** Book Basket - Frequently Asked Questions!

My Father's World uses a Book Basket method to develop a love of learning and enrich all subjects; Independent Reading Time has different goals and methods but there is overlap in book lists and helpful hints
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** Book Basket - Frequently Asked Questions!

Unread post by cbollin »

Ready for a long answer.....? Some of it is repeated from other's answers....

What is Book Basket? Is the "book basket" time for the children to read to themselves or for me to read the books to them?
Book Basket is a time set aside to enrich your children’s study in the weekly thematic topics in history and science. It is designed to be a time to encourage your children to read books on their own and learn from independent reading. Book basket is part of helping your child learn to love to read.

Beginning in second grade, all of the teacher’s manuals have detailed library lists. These are optional books, listed by topic, that enrich the curriculum. Children are encouraged to browse different books. You do not have to get every title on the library list. Nor is it expected to read each book from cover to cover.

How can I still use MFW if I don’t have a good library? What if I just can’t get to the library easily every week? What do some of you do in that situation?

There are lots of options on this. You don’t have to get the exact books on the list. Use what your library has. Some libraries have good interlibrary loan policies, others do not. Some customers try to buy a few of the books listed with asterisks by them (from the book basket list) from various websites and various companies.

Here are some ideas collected from our message board over the years.

1. Take inventory of what you have at home. Don't forget children’s Bibles, cookbooks, art books, and magazines. Don't forget your MFW package books. My kids loved looking at the atlases when I stuck them in the book basket. You can tuck in whatever "package" books you can find. Ideally the book basket is based what you are studying in history, science, music, etc. but you should not feel limited to those topics.

2. Don't forget the internet. Print out an article or two on what you are studying. Stick that in the basket.

3. If your budget allows, find some good cheap used books for the basket. Used bookstores have a great selection. Thrift stores have terrific prices. Perhaps the best bargain is the library's used book sale. If your library is too small for this, check the bigger library in the next big city. Call them up and ask when their next used book sale is.

4. Does your church have a library? If your church doesn't, is there a nearby church that does and would be willing for you to check out books from them?

5. Check the elementary school. Perhaps they'd let you come once a week and check out 20 books for your kids.

6. Many of us develop a system of reserving books online & stopping in to pick up the available books. I visit the library somewhere between weekly (when the book holds expire) & every 3 weeks (when the topics change), and rarely stay more than 10 minutes.

A user FAQ

Unread post by cbollin »

firewarrior wrote:Here is a faq on the MFW book basket topic, as people are always asking for more info on it.
Written out by Crystal...
Posted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:01 pm
Of course none of it is official answers or anything that is official MFW. And certainly are not exhaustive answers.

What about my resistant to books kind of child? How do I get him/her to engage and interact with the book basket selections? Try assigning a set number of minutes to just sit on the couch or floor with the books. Some children may just stare at the book for 10 minutes or just read the back cover. Some will flip through the book and say “all done”. Have them sit with the book for 10 minutes. Start with books at or below grade level or even just a quick article.

How am I supposed to not get bogged down in the unit study with book basket? There are a lot of books listed for each week. You are not expected to read every book on every list for each week. Think of the book basket time as an appetizer or even a dessert buffet. You can just sample the books. It’s ok to just glance through the informational books and read a caption or two. This can be very helpful when you have selected books that are above the child’s reading ability.

Can I read the more advanced books to my child? Yes. However, don’t feel like you have to finish the book. Think of it as a time to browse books --- just as if you were in a waiting room and knew that you couldn’t finish a magazine.

(this is one that gets confusing....)
How does Book Basket differ from Read Aloud time? Book basket is one method to encourage your child to gently begin to enjoy reading books by themselves and to begin to learn by independent reading. It is usually directly related to the unit study in history and science. The child selects from a variety of books that are presented and are to interact with the books. The level of the books can be at, below, or above reading level.

Read Alouds are scheduled in the program. This is a time for parent to read to the children. It can be any book. However, MFW has selected several Read Alouds books that are related to the unit study. These are sold in the deluxe packages and scheduled in the teacher’s manual. MFW suggests that Read Alouds be selected that are at or above reading level.

How does Book Basket differ from Reading time? The section of time in the weekly planning grid called Reading time is for general reading. At the end of the appendix of the teacher’s manual you will find a list of recommended General Reading books. The books are classics in children’s literature and are arranged by age/grade level. During certain times of your study, you may find it helpful to select a book that corresponds with the history time being studied. But it is not always necessary.

