But now there are times when the baby will just crawl around playing while I read or she will cuddle on my lap and listen for a bit and my 4 yr old and I always have a long reading session after the baby goes to bed for the night.

  19. Wanted to say that nursing my babies and, yes, toddlers, also helped me manage reading aloud to the others. I think my kids probably associated hearing Mom read with nursing from a tiny, tiny age (and probably were aware of this part of our lives before birth!). A toddler that needed Mom could come for a bit of nursing, cuddling, and touching base in a way that meant he got his needs met while the reading went on – and I didn’t have to get up for a bottle or provide distractions that were more demanding of me and that would interrupt the flow of words. I know some moms have different needs and make different choices about this, and I would not want to undermine the validity of those choices, but for those who are in a position of weighing weaning, just thought I’d throw out there that extended nursing was a literary help to our family, LOL.

    Another thing is, all my kids are live wires, and as luck would have it, the youngest is the most physically precocious and energetic of all. He truly has been “off the scale,” and it was quite the task just to assist him in understanding the boundaries of living in a house that was not a play structure during his early years. I have long found that “reversing” what is often thought to be the normal course of the homeschool day has worked best for him. I’ve commented about it before – but as a little guy – unless he was scootering or physically engaged, he was most able to do “quiet” reading and writing at bed time. We now do most of our academic work between 8 pm and 10:30 pm in bed. I’m pleased to say that his capabilities in terms of being able to attend to things at other daytime hours is now what would be considered “normal” or even “better than normal” for a ten year old boy — but I still feel he is extra receptive in the late evenings. DH goes to bed early because of his early work hours, and I am more into Andy Griffith than American Idol anyway, so missing prime time TV doesn’t bother me.

    We have the ability, as homeschoolers, to shape things so much more than many families. “Doing what works” sometimes means really examining if there is something different that might work better. Or — just doing what FEELS like is working and winnowing away the little pieces you can that are still bumps in the road. (I had trouble with the verbs in that sentence — no, the verbals — but I am not going to fix them). Then you can pretend you examined it, but really you just lived it! That is more or less how the “night-time academics” came to our family.

    I think that coping with background noise and distraction can be really challenging, so I don’t mean to minimize that, and like I said, many of you have larger families and so the effect is a bit exponential. But I do think I have benefitted, and I know the kids have benefitted, from just sort of reading thru and over as much of it as possible, and of setting up the environment so that the Littles and Mediums can be occupied while the reading goes on.

    And lest anyone think this teaches kids not to LOOK like they are paying attention, let’s face it, we have PLENTY of opportunities as they get older to point out what the general public sees as “attending behaviors” (eye contact, sitting up straight at the table, taking notes, nodding and giving other indicators of receptivity). I have seen that my older kids do just fine in their college classes and work meetings without any blocks to play with!

  20. Oh! And weaving! I suddenly remembered that it was weaving that healed my newly-at-home child into being able to be read to for longer periods when he was about 5th grade age. We started out with a little hand loom made out of cardboard (with little slits in it? You’ve seen these. You set up the verticals — I can’t remember my warps and my wefts — and then use a popsicle stick “shuttle” to do the horizontals.) Later he graduated to a real little table top loom.

    I have to credit Oak Meadow again, for helping me realize the value of hand work -and then we just put it together with the reading. He wove for hours when I’d previously pictured he should just snuggle quietly on the couch or something. He was working hard to de-school during this period, too (me too, obviously). What a great relief it was when we hit on weaving! So he did that and the little brothers would be doing other stuff and we just kept reading whenever possible, as much as possible.

    Need to get that loom out for the now-ten yo!

  21. Jeanne and Cytnthia, I loved both your replies as they fully resonate how we have adapted many of our read aloud times throughout our home school journey. We all find that these are the most enjoyable part of our day together as well and I would not put off RA’s in lieu of a little noise, even though I have THE most squirmy and loud 2yo right now, I love the sandbox idea, and as soon as the snow melts and uncovers our box, sigh, we will be doing that for sure. Encouraging play during the RA’s is a great form of multitasking IMHO, 🙂 Thanks for your detailed and engaging repsonses!!

  22. “Mary Alice, I was worried about this myself a few years ago, but I’ve come to believe it’s not a concern. Chances are he’ll return to C.S. Lewis in years to come and discover new layers every time. I know that is the case for me. Jane reads fast, and rereads, and rereads again. I think that’s how she likes to encounter books: gulping down the story, getting the suspense business out of the way 😉 and then revisiting the book and savoring it more slowly.”

    Mary Alice
    I agree with Melissa on this. My oldest literally reads hundreds of books a year, she can easily ‘bolt down’ three to five books a day and as she is now 14 these include some pretty meaty ones. She ‘gulps’ down the first time round. Then re-reads often and then will often be found re-reading just her ‘favourite parts’. Truly it is a blessing in many ways to have a child like this as she has read so much and been exposed to so much knowledge I wouldn’t have been able to impart timewise myself. Having said that it is a challenge to pre-peruse what she reads as I don’t want her reading something that she is not yet ready for.

    My kids know I consider Hardy Boys acceptable ‘twaddle’ so it doesn’t count as number of books read. I only record ‘worthy’ books. Last year I started recording what dd read and it made for a reassuring heartwarming list.

  23. […] boxed set of Edward Eager novels: Half Magic, Knight’s Castle, Magic by the Lake, The Time […]