Friday, January 25, 2013

We Are Reading...

We are back on track with the homeschooling at night.  For Juli, we are simply reading our bible stories and, lately, focusing on fairy tales.  For Abby, we are working on comprehension.  Her reading fluency and accuracy are very high, but her comprehension is at a "basic" level, so we are buckling down on it.

We have just entered Exodus in this book:
Family-Time Bible in Pictures by Kenneth Taylor

If you have a youngster between the ages of 3 and 5 years, I would recommend this as a first bible.  The pictures are colorful and the stories are short.  Both of these are important when it comes to kiddos.  Additionally, there are questions at the end of each story for you to ask the kids - questions that increase their understanding of the story and help them to make text-to-self connections.

On the lighter side, we read this book:

Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang
This is a great book to read at bedtime.  It is about a little girl who is getting ready for bed and, as she does so, is playing a rhyming game with her Daddy and also counting objects.  Great for reinforcing these math and language skills.  Not on that, but the main character is African American, which is a rarity.  I love exposing the kids to people of other races and cultures as often as I can - it is a big world out there, people, and we need to be sure that our children accept everyone in it equally and respectfully.

The next book we read was this one
I am a Bunny by Ole Risom

I am a Bunny by Ole Risom, with pictures by Richard Scarry.  LOVE the art in this book.  This was originally a Little Golden Book (I believe) and is difficult to get ahold of anymore.  It is about a bunny named Nicholas who goes through the four seasons in a charming and sweet way.  It highlights his activities throughout the year and is done in such a colorful and enchanting way.  A great book for teaching seasons to young children, for sure.

Then we started in on this one

Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales, retold and illustrated by Val Biro
Again, this is another book that is difficult to get hold of, but if you can, it is worth it.  While it only contains 11 of his stories, and not necessarily all of the well-known ones either, the drawings are wonderful.  The characters have....well, character.  I really like the way the people in this book are drawn.  The first fairy tale we read was Thumbelina.  Does it get any cuter than Thumbelina?  Juli must be able to relate to her (she is a small kid).  Anyway, this story, if you did not know, is great for girls in that it is about a girl who does not take the first offer to come along and waits for the right guy for her.  (Maybe I should have read this more as a child - oh well, third time's a charm, right?)

Then we switched books - don't fret, we'll go back to Hans in a minute - to this one

Whose Mouse Are You? by Robert Kraus

This book is about a little mouse who saves his mother, his father and his baby brother from various dangers.  He is a hero.  Doesn't everyone need a hero?

Then we went back to Hans and read Dan the Dunce.  This is a little-known story by Andersen and cannot be found (to my knowledge) as a solo story, although it is told in this video on YouTube.  It is about a man who is quite the underdog in his town.  It is surprising to me, that someone so lazy and filthy could actually accomplish anything, but he does.  Teaches the kiddos not to judge books by their cover.  Good read.

Next, we read this

The Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christan Andersen
This teaches kids about self-awareness, surrounding yourself with the right (honest) people, and how NOT to jump on the bandwagon or succumb to peer pressure, along with lessons against vanity and selfishness.

I know this seems like a reading marathon, but this is the stuff we have read for all of January.  Next, we enjoyed this one by Andersen:

The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen, retold and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
 This is another "don't judge a book by its cover" book.  I love this moral.  The story also teaches young people to be proud of themselves.  Both valuable lessons, indeed.

Finally, we read this tonight

The Nightingale by Hans Christian Andersen
 This has always been one of my favorite fairy tales.  The moral is the same, about looks not being everything and beauty on the inside being more valuable than beauty on the outside.  I wonder why ole Hans used this moral so much?  Does anybody know?  I mean, was he ugly?  Anyway, Juli liked this one so much that she asked me to read it to her again - immediately.

For the next few weeks, we will be focusing on fairy tales, just so ya know.

Thought I would throw in a pic of the two youngest girls.  Guess who the cheeser is??



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