Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Reading the Classics

Some of my favorite parenting moments take place snuggled up with my boys on the couch or in bed with a good book. We really love reading together. We are so blessed to have an OUTSTANDING local library (ranked #1 in the nation) AND a great collection of books here at home (many from my collection as a former teacher and from my generous sister-in-law who has shared her collection with us). We've got many favorites that we read over and over again, but we are always checking out new ones as well.

Some of the boys' current favorites happen to be ones that I have fond memories of reading as a child. Adam has been poring over this one everyday and practically has it memorized:

The Giant Jam Sandwich (Sandpiper Book)

Ray really likes this one:

The Funny Little Woman (Picture Puffins)

Some of our other favorite "oldie but goodies" are:

Tikki Tikki Tembo

The Little House Board Book
The Five Chinese Brothers (Paperstar)

Tonight we just finished reading The Velveteen Rabbit by Marjorie Williams. The boys absolutely loved it... and so did Jon. It was his first time hearing this beautiful classic story.

The Velveteen Rabbit

I like to use a few different criteria to select our books for reading together. Our homeschool curriculum is partly based on the Core Knowledge Sequence, which includes the "What Your ____ Grader Needs To Know" books. We read all of the books recommended by that great resource. I also follow the suggested reading lists that our library publishes by age group. Finally, we are working on reading all of the Caldecott Medal and Honor books.

According to the Association for Library Service to Children, "The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children." The award began in 1938 and you can find a list of all of the award-winning books here. A few years ago I printed out the list and put it in a binder (where I also keep a running log of all of the books we read aloud). As we read each book, I highlight the title on our list.

Let me just say that this Caldecott reading challenge has been very fun for the boys and for me. We love spotting the shiny silver and gold "medals" on books as we browse at the library. (I usually bring a list and look for some specific titles as well.) We enjoy the old stories as well as the new ones. We like talking about the artwork and whether or not we think it "deserves" the honor. We have read such a great variety of stories and seen such a wide variety of art styles.

At this point I think we've read more than a third of the Caldecott books. I highly recommend taking on this challenge. It prevents you from getting in a rut with reading the same types of books and it keeps the children from wanting to read only books with characters they've seen on TV.

I am really happy with the interest my boys have in books and I look forward to many more years of reading with them.

On a similar note, I have just taken up an American classic that I sadly have never read: Gone With the Wind. I am embarrassed to say I've never even seen the movie. It seems like a great book to kick off my summer reading (since we have a more relaxed schedule and I actually have some time to read).

So, what are you reading these days? What classics do you and/or your children love? Leave me a comment!

Also, if you want to embark on the Caldecott challenge (and you're local - Central Ohio), let me know. I have copies of lots of them. I'd love to lend them to you.

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. We also love the Caldecott books and are in on the challenge! We have been slowly collecting our favorites. Are you just focusing on the winners or are you also reading the honor books too?