Thursday, December 11, 2014

Our kindergarten reading list

Reading aloud is one of the most important parts of our day.  We've always read to our girls, even when they were little bitty.  And I don't plan to quit reading aloud to them even when they learn to read themselves.  There are many reasons to continue reading aloud to kids even when they're well into their teen years.

What we're reading

As far as which books we choose to read, quality is definitely more imporant than quantity.  I have spent the past several months purging our house of books that would fit under the category of "twaddle."  These books have no meat to them; they're just silly and nonsensical and are not literature.  They remind me of comedian Brian Regan's bit about the book about the clock - Page 1:  The clock.  Page 2:  Tick-tock.  Page 3:  The end.  Back cover:  18 bucks.  

Or that part in Despicable Me 2 when Gru is reading the girls a bedtime story about kittens.  "This is literature?" he asks.

Anyway, my point is that I've been much more thoughtful about the kind of books I read to the girls.  I want them to get used to reading good, quality, well-written literature so that they can appreciate it in the future (and be able to keep up with the rigorous Ambleside Online (AO) curriculum! - which is the curriculum we will be using, by the way), and so that their minds can actually feed off of it and develop meaningful and lovely ideas.

In my previous kindergarten post, I listed a schedule of read-alouds that we were following throughout the week. know.  That kind of went out the window.  The schedule, I mean - not the actual books.  Right now there's no schedule as far as which books are read on each day.  At certain times of the day we just pick up a book, from a list of books, and read.  Then we put it back and the next day we pick up a different one.'s what we're reading.  Most of our reading happens at breakfast, lunch, before and/or after naptime, and before bed.  All hours of the day.  *Edited to add that we don't necessarily read at all of these times everyday - these are just the times that we will most likely read.

The Beginner's Bible

We read one or two Bible stories each morning.  More on this in another post.

The Real Mother Goose (online here)
The Random House Book of Mother Goose
The Illustrated Treasury of Children's Literature - contains many poems for children
The Young Puffin Book of Verse
A Child's Own Book of Verse (online here)

We don't read from every single book each morning.  I'll choose one book each day and read a rhyme/poem or two (or seven if it's Mother Goose - they love it).

The Illustrated Treasury of Children's Literature
Kindergarten Gems (online here)
For the Children's Hour (online here)
The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter
The Children's Book of Virtues

Just like the poetry books, we don't read a story from every single one of these books every single day.  When it's time to read, I choose a book (or let the girls choose) and read a story.  We rotate the books throughout the week, in no particular order.

Picture Books:
Too many to list.  This link and this link provide lists of wonderful picture books.  The former link also explains a little bit about choosing quality books.  We don't read books only from these lists, but I have been more careful about choosing quality, well-written stories.

Here are some of the girls' current favorites:  anything Curious George, Bread and Jam for Frances by Russel Hoban, The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone, any of the Carl books by Alexandra Day, Madeline and others by Ludwig Bemelmans, just to name a few.

Current Chapter Books:
The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The Adventures of Buster Bear (online here or listen online here)

We usually read one chapter from Winnie the Pooh once per week (or every other week, it just depends).  From the others, we'll read one or two chapters once or twice per week.

There are also other books that I would love to include - I mentioned some in my other kindergarten post.  However, at this point I just haven't found the time to incorporate them regularly into our days.  Books such as Among the Meadow People and others by Clara Dillingham Pierson, Pilgrim Stories by Margaret B. Pumphrey, Fifty Famous People by James Baldwin, and The Dutch Twins and others by Lucy Fitch Perkins, are wonderful free, online books for this age.  I may read from them more after the first of the year because I may or may not be getting a Kindle for Christmas (ahem), which will make it sooooo much easier to read online books.

The last thing I have for you is a list of the chapter books on my kindergarten read-aloud list.  Of course, I may not get to all of them this year, but it gives me plenty to choose from.  Addy also listens in most of the time, although since she's only 3, I don't require her to sit there.  She can go play if she wants, but she usually stays :)  The link I provided toward the beginning of my post (about the reasons to read aloud to your kids) links to an article that talks about how children can listen at a much higher level than they can read.  So it's really good for them to listen to books that may seem too complicated for them because it builds their vocabulary and expands their minds.  Plus kids understand a lot more than we think :)

The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne - currently reading
Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
Stuart Little by E.B.White - finished
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl - currently reading
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
Raggedy Anne by Johnny Gruelle
Raggedy Andy by Johnny Gruelle
My Father's Dragon series by Ruth Stiles Gannett - finished
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
The Adventures of Buster Bear and others by Thornton Burgess - currently reading
Old Mother West Wind by Thornton Burgess
Milly Molly Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and others by Betty MacDonald
Tumtum and Nutmeg and others by Emily Bearn
A Bear Called Paddington and others by Michael Bond 

Happy reading!