In Reading Time, the parent has a greater say in the selection of a chapter book for the child to finish reading. Books should be selected at or slightly below reading level so to encourage the child to be able to finish the book. Some of us find it easy to just pull a longer book from the book basket list and have our child finish it.

There is room for overlap. :)

Bullet point comparisons

Reading Level
* Book Basket – can be at, below or above reading level

* Reading Time – at or slightly below reading/grade level

* Read Aloud – at or above reading/grade level

How is it primarily used?
*Book Basket – child engages and interacts with the book. Can browse, glance through it, or read all of it. Not designed to require any question and answer time. Designed to promote enjoying a book and ways to have time to independently learn from reading on their own.

*Reading – designed as Chapter book reading to be finished. Also can be used on occasion to allow child to practice read out loud for parent to check on those skills.

*Read Aloud – parent reads out loud to children and finishes the book. Time to enjoy and share the book as a family.

Who selects the book?
* Book Basket – parent gathers books to put in basket, but child makes the choice of which book(s) to use.

* Reading – parent selects the book with some input from child to be geared toward their interest. Help your child to select a variety of books on a wide range of topics beyond a limited favorite interest.

* Read Aloud – parent selects the book or uses the scheduled Read Alouds from the Deluxe package.


How are the book basket books organized?

Unread post by cbollin »

mommysweird wrote:When you get past Adventures (which I realize is recommended for 2-3rd grade only) are the book basket books organized by reading level or age? Or, is that something, as a parent we are encouraged to determine for our children?
Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:56 am
Great question! Let's see how this sounds...

The Book Basket lists are organized in layers.
*First, they are organized by Week of the Study (or in ECC, by continent grouping)
*Then by multiple topics for that week. Example in Adventures week 1, it will list books for Leif Ericsson, and books for the Pledge of Allegiance.
*And types of books (picture, information, historical fiction) that fit in that topic.
*Then, next to appropriate titles, a note will be listed for approximate age/grade/reading level. For example, a book might list as "suited for grades 7 and up." or "all ages," "or picture book for younger children".

Most of the titles will be suited for the middle grades that are being taught in the 5 year cycle. In Adventures, the titles will be a bit more focused in age range because of the design of Adventures.

Since all children will be at different skill levels, a wide variety of books are listed to fit those differences.
Julie in MN
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Unread post by Julie in MN »

Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:28 am

I wanted to add a couple more organizational features that are in the book basket lists:

1. I am not sure if it says this or it's just my opinion, but books are usually listed from easiest to hardest (within each category). Each year this looks a little differently, but picture books are usually first on the list and chapter books are last, I think. It is not simply an alphabetical list.

2. There is an asterisk to indicate "don't miss" books that the Hazells enjoyed the most.

3. In EX1850, there are double-asterisked books especially for 2nd-3rd graders.
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Unread post by Lucy »

Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:49 pm

I had one more thought to add to Crystal and Julie's excellent descriptions.

Remember that when getting book basket books it is alright, in fact even encouraged, to have books that are below and on grade level and on occasion some above grade level, especially if they have excellent pictures that show a time in history well.

I remember hearing David Hazell say one time that even as adults, if we want to get a quick overview or get a simple answer on a subject, the best place to look at the books in the children's section . It is a good starting place. You can always go deeper . Many of the picture books are more detailed and even my 7th grader has enjoyed some of them this year.

Just another thought.
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What if we don't have recommended books in our basket?

Unread post by doubleportion »

Threelittleangels wrote:I am getting ready to start this week (Adventures, 1st, and Pre-K) and the book basket is sparse! When I go to reserve books from the recommended list, most of them are checked out, OR they aren't available at all. Anyone else have this and how did you overcome it? What do we do if we don't have books in our basket - just find ones that are not recommended and hope for the best?
Posted Mon Aug 11, 2008 11:50 am by doubleportion

We have the same issue. We fill our book basket with more other topic, on grade level, readers and some easier level readers. I have also had to spend some time going through the non-fiction books that are on topic but not on our list. I have found a few good ones and passed over many not so good ones.

I also will place a request on an item we will need a few weeks later. That gives it time to come in via inter-library loan or if it is already checked out. I go through my TM book list and see what I can get for about four weeks ahead at a time.

Our children's librarian was very helpful too. When we told her what topics we would be studying for the next few weeks, she showed us where those books were. It saved me allot of digging on the computer catalog.

