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    School Prep: Book Substitution

    July 18, 2013 by Brandy Vencel

    It seems like every year I discover that I’ve accidentally read one of the literature selections aloud before its assigned time. I do try to be careful, but I forget what is assigned and what is free reading and the result is the need to substitute another book. This year, The Hobbit is assigned as literature in Term Two for my Year Six student. I read that book aloud to him when he was four, and by the time he was six or seven he was reading it over and over and over. He’s probably read it twenty times at least.

    All of this is to say that I would never, ever try and change his relationship with that book by asking him to narrate it. That relationship of his? It’s of the private kind.

    Besides, with a child who is a vigorous reader, I consider my job to expand his reading, not go over ground he’s sure to cover on his own.

    With that said, I wanted a replacement that “felt” right–I wanted that sense of timelessness and adventure, that feeling of magic.

    This is a hard requirement if you’re also looking for high literary quality! There is a reason why Tolkien still reigns supreme in this genre.

    And, yes, E-Age-Eleven has also read the Lord of the Rings trilogy numerous times, so that was out as well.

    After discussing my dilemma with a couple trusted friends, I’ve decided on this:

    He loved Sir Nigel when I read it aloud a few years ago, and he’s read it a few times since, so he’s ready for this book. It’s assigned as a free read for Year Seven, so I know it meets the literary test. It does have that more ancient feel–though not much in the way of magic. In all, I think it’s the best solution for my dilemma.

    With my other children, I’m saving The Hobbit, of course, but for this child, I think Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will serve nicely.

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  • Reply Lisa August 20, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    I love the respect you have for your child’s fabulous relationship with the Hobbit! I also enjoyed your post about different books for different children. I found you via Jeanne at A Peaceful Day. Great blog!

  • Reply Silvia July 21, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Brandy, shoot me an email. You won Longitude!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel July 22, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      Yay! Wow–leave the internet for a few days, and look what happens! Thanks, Silvia. I’ll email you now. 🙂

  • Reply walking July 19, 2013 at 11:00 am

    I have to do book substitution for Pamela too because of her unique needs (making huge strides in her autism and aphasia). The good news is that the road is paved for me to plan curriculum for a school! I’m keeping in mind we have students doing Year 2 and Year 4 who have never narrated living books. It is going to be an exciting year!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel July 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      I am so excited about your school! I hope you are able to keep blogging through this busy first year…I really want to hear about your progress.

  • Reply Brandy Vencel July 18, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    That does make it tricky! I think I will have that problem more and more as the years go on. One year at a time, though…it is all I can think about!

  • Reply sara July 18, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    What a nice looking book! My problem is that until very late this year, my oldest still needed me to read his books to him and my youngers have all sat in on them. So, NOTHING will be absolutely new to them. So much for narrating after a single reading. Thankfully, he’s reading fluently (and voraciously!) since just before we began summer break so at least the older grades will remain a surprise.

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