Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Boxcar Children

Part of our homeschool curriculum this year involves read-alouds that are chapter books. I completely did not think that my children were ready for chapter books. The oldest two are 5 and 4. I thought it would be awhile before they could actually listen and comprehend. (I'm sure this has nothing to do with their listening and comprehension skills when it comes to doing something when I ask them to.)

Well, I LOVE reading. Have I told you that before? I have been gearing up since Miss A was born for the day that we would be able to read chapter books together. I have a great list of all the books we need to read together. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Little House on the Prairie, SuperFudge, Ramona the Pest, etc. It goes on and on and on.

First up in our curriculum's list of read-alouds was The Boxcar Children. I actually had never read it, but was excited to give it a go. I TOTALLY DID NOT EXPECT the girls to get into it. I sort of thought, "I'll read this first chapter and they won't know a single thing I said, and then we'll struggle with this all year." I am obviously not a the-glass-is-half-full-kind-of-gal.

I got out The Boxcar Children on our first day of school and told the girls the concept of a chapter book. (Other than the Bible, every book we have ever read them could be finished in one sitting or finished 500 times in one sitting.) They nodded excitedly and nestled in their "reading spot" to listen. We finished one chapter. They. did. not. want. to. stop! They begged me to keep reading. I thought, "Okay, so they liked it, but did they really know what I said?"

I began asking them questions. They answered EVERY SINGLE question correctly. I asked VERY detailed questions, and they knew them all! So, we have jumped into the world of chapter books! I am elated!

The girls decided to tell Daddy how excited they were about their book when he got home after work one night. He knew exactly what they were talking about because he actually read The Boxcar Children when he was a kid.

So, the other night, I asked him to read their chapter to them before bed while I combed hair and cut nails and all that jazz. Here's what the first paragraph said...

"James Henry Alden was a very rich man. His big mills stood just between Greenfield and Silver City. Now J. H. Alden liked boys. He liked to see them running and jumping and playing."

He pauses, looks at me, and says, "What kind of book is this?"

Oh, I was in stitches. I will forever remember our first read-aloud chapter book and the night that Daddy read it to them because that James Henry Alden, he likes boys.

Lest you be concerned, this is actually a very wholesome and great book. The girls LOVED it and did not want it to be over! Alas, we finished it tonight. A new book next week! I can hardly wait! This chapter book thing is just as exciting as I had hoped!

What are your favorite chapter books from childhood? We might just add them to our list. At this rate, we'll be done with the ones for the curriculum by Christmas!


Meghan said...

Oh, I remember the Boxcar Children series! I loved them when I was little! Lucky you for having girls old enough to read chapter books. I can't wait for those days in my house. I too have a running list in my head of all the books we'll read together. I actually want to start stocking up on them now so that we'll have them when she's ready! Is that bad? To ask for presents/buy chapter books when your oldest daughter is only three? Or, to want to re-read them for yourself just out of nostalgia? Hmmm...

I love the Little House on the Prairie series, Anne of Green Gables, the Mandie series, Ramona, The Secret Garden...oh, man...I could go on and on...we may have to compare lists one of these days!

Karen said...

How fun!

We started doing Family Reading Time over dinner. (We have a 4 yo girl, 2 1/2 yo boy, and a 9 mo girl.) Our first book was Stuart Little by E B White. I wasn't sure how it would go, but I wanted to get started. Stuart Little has relatively short chapters, and the kids looked forward to it every night!! We asked some general questions and they seemed to get the gist of it. (It was nice that each chapter was an adventure in its own.) And each night we'd review what had happened in the previous chapter.

I haven't been able to find another chapter book that they're as excited about. I'm excited, too, to hear what everyone else adds to the list!

Hope said...

Meghan-I actually started stocking up before I even had children! :) I can't even tell you how long I have had Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator in storage. The husband, has had The Chronicles of Narnia in storage for a long time (I think he'll be waiting a little longer to read those though!)

I LOVED the Mandie series too and totally forget about them. Adding to my list! Here's one for you...Pippi Longstocking!

Hope said...

Karen-Oh Stuart Little is a fun one to read! Kudos to you for starting early, I didn't think mine were ready! :)

Here are some more we are reading this year that might be great for your 4yo.

Mr. Popper's Penguins
Dr. Doolittle
The Magic Treehouse Series
The House at Pooh Corner
My Father's Dragon

MamaHenClucks said...

Oooh! I love this. I loved the boxcar children and we read the Little House in the Big Woods earlier this summer. We've also read Charlotte's Webb. I love the Mandie books and what about Teddy Jo? Mmmmm. .. I'm also a stocker upper of books. We have the Ramona set that I can't wait to read. What about the Ralph the mouse books? Mouse and the Motorcycle? Our newspaper does a book series each fall and they print one chapter per week. O. loved that story!

Chandra said...

My dad would come home many nights and read "The Chronicles of Narnia" to us. I always loved "Nancy Drew" books. I still love them. As of right now I will probably not be sharing those with my boys. I guess I will have to invest in "The Hardy Boys".

Meghan said...

Oh, yeah! I loved Pippi Longstocking! And Teddy Jo! And I completely forgot about Nancy Drew!

This is great! I'm right now adding all of these to my master list!

Hope said...

Meghan and MamaHen-
What is Teddy Jo? I've never heard of it! Gonna have to go look it up!

Carrie said...

I adored the Boxcar Children series as a child! What fond memories you made come flooding back by bringing them up!

I totally thought my son wasn't ready for chapter books anyway, but a friend told me I'd be surprised if I tried. We have been reading the Junie B. Jones series and my 4 year old loves it! He cannot get enough of it!

We are definitely incoperating some other chapter books in our school this year too!

Ashley Griffin said...

I loved the Ramona books!!!

p s I'm totally addicted to your blog now so i will probably go back and comment on lots of your old ones *grin*