Independent Reading - Help sorting out how MFW assigns read

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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Independent Reading - Help sorting out how MFW assigns read

Unread post by cbollin » Sun Apr 20, 2008 6:36 pm

tawbur wrote:I think readers that relate to what we're studying would be more interesting for my kids. My 2nd and 3rd graders will both need to continue daily reading practice to improve their reading skill. Do the suggested readers in MFW relate to the topic of the week, or not?
Yes it does in what is called Book Basket time. Book basket will list many books for each week that will be related to the study in history and/or science. Sometimes in some of the MFW programs it will even have a book or two about the music composers. Book basket is an integral part of the MFW programs. You don’t have to have the exact titles or to check out each and every one of those books. Good thing too!!! And to keep the cost down, it is nice to use the library for those recommended readings.
The website describes the LA in MFW as including a list of recommended read-alouds AND readers. I know they sell the read-alouds, but not any of the curriculum's readers.

I've looked at the Adv sample online, but it's not like browsing the teacher's manual, so I didn't see any mention of readers. Where is this listed? Are they all listed together with other optional "book basket" books in one master list at the back of the manual? Or are they listed within each lesson? Are the readers designated as such with the grade they're meant for?
You’re right. Samples can’t show everything like you can at a convention. There are several sources of reading in MFW:

Read Alouds – parent reads to the student and those are in the deluxe packages and scheduled in the teacher’s manual.

Book basket, which I briefly described, but you could ask more questions too. Some of them might be answered in the Language Arts archive, which is sorted alphabetically by sub-topics within language arts. Lots of good stuff in those book basket archives. Here’s a link to that section of the message board

Reading time: books of general reading interest. That list is in the very back of the teacher’s manual and is sorted by reading grade/age level. It is fun when those relate to what you are learning, but not necessary all the time. Some times in the book basket list there will be a longer chapter book or novel that could be used

And included within the book Primary Language Lessons is also a time for some reading by the student.

In order to keep costs down for the package programs MFW suggests the library, but doesn't make the program depend on having the exact titles on those library lists. very flexible.
Are there any suggestions for how to assign readers, how many pages a day or minutes a day to expect, how many readers a year, etc?
Not exactly because all children are at different skill levels. However, in the teacher’s manual there is a suggested “time box” for reading each day. In most years in the programs for 2nd-8th grader they suggest about 30 minutes a day. And of course, if you have a child like my oldest, they will have plenty of time to read even longer.
Will this be something that I will need to figure out myself, not just choosing the readers weekly but also scheduling and pacing them?
Because children will have various interests in what they want to read, you will individualize that part. There is a section in the introduction to the teacher’s manual that gives some time box suggestions (along the lines of a Charlotte Mason philosophy) to help with that. Reading and book basket will be marked on the weekly summary grid so that you remember to do those. In book basket, the children do not have to finish every book because it is to learn a bit more about history. In reading time, you’ll pick books that your children can read and finish. Again, it is such an individual thing, that you have that flexibility.
I like the book basket idea, for promoting a love of books. But I know that my kids need some required reading or they won't read at all, and therefore there won't be any improvement. I've seen that their reading skills do improve with some daily practice reading, so I'd want to continue that.

I'd just prefer if the readers were related to the weekly lessons because I think they'd hold my kids attention more than the readers they're using now. I can just imagine their excitement during our history lesson when they realize they just read a "real" book about that topic, and they can tell the rest of us about it. Does that make sense.
Sounds like we’re all on the same page with this so far.
I'd want to assign readers on their level, so they're getting good practice but not too frustrated. But I don't know how to decide what reading level a book really is. So would I get any help with this in MFW?
Yep. You will. The General Reading list is sorted by grade/age. Even in book basket, it will list about the age/grade level of reading. In Adventures most of the book basket list will be on level for 2nd and 3rd graders because Adventures is written for that target age. In the other programs in MFW, there will be a wider variety of ages/grade levels of materials.


