Read-Alouds - Questions, Helps

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Read-Alouds - Questions, Helps

Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

2nd grade attention span
Toni@homezcool4us wrote:We worked on day 8 today. We had several pages to read from Early American History as well as Pioneers and Patriots. It seemed a bit much for dd to really stay focused on. Just wondering how you schedule it (back-to-back, morning/afternoon, etc.).
Hi Toni ~

I must say, over our short summer break we didn't spend the time reading every day that we had been, and that could be part of our problem.

Another issue is, my son is a math kid - reading just hasn't been his thing. He can do it, but he doesn't love to read (unless it's the directions in his Singapore math!).

I have decided to break up the reading. I require him sit and listen to the history book portion & then narrate back to me. Then, I am waiting til HOURS later at bedtime, to do the Pioneers & Patriots. It's better now. Also, when Max begins to seem wearied by it, I quickly find a good place to stop & say, "Let's see what happens in the adventure tomorrow!" - even if it means reading some over the weekend to finish it up.

I want my kiddos to love learning - with ZERO dread! Is it too much to ask for? I don't think so. I think we just have to try & tailor it to where they are. So, that is my goal. That is certainly something that wouldn't happen in the public school system.

I welcome any other suggestions as well - thanks!

Paige in NC

Unread post by cbollin »

I don't know if this will help or not. Exploring American History is used again in EX1850, so don't feel like you have to cover everything

My 7 y.o (2nd grader) is doing the 2nd grade supplement with EX1850. She has her delays and struggles with language. On days where we have way too much to read out loud, I have been summarizing and teaching from Expl. am. history rather than reading from it.

I use it to make an outline on the marker board so the story of history is told, but not getting too bogged down in all the details.

I try to dramatically retell the stories in American Patriots Pioneers book. I tend to start history time with this book -- no matter what is listed in the grid. (It is used in EX1850, but only in the 2nd/3rd grade supplement).

We ended up reading Squanto over a few days mostly on the weekend when we weren't doing anything else. Or we could have done it in the evenings at bedtime too. Didn't do that yet, but we could.

There have been days too that we had to spread out the readings a bit more over the week to help with listening comprehension. And we've been enjoying the Schelessinger videos too.

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Unread post by txquiltmommy »

Hi Toni,

You may already be doing this, but I thought I'd share some ideas for ways we "pass time" during the read alouds. It really helps my boys to be able to sit and listen longer if they have something small (and mindless) to do. I keep it really simple, so they don't get distracted from the story.

Sometimes I print coloring pages off the internet (or enlarge the ink drawings in the history books on my copier) and I let them color with colored pencils while I read. (We add those to our notebooks.) I also bought some very cheap embroidery floss at WalMart in a variety of colors. I was surprised to find that my boys love to braid it! (My dd does this to make friendship bracelets. The boys aren't into jewelry making, but they do find lots of other uses for their colorful braided strips!) Sometimes I use the recipe in the TM to make a batch of homemade salt dough and I ask them to sculpt something related to what we are reading. (They did the Liberty Bell the other day.) That is a particular favorite! My youngest has a guinea pig, and I allow him to hold her on his lap sometimes during history time.

All these little "tricks" seem to prolong their attention spans a bit. The rule is that if you talk or are disruptive ONE TIME you lose the activity and have to sit quietly while I read. So, they are typically very careful to not abuse the privilege! Also, to make sure they are listening extra careful I will announce a "word of the day" and see who hears it first in the reading. That person gets a very small reward. I don't do it every day, but they get excited on the days I do.

I agree with the others that some days no matter how many tricks you have up your sleeve you just have to break up the reading. There is no sense reading aloud if they aren't absorbing it. I also like the idea of paraphrasing some of the longer readings and making it more like story time. On a day when you are particularly pressed, you can read the material yourself, tell your son the story in the car while you are driving somewhere, and call that history for the day! Be encouraged too that there are not many weeks in Adventures when the reading is extremely heavy.
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Unread post by Toni@homezcool4us »

Paige, Crystal and Brooke,
I *love* you gals!!! Each one of you gave me MOST HELPFUL ideas that I really believe I can use. I knew I could come here and get some great answers. Thanks so much. Why didn't these things occur to me? Really, your suggestions are just what I needed. THANK YOU!!!
A proud adoptive mom of 4 children,
I invite you to join me THE WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE


Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

Well girls, God is indeed in the business of answering prayer!

I picked up this little $8 book called, "Into Their Hearts," by Janice Southerland. One of the ideas in this book (that she used with her preschoolers-elementary) has to do with teaching listening skills, or teaching kids to listen for key words, etc.

