Wednesday, March 19, 2008

WFMW: Reading Aloud and A Book Recommendation

This post originally started as a post about a book we are reading that we are really enjoying... but I'll get to that in a minute. I'll start by saying that reading aloud to our children has always worked for us. We have read aloud to them on a regular basis since they were little bitty, and now at 14 and 11 they still enjoy it. We all do! We have so many shared experiences through the books we've enjoyed together. When they were little, it was hard for them to sit still for a book sometimes (especially a chapter book) so I had things for their little fingers to do while little ears listened. Some of those things were:
  • Magna Doodle
  • Build with Legos (already spread out... no "raking" through the tub!)
  • Moon Sand
  • Etch-a-Sketch
  • Draw quietly
  • Mold things out of clay/ play-doh that go along with what we're reading (history or whatever)
  • Wikki Sticks on a cookie sheet
  • Make things out of pipe cleaners

When they were little and were doing those semi-quiet activities while their Dad or I read to them, it was hard to tell they were listening, but that's okay. We were spending time as a family, they were hearing their parents read, and those words were going somewhere. We would find out later as they would recount parts of the stories they loved, or even now when they remember funny parts of past books we've read... they were listening. And it built in the habit of sitting and enjoying literature. My husband is on his second time of reading the Little House On The Prairie series to them. That's become a special memory for the three of them. (He reads it to them at night while I'm "regrouping" or preparing for the next day!)

Now, on to the book I wanted to share with you... We are loving Grandpa's Box. Meade and Van Patter masterfully weave the entire Biblical story of redemption into the storyline of a Grandfather telling his grandchildren stories using figures he's carved and stored in a fishing tackle box. He tells each story in the context of war-- which fascinates my son. (There is a wonderful review of it here.) It's recommended for ages 9-12, and I am so glad to find a book like this which is not only theologically sound and extrememly well-written, but holds their interests as this book does. We started making each of the figures that Grandpa carved, but instead of wood (obviously!) we are using Model Magic. By the end of the book each of the kids will have a set of figures to remind them of the basic storyline of the entire Bible, that they can use to remind themselves or perhaps even share with their own kids someday. Here's what they've made so far: (You can click on the photo to make it bigger.)

I just wanted to share this book today. Reading aloud continues to work for us!

For more tips, visit Rocks In My Dryer. Have a wonderful Wednesday!


Heart of Wisdom said...

We love to read books outloud...I love your post.

Thanks for sharing

Christine said...

Awesome ideas!

Daisy said...

I was just needing more ideas for my little ones! What a timely post.

Holly said...

Great ideas! Thanks!

Jessie's parents said...

Reading to my kids at night is the highlight of my day. I love it. That book sounds wonderful and I love the figures, what a great idea! I'm putting the book on my Amazon wishlist. :)

Marie said...

It's funny, my 4.5 yo doesn't like to pay attention when I'm reading a children's book, but if he sees me reading a "grown-up" book he snuggles up to me and asks me to read it to him. So I do. My mom read to us every night when I was a kid, and her trick was to always leave us hanging. We were always dying to know what would happen next!

The (Almost) Amazing Mammarino said...

Thank you!!! Do you think this would be a good read aloud for an almost-6-year-old who is obsessed with fighting bad guys? I'm having a hard time finding read alouds he enjoys and this sounds perfect, if it's not too far over his head.

Cyndi said...

I definitely don't think it would be too over his head. I would've read it when my son was 6 if it would've been out. It's worthy to be read again and again, in my opinion, so he'll understand it more and more as he gets older. :)

Tracy King said...

Love your blog. We will definitely be doing this as a summer project. Great idea! What a great inspiration you are to many!

The (Almost) Amazing Mammarino said...

Thanks a ton! We look forward to reading this one!

Kelly said...

So fun to hear your thoughts on this book. I just received it in the mail! We plan to read it once we are finished with Prince Caspian.