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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 3: The story unfolds....

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While I think of this to be the most charming of all bookshelves I have EVER seen..THIS...

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is a more accurate pic of what's going on over here at Cainberly! (And can I just say, if you image Google "bookshelves", be prepared for some very inspirational photos, Fellow Book-lovers!)

Books ooze from the mortar holding the house together.  I think the only room that doesn't house books is the diningroom!  And while my husband does not read for pleasure, and I do not as much as I would like to- both of my children enjoy reading.  I have always felt like my job, as a mother AND a teacher, is to supply the nutrients that my children need to grow body, soul, and spirit. I think this is what fuels my book buying addiction.  I see books and my first thought is, "What if THIS is the one!  The book Ben will read that will change his entire life?"  Don't boff, books do, in fact, change lives. I hold the book just as responsible as the parents who sit down to snuggle, as the comfy couch and hot tea, even as responsible as the person who is doing the actual act of reading, for making or breaking the bonds we build as we grow through read aloud time as a family. And whether it be through family read aloud time or solitary quiet reading, books have the power to change a life- for good or bad.

When Abby was four, I read the entire Laura Ingals Wilder series to her in three weeks!  That little one would barely let me go cook a meal before she wanted me back on the couch reading the rest of the story.  She ate it up- every word, every chapter, every book!  Flash forward a few years and we have Ben at six years old.  We were having some heart issues with Benji, and I remembered some wise tidbits in Farmer Boy, so we read it together during family read aloud. Diligence, perseverance, selflessness, obedience, honor, integrity, honesty, character- all life and heart lessons from ONE book written so transparently and beautifully. Now, months later, Ben still talks about some of those life lessons Almanzo had to face as a seven, eight, nine year old- and shares his thoughts with regards to how it relates to him in his present day life.  Books yield power in lives that absorb them.

I started keeping a list of all of the chapter books we have shared together as a family.  I want to remember each adventure we took together.  Chapter books differ from picture books in that we are invested in them. We take part in the gradual unfolding of characters and plots.  We submerge ourselves in the imagination of settings, voices, dress, and sounds.  While I do love our picture books, I will heartily confess that it is our nightly read aloud time that I enjoy most. (And I will confess, that upon occasion, I have been known to toss curriculum aside, put the kettle on, pop some muffins in the oven, and call school to order on the couch with our most dear friend, Paddington!)

Here's a partial list of books we have covered together as a family.  The asterisks denote some of our MOST favorites.

The Little House series*
Charlotte's Web
Trumpet of the Swan
Stuart Little
Dear Mr. Henshaw
The Chronicles of Narnia* (Thru The Silver Chair because we just can't bear to read the last book!)
The Hobbit
The Fellowship of the Rings
Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIHM
My Side of the Mountain*
The Far Side of the Mountain*
Frightful's Mountain*
A Bear Called Paddington*
Paddington Helps Out*
Paddington Goes to Work*
More About Paddington*
The Boxcar Children
The Family Under the Bridge
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle*
Mrs Piggle Wiggle's Farm*
Ben and Me

Let me also mention audiobooks.  We have no family in the state we live in, so we find ourselves taking frequent road trips.  We had a dvd player in the van for trips only, but we have since "shelved" it (pun intended) in exchange for audiobooks.  Most libraries lend audiobooks in the children's section.  Also, I have bought many used audiobooks from library sales for $.25-$2.00!  Our favorite audiobooks are, of course, by Jim Weiss, and we have even listened to Story of the World 2 on audio.  Stories make trips go by so quickly, and we always stock up on them before we scoot out of town.  Here are a few we have listened to:

The Hiding Place
The Mouse and his Motorcycle
The Black Stallion
Ann of Green Gables
Call of the Wild
The BFG (Our favorite read by Natasha Richardson!)
Mrs Piggle Wiggle
Various Magic Tree House
Various Boxcar Children
The Cricket in Time Square
A Bear Called Paddington (Yes, HUGE fans of Paddington.....he's just SOOO funny!)
A Wrinkle in Time

Do you have any greats to share with us?  



Kym Thorpe said...

The tree bookshelf is so cute - but not very practical. LOL Our family favorites have been The Chronicles of Narnia, Around the World in 80 Days, Treasure Island, and Mark Twain's short stories as well as Tom Sawyer. We've read one G.A.Henty book that everyone liked so I'm looking at doing more of those. My daughter and I will be reading the Little House books together this year.

Oh, and Anne of Green Gables would be very quick to point out that she is Anne with an E. LOL I couldn't resist, just because it was so important to Anne! ;-)

Joelle A. said...

Your list looks very similar to ours. And the audiobooks, yes, and yes: Story of the World, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the Narnias'. Great series BTW.

Jenn said...

Oh, I'd forgotten about Redwall! My boys listened to it at the same ages my girls are now. I have the cassettes hiding in a closet somewhere. We absolutely MUST pull these down today!

Cuddled on the couch with a good book is my favorite way to learn with the kids. Our latest couch favorite has been 1001 Arabian Nights - the Geraldine McCaughrean version. There is an emphasis on muslim tradition that required some discussion, but they are beautifully told and quite funny and clever.

PhotoBert said...

Well, my kids may be well past reading to them but we still talk about books. I have fond memories of reading to the boys as they took their baths, in their bed, by candle light when the power went out during a storm...authors are wonderful...may they continue to tell their stories...
Good article Marla.

Aunt Kathy