Tuesday, June 1, 2010

the summer of the read aloud

Every summer I start a list of projects/things that I want to accomplish during my break from school.  And although it is officially summer here in the Quick household, I've not yet started my list!  shock!  One thing I have decided on, is that this summer is going to be the summer of our read aloud.  John and I heard a speaker in April who talked about what it takes to grow great writers.  Typically, parents and teachers tend to think that if a child is an avid reader, that they will in turn be a flourishing writer.  This however is not necessarily true as some of those avid readers churn through books so quickly that they skim over parts, dodge tough vocabulary and often (though not always) dine on books that typically lack literary inspiration.  (you remember The Babysitter's Club, Captain Underpants....? no judgements here except that these aren't great literary works) 
In order for a child to internalize solid language skills that are patterned after classic pieces of literature, they need to hear good literature in whole.  One of the best ways to help children acquire these language patterns is to read out loud to them.  Hearing books out loud allows children (of any age) to acquire language patterns that they will later use as they write and communicate with others.  So, this summer, I am going to read out loud.  (can you hear the cheers?)  
I'm starting with Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott as this book will hopefully be enjoyed by all of us.  (I started it yesterday and so far, my 91 year old grandmother and my 8 year old are thoroughly enjoying it!)  I know that sitting and reading aloud is going to take some commitment and some iron willed-perseverance on my part, but I'm hoping that we'll make some memories as we turn the pages through this summer.  So, I'm looking for ideas....what are your favorite books for reading aloud?  
 "Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers." ~Charles W. Eliot

23 comments:

rohanknitter said...

Andrew Pudewa is the best - hearing him speak when my boys were younger really helped me understand them better from an educational standpoint. I used to read aloud to the kids a lot when they were younger but I must admit we don't do that much anymore.

Naturalearthfarm said...

We are probably going to read Heidi aloud this summer. We always have one or two books or articles that I read from each day. I have found a way, though, to knit while I read aloud (simple projects that require no counting).
Enjoy!
Warm wishes, Tonya

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

"Eight Cousins" is my most favorite of all Louisa May Alcott's works. I loved this story so much. In fact, Adrienne over at the Some of a Kind blog suggested making next month an American authors' month....And I immediately thought of this book. Too coincidental that it's on your list too.

I would also strongly recommend "A Year Down Yonder" by Richard Peck. It won the Newberry Medal and is a tremendous read-aloud book.

You're making me want to sit down with my brood and revisit these stories -- though I don't think I can persuade my older two to join in the fun. (They're too "sophisticated" for such things).

Christina said...

Ooohhhh, I remember my parents reading out loud to me when I was at home; those are some of the BEST memories! I promise you won't regret spending the time reading out loud with your family! (You can also pass the book around the circle of listeners and give them each a chance to read a chapter which will really save your voice!) Some of my favorite read-aloud books were the little house books by Laura Ingals Wilder, various biographies (I went through one stage in particular where I voraciously devoured "famous scientist biographies: books about Newton, Boyle, Pascal, etc.), the Chronicles of Narnia, Shakespeare, and Jane Austen. As I got older, we moved to a place where we had an excellent selection of books on tape (and that makes me feel kinda old!) at the library. We would have never have made it though books like Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy without having it on tape. Other memorable recorded books were various books by Charles Dickens, The Count of Monte Cristo (can't remember the author, sorry), and Ben Hur by Lew Wallace. We loved listening to recorded books as a family because we could work on hand projects (like sewing) or travel but still listen to, absorb, and discuss good literature. In addition, many good recorded books are read by actors/actresses who have well-modulated voices and excellent expression and who are a joy to listen to. Of course listening to recorded books isn't going to replace reading out loud with your family, but it can keep the literature motivation up while life is crazy. Anyway, here I ramble on. I hope you are oh, so successful at your summer reading plan and hope that you'll share the books you're reading with us too. : )

From All Stitched Up said...

Between you and Jodi I am being inspired to read. I haven't done much in the last few years. Maybe this will be my summer project.

Peach Pod said...

I vote for 'The Count of Monte Cristo', 'Charlotte's Web', any of the Harry Potter books (my son and I loved listening to these on tape), C.S. Lewis books, Paddington the Bear books and Winnie the Pooh.

Kristyn Knits said...

Another awesome post! YOU are SO knowledgeable. And I SO appreciate you sharing with us! Will you please offer open enrollment in that one room school house of yours, so I can pay to send the boys?

I'm sure my parents read to me at some point, but I don't remember it. I want the boys to remember. I am so thankful Mark is diligent in reading or listening to a book on cd each night. Just a few favorites-The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (but you already knew that one!), Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, Hattie Big Sky, and The Penderwicks.

June 7th starts our family reading challenge- 45 minutes of reading each day by each member! YIKES! now that will require some diligence on my part.

Tracy said...

Reading aloud--such a good idea! Hubby & I sometimes read aloud, often in winter months, as winter is long here--good for cozying up with books. "Eight Cousins" is great to start with, Lisa! Anything L.M. Alcott is. Also L.M. Montgomery too--remember "Anne of Green Gables"?! Oh, Laura Ingalls Wilder--great reads, and great read alouds. Do keep us posted on this, and what you read. Books on disc make a fun alternative to read aloud too. I usually make a summer to-do list, but have yet to do mine too. Since back from vacation I'm all over the place getting back on track... LOL! Happy Days :o) ((HUGS))

Meg said...

