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!
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