After Read Aloud Week last week, I’ve just about exhausted all of the blog-worthy picture books we’ve read lately, so I thought I’d share what we’ve been reading on the chapter book front.
My girls and I average a chapter a day in whatever chapter book we’re reading at the time. We always read a chapter in said book as the girls finish their lunch (Lulu always wants “one more thing” and Louise will eat as long as we sit at the table, so there’s always time for this). The girls usually ask for more from our chapter book read-aloud at various other times during the day, so sometimes we read more than one chapter if time permits. We’ve been sharing chapter books as read-alouds for well over a year now; I would guess we started when Lulu was not yet four. Due to this, the girls have developed fairly long attention spans for these read-alouds. (Click here and scroll down for the chapter books we’ve enjoyed together this year.)
We finished re-reading Charlotte’s Web last week, and yes, I cried again. We read it for the first time last spring (I remember because we read some of it outside on pretty days), and the girls have listened to the audiobook (my review here) several times. I wanted to read it again because we had the opportunity a few weeks ago to attend a local children’s theater production of a play adaptation of Charlotte’s Web. Although it was a very loose interpretation (texting lambs and Charlotte in high heels, anyone?), the girls really enjoyed it. It was a big day for us. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, though, beats the original. I adore White’s descriptive prose:
The barn was very large. It was very old. It smelled of hay and it smelled of manure. It smelled of the perspiration of tired horses and the wonderful sweet breath of patient cows. It often had a sort of peaceful smell–as though nothing bad could happen ever again in this world. It smelled of grain and of harness dressing and of axle grease and of rubber boots and of new rope. And whenever the cat was given a fish-head to eat, the barn would smell of fish. But mostly it smelled of hay, for there was always hay in the great loft up overhead. And there was always hay being pitched down to the cows and the horses and the sheep. (Charlotte’s Web, chapter 3)
Isn’t that perfect? Charlotte’s Web also has what I think is the best ending line for a book in the English language. Read it already if you haven’t. Better yet, share it with someone you love.
After Charlotte, I was eager to plunge into The Trumpet of the Swan (we’ve read Stuart Little already, and while the girls didn’t love it, they have shown interest again in our audiobook version). Alas, I cannot find the copy I’m sure I possessed at some point in my life, and the library we frequent either doesn’t own it or it’s always checked out (I haven’t checked because I really want my own copy). I’m going to order it from Paperback Swap when I have earned enough credit. (I found it at a local used bookstore before this post went to press!)
So the question then was what do we read next? I posed this question to the girls, and OF COURSE, they clamored for a Laura Ingalls Wilder book. (If you haven’t been reading here at Hope Is the Word for very long, you can read here and here about our Laura-obsession.) Never mind the fact that they listen to at least an hour’s worth of a LIW audiobook every day during rest time–they wanted more! I couldn’t find my copy of Little House in the Big Woods so I pulled Little House on the Prairie and commenced reading. I haven’t read all of these books since I was a little girl, so I have forgotten how beautiful and simple they are. The beatific expression on my girls’ faces during read-aloud time now is priceless. I love that they know the story so well that they get excited about what is coming next. I usually make them stay quiet about it, though, because I don’t want any spoilers myself. We have had so many interesting conversations as a result of their love for all things Laura–from history to geography to vocabulary to music, it’s all there. It is the sharing of wonderful books like this that really makes me eager to home educate my children. I’m pretty sure that if they went to traditional school, their affinity for stories like this would diminish mainly because of lack of time to immerse themselves in both the stories and imaginative play about the stories. Of course, that’s another post for another time.
What is your family enjoying right now as a read-aloud? Please share in the comments or leave a link to your blog post. Oh, and don’t forget to grab the Read Aloud Thursday button!