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Unread post by LSH in MS » Sun Apr 20, 2008 7:05 pm

I haven't used Adventures but in ECC I would look through the book basket list for reading level for a 2nd-3rd grader. I would write the title of that book in the Reading box on the grid. Hill of Fire (volcano in Mexico) and The Big Wave come to mind. I would also do a general search at the library for easy readers. They had a lot of non fiction readers and some fiction ones related to the topics. ( In the style of The Trojan Horse Step into Reading book that MFW sells in CTG).

On other weeks I would just choose a book from the general reading list for them to read such as Billy and Blaze or the Chronicles of Narnia (for my older son).

wife to Clifford, mother to ds (17), ds (16), ds (15, ds (13), ds (8), and ds (3)
MFW user for 10 years

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How do you all plan and schedule or make happen independent

Unread post by caod » Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:59 pm

ShanMom wrote:How do you all plan and schedule or make happen the independent reading part? Do I simply give her some of the easier books on the book list from the back of the Adventure's Manual? Do you all assign this or simply wing it? Do you give a list or a stack? Tell me how I should approach this.
Posted: Sun May 04, 2008 4:45 pm
I think the book basket is designed to teach kids to enjoy reading. My understanding is that in the young ages the goal is to teach children to learn to love to read.

That being said, what I have done is simply pick out a book that I would like my dd to read and have her read one chapter a day or whatever works out. On the whole I have had to do this very little because she is a reader. But I want her to have a little variety of book diet. I have found that when I have picked out something that I know is a good read and on her level, she really does enjoy it. She just needs a little push to spread her wings a little.

I try to have her tell me about it and in the ideal world I would read ahead a chapter and put some who, what, where questions in there. Sadly, I don't do that often enough. I also have a notebook that we keep up that she writes down the name of the book she has read and draws a picture, dictates a summary about it to me, or does something related to the book somehow. That I do with all the books we read, read aloud and all. I don't know if that answers your question or gives you any ideas. I look forward to hearing from others.


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Unread post by bethben » Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:59 pm

Posted: Mon May 05, 2008 6:45 am

In Adventures, I would assign some of the easier books for required reading. I don't know that ds would have read them on his own initiative.

Julie in MN
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Unread post by Julie in MN » Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:01 pm

Posted: Mon May 05, 2008 8:51 am

I think everybody's answer will be a bit different, and every answer will be okay!

What you do will depend on things like:
* your child's preferences
* your child's strengths & weaknesses, or your goals for that child
* your home library & local public library contents

Each MFW guide gives you some guidance about reading: choosing a book at your child's reading level, hopefully relating to the historical time period but also possibly from the general reading list or your own choices.

Another method that we use around here is to post an age & gender & reading level on the boards & ask for good suggestions! Here are a couple of past threads:

My own personal style is to go thru a bunch of our home library with ds and help him make a choice. Then I have him read a chapter each day. After the first day or two, I get feedback from him. If he absolutely hates the book, we will move to another book. If he is really getting ornery about reading, then I switch gears to something very easy or something with some humor in it. Getting him to love reading is more my goal at this point than building his reading skills or pouring more historical information into him.


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Unread post by Mommyto2 » Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:02 pm

Posted: Mon May 05, 2008 9:16 am

We do both. Sometimes I assign an easy book from the book basket because I know the only way it will get read or looked at is if I read it or assign it.

Other times I tell him to pick any book he wants and read. Unfortunately this usually means something from his sister's Kindergarten book basket. A book so easy that it is silly to think he is really reading anything. Hence he gets assigned reading more than not.


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Unread post by Heidi » Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:05 pm

Posted: Mon May 05, 2008 10:30 am

My focus has been to let them develop the love of reading. Mine love to read. They take their books everywhere with them - outside, in the car, in the bathroom, to bed, etc.

I did this by primarily reading aloud a lot - I will call this step 1 - but, a step that I have not ever stopped. I start with what they love. I have always let them bring tons of books home from the library though they must pass my inspection first. I always picked a few titles to add to the mix too. We put them all in a rectangular laundry basket. We each got "our" side - Caleb's books, Gracie's books, Joshua's books and teacher's books.

