On reading and read-alouds

[Apparently I'm on the twice-a-week blogging schedule of late. Probably because I have a little beauty in my arms most of the time. Is anyone even still reading here?]

Ella has become quite the reader. It is so fun for me to watch her. A few days ago I heard her sigh contentedly on the couch and say, "I just love to read. I love books. I wish I could just live at the library because there are so many books there. I could just wake up and there would be all those books! And then I could open the doors and let all the kids in and we could all read!" I so get that. If our library had comfy couches with blankets and pillows and a well-stocked fridge, that might actually be a dream vacation for me.

Today, I took Ella and Adelia out on a "girls date." Our primary goal was to get some spring clothes for Ella, but we had a couple of other stops to make, too. One of those stops was the library, and Ella wanted to go to the library first. We dropped some books off and then I told her we had about half-hour to get some new books. She was thrilled.

When we got back into the van and headed off to our next errand, it was rather... silent. When I glanced in the rear-view mirror I realized that she'd taken a stack of books with her and her head was bent over a book. I missed her usual chatter, but understand her love of reading, so I asked, "Why don't you read those out loud to mommy?" She said, "No. I'd like to just read them to myself." Great. Nice bonding time that was. (Next time I'll know to tag the library trip on the end so that I may actually get to talk to my her as we drive around.)  ~smile~

We've also been doing several read-alouds lately, and let me just say right off the bat that I did not at all care for Stuart Little. ~shudder~

But here are a couple of our favorites: The Courage of Sarah Noble and The Family Pilgrim's Progress. 

But those don't even hold a candle to our current read-aloud:

Could you just cry for joy at the happy memories that book brings you? Or is it just me?  OhmygoodnessIlovethisbook. The kids, of course, love it, too. Ella adores anything Laura, Mary and baby Carrie are doing. And Jack is a bit hit. Isaac is really into the parts with Indians or Pa going hunting with his gun. Isaias gets distracted after about 2 minutes but jabbers on about Indians any time they come up in the story.

The other day after we finished up a chapter, Isaac asked, "Is this a real story?" (Most of the books we read are true stories, or "based on a true story".)

I turned to the outside cover and asked Ella if she could tell who the author was. She read aloud: "Laura Ingalls..." She stopped suddenly before getting to the "Wilder" part. Then she exclaimed, "Laura Ingalls is the same Laura we're reading about! That's her name, too. Laura Ingalls. And Pa Ingalls. That's their name. It's the same!" She was so excited. I said yes, it's the story of Laura as a child and her family's adventures, and when Laura grew up she wrote it all down. Ella looked up at me, beaming, and she literally had tears in her eyes upon making that connection. Really. She was that excited to know that Laura was real and that all of this had really happened; that this family had really existed. (Isaac was hoping they were still alive.  Cutie.)

That's what we're up to in the read-aloud department.  

What books have you been reading at your house? 


  1. Hi Stacy :) What a wonderful post! We are serious book lovers, too.

    We recently finished the first six of Janette Oke's "Animal Friends" series. They were so sweet, and I loved the discussion that they generated.

    I am looking for a new read aloud or series, so I will keep an eye out for the responses you receive.

    Can't help but wish we lived closer for lots of reasons, but also because Ella and my Miss M could read together and exchange books :)

    Love & hugs! Q

  2. Stacy,
    One of my favorites is the "Courage of Sarah Noble". (Keep up your courage Sarah Noble, keep up your courage.)
    We are also working our way through the Little House series. We are reading "Little House on the Prairie" right now. We really love the D'Aulaire books too. Our favorite is "George Washington".
    Have a great week. Love Tami

  3. We never read chapter books aloud as a family when I was growing up, so this concept is a bit foreign to me. We would read smaller simple books together, but never chapter books. I read Little House on the Prairie myself and loved it. I'm excited to see everybody else's suggestions so I know where to start.

    And of course I'm still checking in on your blog to hear what the latest news is! ;-)

  4. We're currently reading Prince Caspian after just having finished The voyage of the Dawn Treader. Our of order, I know, but Peregrine has heard them all before so this is rerun time! I think Stuart Little is weird- like the never really noticed their child was a mouse? (If I remember right!)
    Reading to the kids is one of the highlights for me, and for them I think. It's also about all we're doing for "school" right now. (Because like you, I have a sweet baby in arms much of the time!)
    Bless you!

  5. Oh, speaking of the Little House books- I love them too, and have happy memories of them. I've only read Farmer boy aloud to Peregrine so far, and I think we'll wait to read them all aloud until Poppy is a bit older. We've had several of them out of the library on CD though, unabridged and read by Cherry Jones. They're excellent, and even have a bit of fiddle music. Highly recommended, if your kids like listening that way and your library has them. Peregrine gets to listen to tapes or cds during his rest every day.

  6. I got tears of my own reading about Ella's realization! We are currently reading "Charlotte's Web" and loving it. Would love to hear more about Stuart Little... the kids love the movie, so I was assuming we would do that one in the next year, too - but now I'm not so sure!