I stressed about book basket in the beginning too, as I found only 25% or less of the recommended books on the list. But some weeks had plenty and some weeks were more sparse. In the end you will find enough to fill their time and minds with lots of great info.

Posted Tue Aug 19, 2008 12:03 pm by doubleportion

This is our first year with MFW. We are loving it! My DD is getting to really love reading, thanks in part to the book basket. Initially, it is a little time consuming but then you get into the flow of things. Our library is letting us check out books an extra month right now. So I got about four weeks of books. Saves me the long drive into town and breaking up our school day to get there. But if you are blessed with a library close by you can always just work it into your weekly schedule.

Have a great year in MFW!!
Julie in MN
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book baskets? Kindergarten

Unread post by Julie in MN »

fancymud wrote:Hi,
I'm looking for more information on MFW. I'm just not comprehending what a book basket is. Is it just books that we acquire and put in a basket for the child to read? Is there a list somewhere of what would be suggested or do you just get some based on what you are studying? I'm looking to buy MFW K. Also are the books in the basket books she would look at by herself? Or books that I would read to her? Thanks for any help.
Heather :)
Hi Heather,
You don't have to worry about book basket in K. Some folks create their own, such as these folks: http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=3223 But really it's a method used after a child is reading for information independently.

So, once I've taught my son about the topic of the day, say for instance World War I recently (8th grade), then he has some time to interact with various resources I've gathered on that topic. It's a way of learning more about a topic, but in a way that's more than just reading one more chapter in a textbook. This is a piece of the day that just exposes the child to the fact that there's a ton more you could do on this topic, and help yourself to whatever aspect looks interesting. I've heard Crystal and Kelly call it a buffet, where you do not need to eat it all, but can choose whether you're interested in.

The MFW levels come in packages with all the books you need to teach the topics. And then the teacher guide (after K & 1st) has an extra list for book basket. The list is hundreds of books long and divided by topic. It includes not only history topics, but science & music & such. If you choose to use this method, you will gather all you can in your home or your library from these lists or of your own choosing. After a while, you may tailor it to your own particular child's tendencies -- some prefer more science-oriented topics, others are more into novels, and so forth.

This is not reading time, but it is enriching the topics studied during the day or week, so it's more like an addition to history and other lessons. There will be another time each day for actual independent reading.

Does that start to make sense?

K & 1st are still literature-rich and include reading lists, but they are used differently. Here is a K list for reading to your child and having a conversation about how that story relates to the lessons you're working on: http://www.mfwbooks.com/k_read.htm

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Re: book baskets? Kindergarten

Unread post by cbollin »

Hi Heather,
Julie said it well. I just felt like typing a bit and saying the same things. :)

Book basket is for children who are already reading well; so it begins about 2nd grade (in mfw curriculum and manuals). MFW uses it as a way to help develop a love of reading, and to have some independent learning by reading. You get the books on the topics you are studying. Or you can even get books that are of topics interesting to your child (craft book, or for when they just have to know about a science topic right now even if it isn’t studied in the sequence for another year). They can browse the books. Finish them if they want to. Set them down if they don’t want to finish it either. In addition to being a “buffet”, I also try to help see book basket as being in a waiting room with books, or in a bookstore and browsing. Some times, you take the book and sit down and read it all. Other times, you read a little, then put it back. But you don't pressure them to "have" to do it all.

Book basket can be filled with books at, below, and even above their reading level to encourage enjoying a book, finishing it and even being challenged to try a little harder once in a while, or enjoy a caption or two from a "bigger book".

MFW’s manuals will provide an extensive list of enrichment readings for book basket use. Those lists are organized by week of the program, and the topics line up. The book basket list also offers a brief description of the book. And even the occasional heads up warning if a page might not be appropriate, or even “be prepared to cry at the tender ending”.

There is a long list of Book Basket FAQ and archives at this link

and as Julie said, K and 1st have extra reading too, but is more parent directed and read out loud to the child. However, in 1st, you can still begin to have a “book basket” feel to it as you gather books on math and science topics.

There is no expectation to read each of those books. And if your library doesn’t have the exact titles, it can be ok too.
Last edited by cbollin on Sun Oct 18, 2009 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: book baskets?

Unread post by niki »

This may give you another idea about book basket. My kids may find a science experiment or craft project in one of their books and I'll let them do that for their "book basket" time that day...it doesn't happen all the time, but sometimes they just get so excited about a topic they just have to do something about it - That's what book basket can do! I think it's great!

