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    Term 3 and Summer Read-Alouds

    August 15, 2009 by Brandy Vencel

    It is probably obvious that we weren’t able to spend as much time reading as usual this summer. For us, the hottest parts of summer are often spent with our books. However, this summer has been more mild {if this is global warming, I’m in favor of it for sure}, and for the first half of the summer, I hardly saw my children at all. Any books read aloud were read to Si in his hospital bed, which it turns out only I remember.


    So, usually I put this list in a cool Amazon widget, but when I looked back at old posts, the widgets don’t contain the lists any longer, which is a real disappointment, so I’m going to do this the old fashion way and paste each book into the post individually.

    Here is the list. Any book under fifty pages was read at least three times.

    Saint George and the Dragon
    by Margaret Hodges

    Little Britches:
    Father and I Were Ranchers
    by Ralph Moody

    Twenty and Ten
    by Claire Bishop

    Make Way for Ducklings
    by Robert McCloskey

    The Birdwatchers
    by Simon James

    The Secret Garden
    by Frances Hodgson Burnett

    by Sterling North

    That last one has some content that might be a bit questionable for children this age in that it conflicts with our faith, but the beauty of reading aloud is that the reader can skip right on over it. Wonderfully written books can be read in spite of one or two defects. When the children are older, we will read it in full and discuss the ideas, but for now we will saturate them in beautiful works without worrying about false ideologies {in this case, humanistic evolutionary theory}.

    Reading The Secret Garden with my son was interesting. I wondered if he would reject it as a “girl book,” but he didn’t! Instead, he loved all the gardening detail and pretends to be Dicken and charm animals. Lately he and his sister have been charming a stray kitten, and I really wish they wouldn’t.

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  • Reply an encourager August 17, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Oh, thank you! I am always on the lookout for good reads!

  • Reply Brandy August 16, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Oh, Claire, I hope you have a wonderful time with those grandbabies! My children love it when my mom snuggles up and reads to them, and I think this is universal with grandkids! You will have to let me know what you think about My Life for Yours as that is one I haven’t read yet…Actually, I don’t even own it yet, though I plan to. 😉

  • Reply Claire August 16, 2009 at 5:16 am

    Well I just placed another order with for St. George and the Dragon and the Twenty and Ten plus two more books – my grandchildren are coming next Saturday and they love to be read to and read themselves. Today I got Douglas Wilson’s book, My Life For Yours, in the mail. It is like a mini-Christmas everytime I open my mailbox these days! I am reading Jaber Crow for fun in between my Centurion readings!

  • Reply Brandy August 16, 2009 at 3:48 am


    We own that version of Old Mother West Wind! I just love it; gave it to A. as a Christmas gift one year. That is definitely one of my favorite Thorton Burgess collections in general, and Hague did a wonderful job.

    The Reluctant Dragon is a good one to read to a child after they have become very intimate with St. George and the Dragon. It is a twist on the original story, where this particular dragon would rather read and isn’t really into fighting, but he and St. George put on a show for the village people, who are itching for a good fight and a story to tell. It is very cute, well written (one wouldn’t expect any less from Grahame), and Hague did a great job, as usual.


    I totally agree that reading the same story over and over has its benefits! I usually have a stack of read alouds that are preschoolish or picture book types that they can choose from whenever we have a spare fifteen or twenty minutes, and I’ve noticed they want to hear the same one three or four times before they move on to another.

    I actually thought I was reading The Secret Garden too young, but we had a copy that was enticing and they asked me to read it. By the end, only my oldest was listening. We will definitely be reading it again when more of them are old enough to appreciate it.

  • Reply Kansas Mom August 16, 2009 at 1:05 am

    I’m glad you mentioned that you read any book under fifty pages at least three times. I’ve been thinking I would repeat some of our books but wasn’t sure if I should include it as part of the official homeschooling. Certainly there is much for little ones to gain by hearing a story more than once. I’m also considering building in time during our “school” story time to let the kids choose from something we’ve already read together. (Of course, we’ll do that often during the less formal story times at other times.)

    The Secret Garden is one of my very favorite books, one of the few I still own from my youth (so many were passed down and away and never came back). I think I need to wait a little longer, though. First Son is only five, after all.

  • Reply Rahime August 15, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    I got a copy of St. George and the Dragon on PBS after you mentioned it in the spring…and one for my niece since she liked it and I’m entirely too possessive of my “children’s” books. Mine. It’s beautiful, and I love it.

    The Secret Garden was my mom’s favorite book, so I had it read too me and read it on my own many times growing up.

    The others look interesting too, The Reluctant Dragon particularly…Michael Hague and Kenneth Grahame, what a team! I thought of you the other day when I picked up a book illustrated by Hague @ the library bookstore…”Old Mother West Wind”. It’s a collection of stories but Thornton Burgess. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but the illustrations are so charming and magical.

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