Category Archives: Literature

Summer Reading List

Summer Reading List

I try to have a sample reading list ahead of time for each child to ensure they pick out good, quality literature. Yes, I let them make their own selections, but I also recommend a few titles that I think they will like.

Through the years, we have read countless books. Many of these I believe would be great for most children. Here are a few of our favorites that you may consider putting on your summer reading list.

Babies and Toddlers

  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, By Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle (there are a few in this series like Baby Bear, and Panda Bear that are also great!)
  • Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd
  • Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon,  by Crockett Johnson 
  • Babies (So Tall Board Book) by Gyo Fujikawa 
  • Peekaboo Books (babies LOVE these types of books)

Preschool

  • Are You My Mother by P.D. Eastman 
  • Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
  • If You give a Mouse A Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond 
  • Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
  • Edwina, the Dinosaur that didn’t know she was extinct by Mo Willems
  • Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
  • Corduroy  by Don Freeman

Elementary

Early Readers

  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
  • Seuss Books
  • Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin and James Dean 
  • Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Aweibel
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett
  • Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems
  • Splat the Cat by Rob Scotten.
  • Amelia Bedeliabooks by Peggy Parrish
  • Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
  • Harry the Dirty Dogby Gene Zion

Independent Readers

 

  • Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne
  • Historical American Girl Series (Authors Vary)
  • Circle C Beginnings by Susan K. Marlow 
  • Bindi Wildlife Adventures by Bindi Irwin and Jess Black
  • Magic School Bus series by Joanna Coleand Bruce Degen
  • Sisters in Time (Authors Vary)

 

These books we have not read, but they have gotten rave reviews by other homeschool moms and are on my kids summer reading lists.

  • Frindle by Andrew Clements
  • Runaway Ralph . by Beverly Cleary
  • Summer with Elisa by Johanna Hurwitz and Debbie Tilley

 

 

Middle School

  • The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid Banks
  • By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman
  • Because of Winn-Dixie   by Kate DiCamillo
  • Love That Dog  by Sharon Creech
  • Hol es by Louis Sachar (Newbery Medal winner, 1999)
  • Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien and Zena Bernstein 
  • Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Fiderle

Have you ever heard the phrase “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents”? I whole-heartedly agree with that statement! Read alouds are a favorite in our home. We have read every book on this list, and my kids love to have that time together as a family. Our read aloud time is during lunch, but really, you can carve out time anywhere in your day to sit down and read a book as a family. Just find a time that works for you!

Read Alouds for the Whole Family

  • Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor 
  • Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh and Leonard Weisgard
  • The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Charlotte’s Web by EB White
  • Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • All of a Kind Family by Sidney Taylor
  • Mr. Poppers Penguins by Richard Atwater
  • Winnie the Pooh by A.A.Milne
  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
  • Animal Stories by Thornton Burgess
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • In Grandma’s Attic by Arlette Richardson

So, take this list, or make your own and go to the library! Summer reading programs can be found at your local library and most bookstores like Barnes and Noble.


 

Creative Writing: A Tool of Self-Empowerment

creative writing

Allowing children to risk expression of their thoughts and feelings in an imaginative way is one of the best things that you can do for them. When expressed via the written word, you have creative writing. Be it fiction or nonfiction, poetry or prose, well-developed or hardly so, creative writing is a fundamental tool of self-empowerment.

As the legendary Dr. Seuss noted, “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient of living.”

Through creative writing, your child will learn how to, or gain more practice in:

  • Brainstorming
  • Creating something from nothing
  • Revising
  • Publishing (should that be your choice)

Another beautiful facet of creative writing is that age isn’t much a factor. If your child can speak, then they can also express themselves through writing. How? Easy…

My four-year-old tells the story and I write it. Every now and then, I’ll toss in a prompt, asking her for the character’s name or “What happens next?” You should see her face when I read it back to her. And though my eight-year-old is a little more advanced, he requires more guidance. Given good questions, he gets the ball rolling in no time.

Be careful not to assume that pre-teens and older children will quickly grasp the skill, or be bored with it. Instead, give them an array of topics—always reserving the right to choose their own. Once they’ve latched to a story, have them zoom in on that piece. Refine it at least three times a week, according to a planned curve (e.g. lessons on depth, originality, vividness, and fearlessness) or a good old fashioned spontaneous one.

For teens—or anyone who’s ready, for that much—diversify the writing genre. Dabble in business, technical, journalism, marketing, script writing, or whichever s/he happens to want to try. For instance, they can rewrite the script of one of their favorite television episodes or create a flyer for an upcoming event (real or imagined).

The point is just to get them writing, and knowing that with time and practice, it gets easier. I’ve taught adults who were trying their hand at creative writing for the first time, learn it and love it. And by learning it, I mean finding their voice and owning it!

In turn, with consistent writing, all age ranges improved their overall communication skills and comprehension levels. Others have also experienced an upturn in their:

  • Love of reading
  • Curiosity of other arts
  • Elected solitude
  • Empathy
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-esteem
  • Self-confidence

Have you tried creative writing? If so, how does it flow into your homeschooling environment?

Guest Author: Trelani D. (Homeschool Mom)

 

 

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