Monday, March 23, 2020

Exploring the World From Home

The summer break often provides greater temptation for more screen time. But summer is the perfect time to instead limit screens and start tackling that stack of books that you "never have time for." If you have school-age kids, and you are scrambling for ways to keep them occupied (& not fighting), learning, and making great memories, then I suggest you set aside time EVERY day for reading out loud. You are never too young or too old to be read to!

I am still reading out loud to my teens. I also read books out loud to my husband when we are travelling in the car. Those shared books create a common pool of knowledge within our family. My kids and I often refer back to characters or events in the books we have read. The longest book we've ever read (so far) was Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens (took several months!) and just the other day someone made reference to one of the villains in that book. Remembering how a character handled a situation can often give kids tools for how to handle things in their own life. And books with a moral lesson offer instruction that is often more easily digested than when mom and dad offer the same. We saw a reference to the book, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins as an early example of the detective novel. We found a used copy and worked our way through that. There were parts that I wondered if the kids would want to skip (or perhaps abandon the book altogether) but all three of my teens really enjoyed it! When we were done, I felt like we'd run a literary marathon!

You may think a younger child will not be able to sit still to listen to a book. If you have littles with wiggles, then let them do something active like jog in place, or do sit-ups while you read. Or if they need to keep their hands moving, let them build with blocks, duplos, or magnets while they listen. If they enjoy coloring, grab some coloring books and let them color as the story is being read. (If your house is like ours, you probably have a dozen half-filled coloring books--now kids can finish some while being read to!).

Pick a story to read aloud that has been made into a movie. Being able to watch the movie when the book is done is a great motivator to finish the book. Most libraries offer digital services so you can borrow ebooks or audiobooks with your library card. Librivox is a great source for free audiobooks that are in the public domain (i.e. classics). You can find titles such as Jungle Book, Call of the Wild and Jane Eyre. One of my favorite authors is E. Nesbit and I just discovered one of her books called, The Wonderful Garden and it is just as charming as her other titles.

Audiobooks offer some great advantages:
  • Children hear professional narrators reading with expression and clear diction
  • Children can hear proper pronunciations of words they may misread on their own
  • Helps train children's minds to focus
  • Allows struggling readers to enjoy books
  • Offers the ability to multi-task: listen to a book while putting together a puzzle, ironing, cooking, etc.
  • Great tradition at bedtime to fall asleep to a great book
I've compiled a list of some of our favorite book and movie combinations we have enjoyed over the years. Many are older movies but such good stories! Enjoy making some great memories with your kids during summer break. See how many books you can complete before schools starts up again! Happy Reading!

{Note: Books include an affiliate link for Amazon which adds no cost to you, but provides a small donation back to me if you purchase}

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
We prefer the Gene Wilder version
BFG by Roald Dahl
Anne of Green Gables by L.M.

Megan Follows is a fabulous Anne:
Another version with Martin Sheen as Matthew:
The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

Delightful family movie available on Amazon Prime or YouTube:

The Story of the Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbit
Winnie the Pooh by A.A.Milne
We watched an older version but this looks good as well:
Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge
An older movie but very good story:
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
(Book is a MUST read!!)
More than one option, may be fun to watch more than one:
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnette
Lots of versions. We like the 1995 version:
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnette

Looking forward to this 2020 release:
Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
1860’s tomboy adventures:
Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke (teens)

We own the movie but still need to watch it:
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

Call of the Wild by Jack London
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
by Ian Fleming (book is very different from movie!)

I hadn’t realized that Roald Dahl did the screenplay for the 1968 movie with Dick Van Dyke:
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria A. Trapp
1965 version Sound of Music with Julie Andrews
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll
Many versions, I personally like 1999 version:
Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
Summer of Monkeys by Wilson Rawls
1998 movie:
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard & Florence Atwater

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
1994 movie:
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Heidi by Johanna Spyri
Treasures of the Snow
by Patricia St. John
Oldie but goodie:
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. Stuart

The Jungle Book
by Rudyard Kipling
Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr

Paddington Bear by Michael Bond
Movie does not follow book entirely but still delightful:
Pippi Longstocking (Astrid Lindgren)

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