You create a landscape grid (in Excel, Quattro or some other spreadsheet program) in which the children draw a picture of each word they recognize (my grid has 6-box rows & columns). For example, if I were to read, "There was a tree by the house, " the child would draw a tree in the first box and a house in the next. By the time you have finished the story, they have a word-story & they can narrate back from that!

This morning as I was gathering a few last minute materials, the Lord brought this to mind. When we read the intro about Jamestown in Pioneers & Patriots, I had Max listen for words he knew (nouns work best with this type of reading). We went rather slowly, but when we finished that little intro, he had a full story he could recite back to me!!! He was so excited, he ran to get his sister so he could tell her what happened at Jamestown!

I could not believe the difference in his attitude toward reading history. I hope this might be a help to someone else who needs a visual/hands-on approach. I hope this makes sense!! If anyone is interested in using my excel grid, email me & I'll be happy to share.

Paige in NC
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Unread post by NHMom »

Thanks for that great idea! I can't wait to try it!


[editor's note: more ideas on reading to fidgety kids here: ]

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Unread post by kfrench »

I do the history reading first while the kids are eating their breakfast. They are a captive audiance and also my baby is quiet too. I break up the reading if they aren't paying attention. Then we do more reading at Break time while the eat a snack. They think the reading is a treat because they don't have to do anything.

I did notice that my 6 year old did not listen well when I read aloud until this year. She now listens just fine. We listen to a lot of books on tape in the car and I think this has helped their listening skills.
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Reading ahead?

Unread post by dhudson »

Tami in IA wrote:When we read our read aloud book both my children and I would love to continue reading farther than what is planned. In your opinion, would it hurt anything to read ahead and then add in a different book after we have finished the planned book?
We love read alouds so we often finish early and add in another book from the suggested reading list or just a fun book that we've been wanting to read.
God Bless,
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Unread post by schelean »

We have been finishing the scheduled read aloud within a few days. We use our read alouds for bedtime reading. There are so many great books listed for book basket that I decided to make sure I chose our bedtime read alouds from that list in order to make sure we didn't miss any of the great books listed. We always have a great chapter book going.

The books I choose are ones that we would not have time for if using them for book basket time alone. I try to make book basket more of the picture books and leave the novel type books for evening read alouds. For example, before a read aloud was even scheduled we read Pedro's Journal during Week 1. Then, after we finished Squanto we went ahead and read Naya Nuki (Week 4 Book Basket). We loved that book. We finished The Courage of Sarah Noble rather quickly and have went on to read The Sign of the Beaver. That is another great thing about MFW. We have enough time between read alouds to enjoy other great time period books they have listed. We even started reading this summer. I was needing a good evening read aloud so just went ahead and looked over the book list an found one I thought we would enjoy. I chose The Cabin Faced West - and we did really enjoy that one.

So, all of that to say...
Go ahead read as quickly as you and your children desire. There are plenty of great books to fill in with until the next scheduled read aloud.
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Unread post by RachelT »

I am just agreeing with "littleredmom". We loved Squanto and The Courage of Sarah Noble and finished them quickly. We are scheduled to read Sarah Noble through next week, but I am going to the library today to pick up Sign of the Beaver which is a selection from the book list with an asterisk. We've been reading these chapter books at bedtime, too, which has been working well.

Happy reading!
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Farmer Boy "Keeping House" Chapter, need advice

Unread post by TriciaMR »

doubleportion wrote:I am reading ahead in Farmer Boy. I read the Keeping House chapter tonight where the children are left alone at home. I am a little troubled by how they did all these things that they knew were not allowed and there are no consequences. I am especially troubled by the fact that the children covered up what Almanzo did in the parlor (even if it was an accident).

How did any of you address this chapter? Any helpful comments or questions to bring up in discussion with my dd when we read this chapter together?
At the end of the chapter, the mom notices the sugar is almost gone. But, I think she was so relieved that they didn't burn the house down, KWIM?

I asked questions as we read... "Should they have done that?" "What kind of punishment should they have gotten?" "Was it right for them to cover up the accident?" "What things should they have done instead?"

Think of the fear those children had of their parents (at least, that's what I have felt when reading that book, that his dad was kind of harsh). They were afraid Almonzo would have gotten a beating (and not just a spanking) if they had found out about the wallpaper. Also, the older sister now has something to hold over Almonzo's head.

I also think we should remember times were WAY different back then. Children were to be seen and not heard. I think that extreme kind of made children more likely to take advantage of situations like that.

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Unread post by KimberlyND »

If you are concerned about the chapter you could always just skip it and go on to the next. We aren't that far yet. But I don't think it would leave much out of the story if you didn't read it to the children.
Kimberly in ND
MFW user since 2007, gone through K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CtG, RtR, Exp. to 1850, & 1850 to Modern Times
Using ECC 2014-2015 with an 8th grade son and 4th grade daughter
Have been HS for 19 years and graduated 3 dc.