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Re: book baskets?

Unread post by Poohbee »

I even have a book basket for my preschooler. :-)
We use book basket time as silent reading time. When we visit the library, my kids pick out books that look interesting to them, and we put those in their book baskets. I also add to their baskets some of the books that I have picked up at the library on the history and science topics we are studying in school. So, when we have book basket time, both of my girls use that 15 or so minutes to look at and/or read the books in their baskets. There's a huge variety of books for them, and I try to change the books each week so that each week there are new books for them to look forward to for Book Basket time.
So, really, Book Baskets are something that can be used and adapted for any age level. This year, we have a 5 month old baby, and he is usually ready to nurse right when we begin school. So, we begin our day with Book Basket time. My girls look at their books while I nurse the baby. That has worked really well! I like that Book Basket time can successfully be done any time of day and with children of any age.
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Book Basket?

Unread post by gratitude »

We have been doing MFW K & MFW Grade 1. We will be switching to MFW Grade 1 & MFW Adventures sometime this coming school year. For MFW Grade 1 & K I have continued to read to my kids. Right now I am actually reading them the Little House Series to set the tone for Adventures (we are on Farmer Boy and loving it!). I am thinking ahead to Adventures though and wondering:

What exactly is the book basket in Adventures? I saw it on the sample lesson plan page. Can I use any books for it? Do they have specific recommendations that relate to American History (I am hoping so). If my library doesn't have the books, which is very likely, will I be able to find them easily on the internet for sale outside of MFW?

I am thinking ahead a little, but wondering how it all works.

Re: Book Basket?

Unread post by cbollin »

gratitude wrote:. Can I use any books for it? Do they have specific recommendations that relate to American History (I am hoping so). If my library doesn't have the books, which is very likely, will I be able to find them easily on the internet for sale outside of MFW?

I am thinking ahead a little, but wondering how it all works.
You don't have to buy any of the books from book basket, unless you just want to for your own reasons.

There will be specific recommendations each week related to the history, science, and even music composers. If your library doesn't have those exact titles, you can use other titles that are similar. Think of book basket as enrichment reading, not required reading.

When my library didn't have the exact titles, I used similar non fiction information books. And then, I put in other books that were of general interest to my children to read on their own. So, book basket doesn't have to be all related to history either.

Some people use interlibrary loan system in their libraries to get some of the books. Some people buy a few extras if needed.

Some of the goals in book basket is to just have extra books around to let the children look through on their own to learn more about a topic you are teaching; to have longer chapter books to read on their own; or even extra books for mom/dad to read aloud to the children if you want to. It's about learning to love to read and doing a little more on their own.
You can think of it as a buffet to pick and choose, without the pressure to eat it all. If they don't finish a book from the basket, it's ok. It's a lot like picking up a magazine in a waiting room and not reading it cover to cover. It's like browsing a book store and sometimes you pull the book off the shelf and curl up in a chair and read it all, and other times you put it back on the shelf.


Book Basket?

Unread post by cbollin »

gratitude wrote:Is the book basket then a 'book list' that recommends specific books that are age appropriate & topic related?
yes. It is a list of titles, authors and brief notes about the book.
Is the list long for each week?
it can be longer in some weeks. There are about 300-400 books for the whole year in most years from ADV through 1850MOD.
Is it difficult or easy to pick from?
I use a few each week and find that the notes that Marie has in there has made it easy for me over the years.
Is the idea then for me to collect those books, or similar books, and have them in a basket (or a place) for the kids to find them easily?
Are some of the books age appropriate to be used as readers, in other words, books for the kids to read to themselves?
Are some of the books age appropriate to be used as read-alouds, in other words, books that are longer or above their reading level that we can read to them?
that can happen too. I found plenty of those over the years where I wanted to read them aloud with my kids.
I do sometimes ask a lot of questions. ;)
No problem. keep 'em coming :)

In some ways, book basket will be similar to the list of math and science related books in the 1st grade manual. But it will be sorted by week number in the ADV manual. You'll find a wide variety of books. Some will be below grade level, some at, and some above. This will encourage children to enjoy easier books to glean more information. It encourages them to try a few harder books with help. And it encourages them to put down stuff that at least they tried a little, but weren't completely interested. Book basket is meant to be low pressure and a lot of time to learn to love to read.

Here's a link to a part of the message board that has an entire FAQ about Book Basket:

more questions welcomed :)
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