Today’s Reading Pile

16 Oct

I always love looking at people’s piles of books so here’s ours from this morning.

We love our mornings of reading.

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We started with a chapter of Acts with our audio Bible.

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Then we read a chapter of “The Gospel Story Bible”.  It’s a lovely way to review and chat.

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Today we finished reading the final chapters of “Queen Elizabeth II”.  She’s an interesting lady and I enjoyed finding out about her.

(This afternoon we picked up a stack of documentaries about her from the library.)

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We read this book about Guy Fawkes as it had to go back to the library today.  We’ve read about him before so I got the boys to do a quick narration before we started.  I was pleased with how much they remembered about him.  All this reading actually sinks in.  Phew!

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We also started this little book about the Tower of London.  It’s jam packed with information so we’ll just move through it a few pages at a time.

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This term we are reading through “The Usborne History of Britain” so we read several more pages.  Every couple of pages, I get a boy to narrate back what they remember.  Tomorrow we’ll review what we read today.

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The aim is to finish this book before the end of the term and we’re doing quite well so far.  Just a little, every day, is a great way of steadily moving through a book.  I like this nibble approach as it allows us to contemplate and discuss the topic for longer and I think it ‘sticks’ better this way.

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“The Great Fire” is just a short novel.  It’s about the Great Fire of London.  The plan is to read a more indepth book (we are waiting for it to arrive) but we found this at the library and decided it was a nice introduction while we wait.

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For Science we are learning about genetics and we’re currently working through “My Name is Gene”.  I must say, I’m not a fan of this book.  One minute it’s too complex and the next minute it’s too childish.  But, until our new selection arrives, we are trying to make do. As long as we take it in small bites, we are okay.   If we hadn’t already read lots about genetics, we’d be completely lost.

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“Great Joy” by Kate DiCamillo was a lovely book (definitely check it out).  We used it as the focus of our literature analysis.  It’s not a long story but it’s a treasure trove of discussion.  The climax is a simple question from a little girl.  The denouement then had us holding our breath and the conclusion left me all goosebumpy.  It’s an absolutely beautiful book for Christmas time.

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Finally, we read another installment of “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”.  We’re enjoying this story a lot!

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It’s takes a lot of self-restraint to put it down after one or two chapters.

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But, sadly, we can’t read all day.  Eventually we have to pick up our pens.

But don’t feel too badly for us.  🙂

We managed to squeeze in more reading later in the day, with an hour of our audio story, “The Scorch Trials”, while we were driving to and from errands.  And then this evening, the boys got another hour of their read aloud with Daddy.

Oh yes, we love our books.



Posted by on October 16, 2014 in Homeschooling Days, Language, My Library


2 responses to “Today’s Reading Pile

  1. Jen

    October 16, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I was wondering what the boys did while you were reading? Do they have to do any kind of writing about what you have read? And if you have your niece over, what does she do while you are reading to the boys? My eighteen month old is a bit of a handful 😀

  2. Tracey

    October 17, 2014 at 12:43 am

    While I read, the boys do various things. They always start on the couch beside me so I make sure to read all of the things with pictures that they need to see, first. Then they are few to do something quietly on the floor. Something that occupies their hands but not their minds. So sometimes they play with kinetic sand, or plasticine, other times they like to draw or colour. Yesterday they had a pile of lego tipped on the ground and were sorting it into pieces for a project they wanted to do later in the day. Lots of times they just toss themselves in a bean or even slowly scooter in a figure eight with a gyrocar or scooter. I don’t mind as long as they are quiet and listening and you can tell when they aren’t. If they can’t narrate back what you’ve just read. I can also tell with my boys according to how other they ask questions or make comments and even how they pause what they are doing with their hands to listen careful to a good part. After years of reading for hours, you get to know what will work with your kids and what you can cope with. My hubby can tolerate much less movement than I can, while he reads. He’s used to a classroom of kids that have to sit absolutely still and quiet while he reads, but even he is getting used to a little more over time.

    As for Aria, well she’s in training. For her own books she can sit on your lap for a good half an hour listening to book after book. I read to her as often as I can and her parents are doing a good job at getting her into the habit. It helps that Aunty Tracey nearly always has a new book for her when I visit. 🙂 But our attempts at getting her to play quietly and independently while we read aloud is so far a dismal failure. I put it down to our infrequent opportunities to do such a thing with her. While we see her a lot socially on weekends we’ve had only a handful of school day babysitting sessions (only three since June and one more before Christmas). So it’s too hard to get her into the habit so we’ve just resorted to waiting until she naps to read aloud. It’s not our usual volume of books but it’s something. She won’t be this age for long.

    And no I don’t get the boys to write about everything we read. I think that’s a school hang over. We discussed everything we read and I throw out questions all of the time. We narrate bits and pieces and review what we’ve previously read. We also always share what we’ve learned with hubby each evening and pretty much anyone who’ll listen. But we don’t put pen to paper for everything. On and off I’ve tried to keep notebooks but it always ends up being a chore. And then we don’t want to read or learn another thing because we know we’ll have to write it down. Instead, we pick areas of interest and use them as the focus for our writing lessons. So if we are learning about the Queen, for writing practise, we’ll use her as our topic, and pull together all we’ve read about her and write a report. When we studied the world wars, we had written a stack of little reports on different aspects so we decided to put it all together in a booklet form and we made a list of topics our ‘book’ needed and went hunting for further information to include. So, no we don’t write for the sole purpose of making sure we remember things, which is what I think they do in school. We write because we are interested in the topic and our reading has overflowed into our writing.

    The difference between what I do and schools is that in schools they may only read one book or one worksheet page and be expected to remember everything about the topic from that one experience. So they have to write something to give them a little more experience with the topic, otherwise there’s no chance they’ll remember it. However, when we study a topic we completely submerse ourselves in it. We read every book we can get our hands on, we watched documentaries on the topic every night of the week, we usually write reports about the topic, as well as discussing it and striving to find links between this notion and that that we can share with each other. You don’t come away from an immersion experience like that without knowing at least the basics. Plus we retouch on topics over time. For example, with Guy Fawkes, we’d read about him a few years ago, and then I remember discussing him one 5th of November when we heard something on tv, we also heard about him on our Tower of London documentary and then we read that book about him yesterday. He’ll also be in a few more books we read this term. This constant coming back to topics as they appear helps cement things in their mind as they draw the memory out, reinforce it, and then place it back for the next time. And when I think about my own learning, it’s more like what I’m doing with my boys than what schools do. I don’t write everything down that I read. I read lots, I talk about it and I write if I’m inspired to do so. So, no my boys don’t have pretty notebooks full of stuff that they have covered, but if I could look inside their heads, hopefully, that pretty notebook is inside there somewhere, constantly being added to and never being tossed out. 🙂


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