This post is right up my alley--I love to spend summer nights reading aloud with my kids. In years past, I spent 15 minutes per kid, but my voice couldn't handle it. I'd like to find some crowd-pleasers that 10 year old girls and 6 year old boys will enjoy.

I still bring home plenty of picture books from the library, too. I figure you can never be too old for those.

And I just checked out the Lost Quilter yesterday!

I look forward to hearing how your summer reading goes.

Green Acres in the City said...

Little Women. I still remember my mom doing just what you are! I love it!

Gloria said...

Some of the books (that I can remember) I read out loud to my girls were: The Hiding Place, Mermaid Summer, The Saturdays, The Secret of NIMH, Houseboat Mystery, & Fantastic Mr. Fox. My husband read, James and the Giant Peach, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, The Pagemaster, and Tom Sawyer.

There is nothing like that warm, cozy feeling you have when reading together as a family. Our eldest daughter is reading out loud every night to her children (they live with us). I love hearing the stories and laughter as well...:)

Happy Reading!! :)

Emily D said...

Well, mostly repeats, my husband and I have done all of The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and Narnia together, plus many, many books on tape/CD...My little boys and I are working our way through Laura Ingalls Wilder...Thanks for the encouagement!

cinnamongirl93 said...

What a great idea! Reading aload will make every book you read a memory of all involved. Hip hip hooray for you!!!!

Larissa said...

Summer is the absolute best time to read aloud because there's no school or homework to worry about. We just finished James and the Giant Peach and all ages around here enjoyed it. I have also read all the Narnia books aloud this year. Some weekends we drive for several hours to the city and back and we always listen to a book on tape in the car. I have never read Eight Cousins and judging from your recommendation and Jodi's comment I need to get to the library pronto! oh, i wonder if my girlie would enjoy it... Wonderful post Lisa!

Mackenzie said...

Haha, funny, I was Andrew Pudewa's neighbor of sorts for a while when I was a kid...my brother worked for him as a summer job filling orders and such. He's great!

Anyway, my mom was a major read aloud fan, almost every afternoon growing up we would all flop and listen to her read...some days we would make her go for hours lol. Anyway, some of our favorites were
The Little House Series (boys like it too, esp Farmer Boy!)
The Railway Children
The 5 Little Pepper books (check Wikipedia for a list)
The Chronicles of Narnia

That should probably get you started....Oh, and I don't know if you have more girls or boys, but girls generally like the Betsy & Tacy books. :) Have fun reading!!

Ruth said...

I love to read aloud with the kids. I have a list from Honey for a Child's Heart and like to pick books from there. I am planning on reading Charles and Mary Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare aloud to the kids this summer and more but I'm not sure which books. I am thinking David Copperfield. It is long but I love it.

Ruth

Anonymous said...

Because of Winn-Dixie, Charlotte's Web, A Wrinkle in Time, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, A Wind In the Door, (these three are by Madeline L'Engle) The Chronicles of Narnia, Old Yeller, A Year Down Yonder and for laughing out loud....Skinnybones by Barbara Park. These are just a few... I am a school librarian so I could go on and on ....I have read all of these aloud.
carol

Kristi said...

We are currently reading "Anne of Avonlea," as our homeschool group is putting on that play at the end of the summer! We have loved TumTum & Nutmeg in the past, as well as The Tale of Despereaux. Happy Reading!

Firefly said...

Good for you for doing this for your kiddos! I still love being read to -- one reason I suppose I love audio books -- plus, I can knit while listening to a good book ;-). I've never read "Eight Cousins" - must do so soon!
Blessings to you and yours,
G

Tiffani said...

He spoke at our group about a year ago, too, and I was SO encouraged by that point. Writing has been one of our weakest areas. I find it difficult to teach, and my son especially, is not into it much at all. But we have used Sonlight all along which involves a LOT of reading aloud, so maybe there is still hope!

Reading aloud as a family is one of our favorite things. Sometimes we'll get in a routine of doing so after dinner and before bedtime. There are so many books and so little time!!!

Hope you might post some reviews of some of the books in your stack there when you get to them! :) That journal keeping one on top sounds interesting.

The WoodLand School said...

I just found the NEATEST treasure on iTunes: Lit2Go (part of iTunesU). This is a stunningly amazing collection of *free* literature to download and enjoy. We're taking a huge road trip tomorrow -- and I have already stocked our iPods with treasures that you and your readers have suggested. Thanks so much for the post ... and happy reading!

ali@skeinsherway said...

Oh, yes! We just started 2 new read-alouds today!

Beth said...

I'm so glad there are people out there who know this and proclaim it to be true! As a classroom teacher, reading teacher, auntie, and mother - nothing brings kids/people together like a little read aloud. I was fortunate enough to have a mom and dad who read to us until we went off to college. When I met my husband - the first vacation I took with his parents - they read out loud in the car! No one is too old for a read aloud - I wish someone would read aloud to me all day long!