Friday, August 27, 2010


See, I'm getting better already.  Two posts in one night! *grin*

One of the unexpected benefits of homeschooling has been realizing the importance and the joy of reading aloud with our boys.  Most people agree that it's good to read to young children who can't read themselves, but in general it seems like it dies out once the child can read on his own.  While looking for good books to check out from the library, I came across The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.  It had a great list of excellent children's books, but Trelease also makes a strong case for continuing to read to children.  It's been a while since I read it, so I won't try to summarize the reasons here (hint, hint--read it yourself!), but suffice it to say that it transformed my thinking about reading with my kids.  I couldn't wait to get started--and we were off!

Since then, we've read quite a few books (beyond picture books), including the entire Chronicles of Narnia series (for quite a while after we read the first two, all of the characters in the boys' pretend play were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, with the occasional White Witch or Prince Caspian thrown in for good measure.  Oh, and both of them named a stuffed animal Aslan. *grin*).  I love curling up on the couch with the boys to read a chapter (or two!).  Our most recent conquest--just finished tonight--is Pinocchio.  This oversize version included beautiful illustrations by Roberto Innocenti.

Let's just say that the Disney version sweetens things up a bit!  We enjoyed it, but I really think that Carlo Collodi (the author of Pinocchio) and his contemporary Lewis Carroll (whose Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has prompted unfounded speculation about possible drug use on his part) may have been drinking the same Kool-Aid.  But reading such a strange tale has made me realize one thing--children don't have to be able to understand everything to appreciate beautiful literature.  And the more we expose them to it, the more of a taste they'll develop for it themselves.

I also thought it was interesting that the first blog post I noticed on my reader tonight when I logged in to write this was on a similar subject.  Check out this post by Jenn at The MOB Society on the importance of reading classic books to boys.  Good stuff!

Now, where to go from here.  Too many books, too little time!  Maybe The Secret Garden--I've already got that on the shelf . . .  Off to check some lists!

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