  7. I have found that reading my sermon manuscripts aloud really helps kids get to sleep. And some adults.

    Apart from that, we are big Roald Dahl fans at bedtime, though you have to edit a bit on the fly. But if you want a good "root for the underdog" story, any Dahl will do. No offense to the Little House books.

    These days we are wading through the Narnia series as well - we are in the midst of the Dawn Treader.

    I'm trying to figure out if I'll let our oldest (age 8) go to see Prince Caspian in the theater, now that they finally rated it PG. Our rule is usually "read the book and you can see the movie" which works pretty well. But I'm not sure about this one. Any ideas out there?

    Dan (the brother-in-law)

  8. Still checkin' ya every day. I understand you must be super busy cuddling that little cute baby!

    I am reading Leading Little Ones to God (by Marian M. Schoolland and for Pink, The True Princess by Angela Elwell Hunt. My husband just started reading the Harris boy's book Do Hard Things to the two older boys. They are loving it.

    I LOVED the Little House books growing up too.

  9. Of course we're all still reading. We're smart and have you in our Bloglines reader. :)

    and we're on Farmer Boy, having FINALLY finished Little House in the Big Woods. It seemed to take forever. They're cute, but are a bit long for my brain at 8 or 9pm when the girls want me to read it.

  10. We love them too. We are currently in the 3rd book "on the banks of plumb creek". And yes I still am reading your blog . . . every morning! You give me great inspiration, courage and perspective. Thank you.

    Tami Simpson

  11. I just wanted to say that I love your blog. I have been reading here for about 6 months, but I have never left a comment.

    I am a Christian, homeschooling mommy to 6 kiddos (16months to 12 years). I followed your adoption journey and prayed for you often. Our 5 year old dd is adopted from Haiti - we fought for her to come home for 3 years and 2 months. It was a long journey, but worth it.

    Anyway, read-alouds are one of our favorite things to do and the whole Little House series is tops on the list of favorites!!


  12. Your a twice a week - I'm once in a while blogger it seems. Love those bloglines readers!
    Anyway, I wasn't a Stewart Little fan either. Bluch!
    Just finished Witch of Blackbird Pond (part of our American History.) Have you read Strawberry Girl? I Can see your Ella liking that. Oh and before that Little Men. My boys roared.
    This summer we are going to do the Swallows and Amazons series per Lisa's (the Lisa from down here, you with me?) recommendation. A pirate family with 'respectful family dynamics'. Can't wait.

  13. Are you kidding? I wanted to BE Laura Ingalls Wilder :-) I read the whole series as a kid, and have actually considered reading them again now, just for fun!

  14. Quinne,
    We recently got a couple of Janette Oke's Animal Friends books, too, (from the lovely Beth), and we've enjoyed them, too!

    Yes. We loved the Courage of Sarah Noble. I'd never read it before and it was a TREAT. :) We also like the D'Aulaire biographies!

    Oh! It's such fun!

    We haven't begun the Narnia books yet (but they're on The List!)... as we're waiting until the boys are a bit older on those...
    Glad I'm not the only one who doesn't love Stuart Little. :)
    Thanks for the audio book recommendation! I'll check into those! :)

    That's one book we haven't read yet (Charlotte's Web). We'll have to read that one! As for Stuart Little, we've never seen the movie, so I can't speak to that, but I just thought the book was annoying, honestly. And lacking in the values I'd like my children to pick up in a book. I honestly can't remember specifics. Sorry!

    HE COMMENTS! Hey, there, bro! How are you?
    HA HA about sermon manuscripts. I'll bet your sermons are GREAT sleep fodder. :) KIDDING.

    I admit I had to look up "Roald Dahl". We'll definitely hit Charlie & the Chocolate Factory someday... (Do Maddie and Cole like it, too?)

    I can't offer any insight on the Prince Caspian thought... hopefully someone else can help you out on that! :) We haven't done the movie-in-a-theater thing yet with our kids (too bigger than life [scary] to them, previews I don't want them to see... etc.)

    I'm taking notes on your book recommendations!!

    OH! We haven't gotten to Farmer Boy, yet. What, are you reading them OUT OF ORDER??!?! Or... (gasp!) are WE?!?

    LOVE them. Aren't they GREAT?

    Robin C,
    Thank you for commenting! And thank you for your kind words. I love it that you have a little girl from Haiti! And whoa- that *was* a long journey! Mark and I talked in the past about adopting from Haiti, but I think Africa is up next on our hearts.

    Hi you. :) See? I'm not crazy about Stuart Little, then.
    And I'm taking notes on your other recommendations. I love these kind of posts... all sorts of new books to check into! :)

    You're a kindred spirit. ME TOO!!! (about wanting to BE Laura Ingalls Wilder.) ~smile~ And then: Jo from Little Women. And then: Anne of Green Gables. For a few minutes I may have wanted to be Nancy Drew, too, though, but she doesn't rank like the others! :)


  15. Oh, I love Laura Ingalls Wilder books! My sister and I shared the Little House on the Prarie series and kids. As the elder, she laid claim to them when she moved off to college. I went and bought another set for myself and I still have them. I also have all of the Anne of Green Gables series.