Unread post by cbollin »


You can skip it. But I agree with the things that Trish has noticed about the book.

They didn't "get away" with it as the mom noticed the sugar was gone. (well ok, technically there was some left just like she had told them) I am confident that their parents did not go out and replace the sugar and they thought about it all the time when there was food without it. I'm sure the mom was a lot like me and wondering what else went wrong or who got hurt or who yelled at whom.

I don't think your children will learn that is was acceptable if you use it as a teaching moment and talk with your children. You might consider the idea of starting with some questions before reading the chapter or saying "we're going to read a chapter where the kids think they are getting away with stuff. Let's see where they make some mistakes. " Use it as a teaching moment to talk with your kids. I think of it as insulating our kids instead of isolating them from a chapter. But you know your children and get to make whatever decision you want -- either read it with instruction or skip it.

I think it might be easier to teach your children from a chapter like this when it is far removed from a specific incident in your house.

I liked how they had to work together in spite of having fought with each other. They probably learned a lot from the whole thing. Keep in mind when you read this chapter the parents were gone a really long time and this was not in a day or age with cell phones, 'net, webcams. The kids didn't get vacation time either. It was a new experience for all of them. So it's interesting to have very different interpretations to the same chapter.

just one opinion.

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Unread post by dhudson »

If I remember correctly, Almanzo felt guilty about that wall paper for a long time. Also, all their lazing made them feel stress and guilt and fear at the end of the week. I just made the point with my kids that the Wilder kids could have avoided all the negative emotions if they would have done what was right at first. They still had consequences, even if they weren't on the outside, God makes sure that we have the Holy Spirit to convict our spirit when we do bad things.
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Michele in WA
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Unread post by Michele in WA »

The books, yes, you can read ahead and skip what you don't want to read without it hurting the rest of the story. I did that a few times, but my dc do not read the series now on their own. We might still use them just as read alouds, for history's sake, not the stories themselves. Just to let you know I understand what you are getting at!
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Unread post by doubleportion »

Thank you all for the great input!!!

I think I will read it with dd but preface it with questions and follow by more questions such as the ones you all suggested. I think over all the book is a great living history lesson and we have seen some good fruit from it. She didn't complain about her chores after seeing everything Almanzo had to do in one day. She has enjoyed listening to it.

We did read Little House in the Big Woods during our weeks when you add your own read aloud book. We especially enjoyed reading about sugar snow during the weeks when we were learning about Vermont.
We enjoyed that one very much.

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Adventures Read A Louds

Unread post by Erna »

Smoakhouse wrote:Which books did your children most enjoy?
Which would you consider replacing if you use Adventures again?
Are there any that are particularly suited to boys/girls?

I have a tender hearted, worry wart boy. From the description, "Sarah Whitcher's Story" concerns me a bit.
My daughter was quite sensitive when we did Adventures but she handled all of the books well. We enjoyed every one of them and she still picks them up today.
Julie in MN
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Re: Adventures Read A Louds

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Sarah Whitcher's Story is about a lost little girl, but I don't think that's anything that even a very young child hasn't worried about already. And it has a happy ending that is like a miracle. It's supposed to be based on a true story or legend.

You could get it and wait and see, since children do have growth spurts during the year. And if you decide not to read it in 2nd grade, you might want to hang onto it and read it in another year or two, as it's quite precious. We didn't do Adventures, so we read it during EX1850 - it was quite a short little story for my son by then, but we still enjoyed it. The author, Elizabeth Yates, writes very inspiring stories that to me are more about character than about events. She also wrote Mountain Born from Adventures (and one of the books in EX1850).

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Re: Adventures Read A Louds

Unread post by ♥nbamaboyz »

My ADV & K'ers favorite was Squanto!
We added the Little House on the Prairie series, they really enjoy LHOTP so it's worked well for us.
My K'er still asks when can we read Squanto again :)
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Re: Adventures Read A Louds

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

I had a very tender 6yo girl when we did ADV. She really enjoyed all of the read alouds. We were blessed to have Sarah Whitcher's Story when her cousins were staying with us, and we got to do family read-aloud every night. It was a great book for the girls, 6 and 8, and the boy, 12.

The book that caused *me* more alarm was The Courage of Sarah Noble. The thought of a motherless girl was heartbreaking to me, but my dd handled it very well. It just wasn't my favorite. Squanto was awesome! And Grandmother's Attic was so incredible that we purchased more of the books in the series and have reread them many, many times.
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Re: Adventures Read A Louds

Unread post by Smoakhouse »

Thanks everyone. That's good to know. I will probably go with them as planned.
Cheri in TN
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