Wednesday, January 20, 2016

a successful resolution for 2016 (so far)- reading aloud every day

Life gets crazy, I teach at the college late, and I needed a push to read aloud to my children. I made it a resolution for the new year, and I told them. They keep me honest. 
My children are 16, 15, 8 and 6; all are fluent readers and book-lovers except for the baby. She would be considered behind if we were at a brick and mortar school, but we are working slowly as usual in our homeschool. My gentle, slow and steady method of teaching reading has been successful but perhaps 'behind' by today's standards. Children #1 and #3 were fluent at the end of second grade and child #1 was fluent at the end of first grade. 
One reason why they love reading, I believe, is because I read to them a lot. With only one non-reader, I feel like I wasn't reading to them enough. My resolution was to read a chapter from our chapter book and one picture book a day every day- bare minimum. So far, so good. Here is what we have read this year so far (affliate links if you click through and buy) ....
our chapter books- finishing up is so satifying when Nellie gets her comeuppance, and the Christmas chapter is so wonderful. I love stories that depict true girl power in a context of family and morality. My children listens and wondered to the portions about church days. They cannot understand going to church in a space that is simply an empty box with no vestments, icons, stautes or Eucharist. They can appreciate the Bible verse memorization, though and poor Laura's humilation when the teacher gave her the shortest verse to memorize. 
We are reading The Trumpet of the Swan. I adore the language of the prideful cob swan father; his vocabulary is so challenging to my six-year old, but he uses so many synonyms in a row that everyone understands the new words in context. This is a story that is really all about overcoming disability to the best of one's ability... lots of lessons here, but not preachy or heavy-handed. 
some of our 2016 picture books so far...mostly for fun
I Really Like Slop! by Mo Willems is a new favorite. Gerald the elephant decides to try a tiny bit of slop (part of 'pig culture') so he can understand his best friend, Piggie. Elephant and Piggie books consistently depict strong, loving friendship and empathy. We love them!
The Flowers' Festival by Elsa Beskow is vintage illustration at its best with a beautifully gentle, simple story. The only conflict is that the troublesome weeds want to join the flowers in their Midsummer party. I am on the hunt for her other books.  
We keep our Christmas books in a bin, hidden away; it only comes out during St Philip's Fast (Advent) and the Christmas season. Mr Willowby's Christmas Tree is a new favorite. What happens when the tree is too tall for the room? Trim it, and then....someone else gets the trimmings...and then...
Jen Brett just is Christmas for me, so we read all of her works during wintertime... every book has so many surprises to find....and I love hedgehogs!

We enjoy everything from Tomie dePaola. Probably our favorite is The Holy Twins, about saints Benedict and Scholastica. The Legend of the Poinsettia and The Night of Las Posadas are Christmas favorites.  
Debi Gilmore's crabby small fox asks his mother- "if I were a squishy bug, would you still love me and give me a hug?" She answers like all mothers, fox, chicken, sheep or human. 
and there were so many more! It has been fun fulfilling this resolution! 


  1. We love The Little House series. I, too, am trying to get reading aloud back on the schedule more consistently this year. It is so easy to let the busy-ness eliminate that from the list of 'to-dos'

    1. one earth-shattering change I have made- we read our chapter during the day (we homeschool- but normal schoolers could do this right after class) and the 'fun' picture book right before bed. It was too easy to put off a chapter if I waited until bedtime- moms get tired!

  2. ah, that is what I needed to change as well - we are SUPER busy at night and some of the kiddos not getting home until after 8 - a schedule not conducive to reading before bed!

  3. Great list! Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree is a favorite here, too. Never heard of the Beskow book. I'll be looking for that one at the library. Thanks!

  4. We love Beskow, Little House, dePaola, and Brett. Great List.


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