Happy New Year’s Eve! I hope you’ve had a wonderful month of December, and that you’ve been able to steal away a few hours to spend reading aloud. It has been a busy month of reading for us–between our Christmas Book Basket reading and our Civil War reading, we’ve enjoyed a number of books. Rather than focus on that, though, I want to share some end-of-year thoughts about reading aloud. First, though, the list:
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (mom and dad)
- Calico Bush by Rachel Field
- The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery
- The Orphan and the Mouse by Martha Freeman
- Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates
- Ben and Me by Robert Lawson
- Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
- The Dragons of Blueland by Ruth Stiles Gannett (to the DLM)
- Leroy Ninker Saddles Up by Kate DiCamillo (to the DLM)
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
- Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
- The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz
- The Noonday Friends by Mary Stolz
- The Mystery of the Missing Lion by Alexander McCall Smith
- The Green Ember by S.D. Smith
- Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright
- Return to Gone-Away by Elizabeth Enright
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (read by dad; the DLM’s first time to hear it!)
- The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford
- By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman
- Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus
- Laddie by Gene Stratton Porter
- Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon by Kate DiCamillo (Dad to boys)
- Bull Run by Paul Fleischman
- Escape from Baxter’s Barn by Rebecca Bond (boys)
- Civil War! America Becomes One Nation by James I. Robertson, Jr. (shared reading)
- Freedom Train by Dorothy Sterling
- Maggie Rose, Her Birthday Christmas by Ruth Sawyer
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- The Birds’ Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin
- Jenny and the Cat Club by Esther Averill (boys)
- Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters by Patricia C. and Fredrick L. McKissack
That’s thirty-two books, which I believe is the most we’ve ever read aloud in a year. I attribute that to reading a few short ones to the DLM and Benny, though to balance it, we did read a few long classics, including The Hobbit, Laddie, and Little Women. We also mostly read aloud one work of nonfiction–Civil War! I was surprised by how much I enjoyed that. Things changed mid-year, too, in that I began making a concerted effort to read something long to the boys (the DLM for sure and Benny as he desired). I usually did that just before Benny’s nap. In addition to that, I read to the girls (plus the boys as they desired) after lunch and the girls alone again at bedtime. That means three chapter books at a time for me (and occasionally Steady Eddie)–a lot for me to keep up with. I had my read aloud resolve challenged this year, but I kept at it. I still really consider it the most important educational and relationship-building thing that we do.
Well, enough of the serious talk. How about I share our top picks?
This is hard! I naturally want to choose the classics–I mean how can one go wrong with Tolkien or Alcott or Lewis? Removing those from the running, these are my three top picks:
Introducing L.M. Montgomery to my girls last January was pure delight! We all enjoyed The Story Girl.
Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates was a brand new story to me, and I LOVED it. It contains so many spiritual metaphors, and Amos Fortune is just such a worthy character.
Maggie Rose, Her Birthday Christmas by Ruth Sawyer is a Christmas story, yes, but most of the story happens well before Christmas, so don’t let that keep you from reading it. Truly, this is one is too wonderful to miss.
I polled my three oldest children for their top picks, asking them to choose individually so as not to be influenced by anyone else’s opinions.
I’m surprised by none of these choices, as this has been the year for Lulu to begin to immerse herself in the world of L.M. Montgomery. (Yippee!–To date she has read all of the Anne books, some of them more than once.) She has also attempted Lord of the Rings a few times, and has re-read Laddie more than once (or at least dabbled in it a lot–she’s a dabbler.)
I was a bit surprised by her choice of Johnny Tremain, mostly because it was a difficult read-aloud for me (I was sick last spring and struggled to finish it) and I didn’t love it. Laddie was such a good, deep, enjoyable story for us all, I’m not surprised both girls picked it. And Little Women? Well, she expressed her dislike for it at the beginning; she had already attempted to read it herself and got bogged down. However, how can you not like a book that you celebrate finishing with a party? 🙂
The DLM’s picks are the most surprising and instructive of all for me. First, of the three books, Steady Eddie read two of them to him. Second, I had no idea he’d even remember reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe because it was way back in the summer. I had no idea he was even listening! I will always associate the book with the DLM crawling all over Steady Eddie as he read. Third, it doesn’t have to be classic literature to be memorable. 😉 Steady Eddie read Francine Poulet aloud to the DLM while we were at the beach, and it obviously stuck. 🙂
If you’ve read this whole post, you deserve a gold star! Thank you. Few things bring me as much joy as sharing good books with people, so I thank you for sticking with me. Sometimes I think with the advent of social media that blogging, at least old-school blogging like I do, is going the way of the dodo. When I think about it, though, I want to keep on doing it because of the relationships I’ve built through blogging and because it’s a means of record and memory keeping for me. That means I’m not going anywhere, and I look forward to sharing more Read Aloud Thursdays with you all!
Okay–that’s it. I’m filing this one with my Booklists over on the left sidebar and calling it a year! 🙂
What do you have to share with me today? I’d LOVE (LOVE!) to read your list and/or your top picks. Please, share in the comments!