    My husband and I love to read and we're encouraging our son (3 years old) to love to read as well. We've been reading to him since he's a newborn and now he's picking up books on his own to read. We love it!

    For a while, my teenage nephew (who lives out of state) and I were calling each other on Sunday afternoons and spending 2 hours reading aloud to each other over the phone. We were reading the Harry Potter books together. Thank goodness for free night/weekend minutes on our cell phones! :)

    Great post!

  16. Hi there,
    We are on Farmer boy...the kids miss Laura and the indians, but they are starting to get into Almonzo! =) Just today we made pancake stacks like his mom made...they were pretty good! =)
    Enjoy all your readings!

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  18. Um, YES we're still reading here!

    I love that Ella had tears in her eyes when she realized Laura was a real person. What a sweetie.

    And can I just say that I am SO excited to start reading chapter books out loud to my kids? (It's coming soon.) Before any of my kids were even born I was collecting good books and telling Jason which ones would be great to read them. You've gotten me all excited!

  19. What are we aloud right now? I am reading "Summer of the Monkey's" with Aidan (wasn't that your recommendation?).
    "Last of the Mohicans" with Luke (the children's version). And "Black Ships Before Troy" (the story of the Iliad) to them both. I guess that is why it is taking so long to complete them!
    Oh, and Mike has been going through the Narnia series with them and they are now on "The Silver Chair." Which is my favorite one so far!
    What a sweetie Ella is!

  20. Yes! I'm still reading, though time doesn't allow me to comment on most blogs these days.

    I NEVER thought about reading Little House on the Prairie out loud. I had TRIED to start with Stuart Little. And like you, I just didn't like moving forward with it. So I sort of gave up on the reading "big books" aloud, period.

    But maybe I'll just have to get that book off of our shelf and give it a go. THANKS!

  21. Oh my goodness!! I want that little girl to come live with me. She is too, too sweet!!!

    We did the books as read-alouds, but that was probably more with the oldest two; the littles probably don't remember it at all. I need to pull them back out!

  22. Stacy, one of my all time favorites is Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. Wonderful story about a little girl, age nine. A great story.

    Another book we recently finished was The Middle Moffat by Eleanor Estes. There are several of the Moffat books and they are lovely stories.

    My 8yo ds and I have a special reading time with just the two of us, so we have read some more "boy" type stories...Journey to the Center of the Earth, Peter Pan and Jungle Book.

  23. I, too, love, love, love, Little House and we need to read them again for Mollie's sake. We are currently reading, Prince Caspian--Narnia series, we are really enjoying it so far. I love reading aloud to the girls, some of my favorites of recent, "Ginger Pye", "The Hundred Dresses", and "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane", but be ready to have happy tears (Dean and I both did on the last one, but so worth it!) And someone mentioned Strawberry Girl, Madi has read that when she was about 9 and really enjoyed it.

  24. Overwhelmed,
    I have all of them, too. Anne of Green Gables, and EVERY other book LM Montgomery ever wrote. LOVE her.
    Wow. That is SO nice of you to do all those read-aloud sessions with your nephew! Aren't you the nicest aunt in the WORLD?! :)

    I can't wait to get to the Almanzo part. My boys are gonna' love him! :) And we'll have to make the pancakes, too! :)

    Oh, I SO remember being where you're at... Kendra posted something about read-alouds and I was like... "Not really there yet. We're really into *picture* books at our house right now." But I couldn't WAIT!!! :)

    Yes. Someone had recommended Summer of the Monkeys to me and I mentioned it to you.... so, you'll have to let me know on that one. :) We haven't read it.

    You MUST pull those out and read them aloud! :) I'm sure at least Charis would be into them, don't you think?

    You can't have her. :)

    You're a wealth of new book recommendations! Thank you! I made some notes! Thanks! Understood Betsy sounds familiar. I must have read that myself back in the day. :)

    Also some good recommendations! I think you mentioned Strawberry Girl before, too. Why didn't I ever check that out? Mama brain, obviously. I will, this time! And the others, too, I'll check into! :) I love getting new lists of books!
    And I LOVE happy tears. :)


  25. Rachel is still a little young for Little House, but I CANNOT WAIT!! = ) It was and still is my all time favorite! I can't wait to snuggle up on the couch with her and read that series to her.
    Sara English

  26. Ella is a girl after my own heart. I'm so glad she loves to read - and that you are reading together! My mom used to read the Little House books out loud to me! I taped all the Little House episodes when I was younger too. Keep reading!!!

  27. So glad your Ella loves to read so much. We got the Laura Ingalls Wilder book adapted for little kids and my Ella loves them. And of course her mommy does too.


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