We read aloud several titles before bedtime most nights. As soon as they were able - step 2 if you will - I let them read the easy ones aloud to all as well even if it meant I finished the reading aloud if they tired part way through.

The books basket idea was really an extension of what we were already doing - only adding in titles to coordinate with our studies. These books do an excellent job of summarizing and adding beautiful photography and drawing to the assigned readings in the TM so we often read them instead of or along with the assigned readings to make a very rich literature approach I think really intended for the subjects and content assigned (yes, this meant I had read the TM and the assigned readings ahead and read the book basket books myself - I love them all so much I do not mind at all!). This has developed to my older two spending an hour or two both reading these book basket books but also at the non-fiction section looking for more on the subjects to read as well. Which introduced them to that part of the library - now their favorite.

This really meant I did not need to assign reading for quite awhile because it was happening without effort. However, my older two love the non-fiction section of the library so much that I had to begin pulling story titles to round out their reading. These and God's World News are what I now assign them. We do it by time in - they read and then list how much they read in that time on their assignment planner we have.

My youngest is still back at step 1.

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Unread post by Lucy » Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:06 pm

Posted: Mon May 05, 2008 5:59 pm

I thought since no one had mentioned it that you may like to know a couple of things. In the T.M. you will find a short description about this subject and there will be a block on the weekly grid each day that says reading. I always liked this because for me if it is not written down I am most likely to forget it!

Besides the historical fiction that can be chosen from the weekly list of books, there is also a list in the back of good literature books by grade level. Honey for a Child's Heart (comes in MFW1 deluxe package) is also an excellent resource for finding books for readers.

Just thought you would like to know what is in the manual to help you out.

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Unread post by kstedl » Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:10 pm

Posted: Tue May 06, 2008 6:31 pm

What I started doing 2 years ago, has worked wonderfully for us. I want my children to experience many of the great classic literature books (and Christian literature). I spend much thought each year devising a list for my children of their required reading for the year. Usually, it is 2 books a month, but sometimes may be 1 or 3, depending upon the length of the book.

In the summer, they only are required to read 1 book a month. They read this during the school hours if they have time, otherwise at bedtime or throughout the day (basically, when they want).

This is the first year I've done MFW (we did ECC). I try to come up with a list that complements our study, but this is not always the case. I thought you might like an example of what I would require. Here is my 4th grade daughter's list for this year in which we did ECC:

Misty of Chincoteague
Sea Star

The Incredible Journey
The Hundred Dresses

Chucaro Wild Pony of the Pampas
Adventures in South America

The Secret at Pheasant Cottage
Snow Treasure

Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates

Three Go Searching
King of the Wind

The Jungle Book
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

Letters from Rifka
The Endless Steppe

The Water Babies
At the Back of the North Wind

The Wheel on the School

The Secret Garden

The Sign of the Beaver

I use many different sources to come up with my lists, including the MFW manuals. By the time my children are done with school when they are 18, they will have read SO much classic literature. This really excites me, because through my public school education, I can probably count on 2 hands, the classic literature I had read. Now, as an adult, I am trying to read several works through the year. I realize now what I have missed! I am currently reading, The Yearling, a wonderful book that I am enjoying immensely!

This year, as a way to encourage & motivate my 8 year old daughter (the beginning reader) I offered a small prize each month for when they finished their required books. This really motivated them! I'm not sure I'll do it next year, but was very happy I did it this year, as it really helped my 8 year old focus!

I see your oldest is 8; but wasn't sure of her reading level. Some of the books I required my 8 year old daughter to read this year (as she was just beginning), was, On Yonder Mountain, The Courage of Sarah Noble, Keep the Lights Burning Abbie, Billy and Blaze books, A Question of Yams, etc.

This has really worked so well for our family, I can't even say! I am so pleased with the results of this plan.

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