“I’ve come to realise something that both delights and relieves me: reading aloud with our kids is indeed the best use of our time and energy as parents. It’s more important than just about anything else we can do.” Sarah Mackenzie
I’m currently reading Sarah Mackenzie’s new book, The Read-Aloud Family, and have been convicted, yet again, on the power of reading aloud to our children.
Reading aloud builds memories together. It creates a shared language of stories and characters. It creates a family culture.
Reading aloud is priceless and it is the reason why our chosen method for homeschool focuses so much on reading and experiencing living books together.
I’d love to share some of our books that we have read together so far this year.
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
We listened to the audiobook read by Cherry Jones because I had heard such wonderful reviews of it and it did not disappoint. Cherry makes you feel as though you are there in the cabin, listening to Pa weave his stories and the fiddle carries you away to another time and place.
This story overflowed into our kitchen where we baked bread, churned butter and stewed jam. The bread and butter were, ah, not very good, but they were edible. I count that as a success! The jam was delicious thankfully. I have this lovely cookbook that explains some of the cooking customs and methods of Laura’s time and shares recipes for the foods mentioned through the whole series.
How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
We then delved into another recommended audiobook narrator in David Tennant. His rendition of How to Train Your Dragon is spellbinding. Mr 5 fell head over heels in love with all things Dragon. He decided to continue reading the books in the series by himself. He flew through the second book but ran out of steam during the third and I helped him finish it. They are significantly harder than anything he has read before. We are going to get the fourth book on Audible and return to David Tennant’s brilliance.
Did I mention the LOVE of dragons? Toothless graced his 5th birthday cake.
Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Pinocchio is a strange but delightful tale, sort of like a series of unfortunate Aesop’s Fables. Again we listened to the audio version – this time, a free recording by Mark Smith for Librivox. Mr 5 decided that his favourite part of the story was when the boys turned into donkeys and that his disliked the scary shark. I decided that every 5-8 year-old boy must hear this story. Young Pinocchio learns a few lessons that are just… fitting, ahem.
The Disney interpretation provided a delightful movie night accompanied, of course, by copious amounts of popcorn. During our next Poetry Teatime we read Shil Silverstein’s “Pinocchio” poem and Mr 5 concluded that the poem was based off the movie rather than the book since there was a whale rather than a shark.
Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges
We have read and loved this book many times before but, considering his newfound love of dragons, we visited it yet again. A must read for all young boys. The Reluctant Dragon is our next planned book. We’re following a bit of a theme you see.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
This was Mr 5’s first solo audiobook. He received some volume-limited headphones for Christmas and I loaded our MP3 player with Kara Shallenberg’s Librivox recording. He listened mostly on the train and in the car. He really enjoyed being able to listen to his audiobook and relished telling me aaaall about it. He particularly enjoyed the Mock Turtle and the Queen of Hearts.
Danny’s Egg by Colin Thiele
This is one of our Australian book choices for the year and it has been a delightful read so far. We are almost finished and Mr 5 is on the edge of his seat waiting for that precious emu egg to hatch. Colin Thiele is a wonderful Australian author and this book is perfect for primary aged children. It does have some bullying in it, if that is something you try to avoid.
How fun it was to then visit Symbio Wildlife Park and see emus and goannas up close. If you’ve never seen one, emus are HUGE!
Old Bob’s Birds by C. K. Thompson
This is one of our scheduled slow reads throughout the year but I wanted to mention it here because it is AMAZING! We are particularly appreciating that it brings character to many of the birds that we see daily in our local area. It is surprisingly easy to read aloud and the story just flows off the tongue.. Mr 5 and I are really enjoying reading this one together.