Reading without Boundaries

If you’ve read my Recommended Reading list, you know I don’t believe in dividing books by age levels.  For one thing, Middle still enjoys perusing some picture books at twelve as much as he loves Percy Jackson and various other “age-appropriate” books.  He’s also been asking lately when I’m going to let him read some Stephen King.  He knows King is one of my favorite contemporary authors for his amazing character development and the way he captures late childhood/early adolescence.  I’m trying to decide which one would scare him the least.

Anyway, my point here is that we are about halfway through Oliver Twist.  I rave about guided reading for a reason.  Littlest is 9, his favorite books right now are the Diary of  a Wimpy Kid series and The Bailey School Kids series.  When we first started reading Twist, his turn to read aloud was a little stilted and peppered with a lot of What does that mean?  and I don’t understand.  His experiences with reading Robinson Crusoe, Black Beauty, and A Christmas Carol had sort of prepared him for the Old English and the use of words not necessarily used in everyday language, but a full-length Dickens novel is on a different level than those books.  There’s so much more depth, description, and use of language.

The thing about guided reading is that I was right there with them, reading along, and could stop and answer his questions until he did understand.  The vocabulary sections of our study guide have helped him learn the words Dickens uses often, so he doesn’t have to ask what they mean anymore.  The critical thinking questions in the study guide have helped him figure out how to think when reading the novel.  So when we returned from our break yesterday and delved back into Oliver’s life I realized that as Littlest read, he didn’t stumble.  Not over words and not over descriptions.  Just a few weeks of reading and he is completely comfortable with the language.  He gets it.  He understands.

I believe wholeheartedly that guided reading is teaching my Littles to expand their thinking along with their vocabularies and historical knowledge.  Granted, we don’t always read such lofty literature.  But ANY guided reading provides these same opportunities.

Perhaps that’s how I should introduce King?  No, Littlest is definitely not ready for King.  But who knows?  Next year… Shakespeare?

I love the possibilities.  If you could read one book or author aloud with your children, without fearing they are too young or would have trouble comprehending it,  what would it be?

Love wins,



4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. KT Brison
    Dec 09, 2014 @ 19:59:37

    Another admission: Both my Littles were very into My Little Pony (the cartoons and the toys) for about 2 years. I was sooo glad we homeschooled so they didn’t get teased out of their interest. The cartoons actually have pretty good messages about friendship and social skills. The downside is, I have a bin filled with 100s of dollars worth of MLP toys that is collecting dust. The Batman toys still get played with. LOL



  2. storiesofourboys
    Dec 07, 2014 @ 05:04:14

    I would read LM Montgomery, but I have all boys!!! I may just have to read it to them in a few years, in middle school, anyway. I can’t imagine a world without Anne of Green Gables!



    • KT Brison
      Dec 08, 2014 @ 02:41:42

      My boys loved Anne of Green Gables! Don’t be afraid to forget gender biases when you choose books to read with your kids. We’re supposed to be living in the Post-Equal Rights Era–I would hate for your boys to miss out on such great stories because we tend to think of Anne as being for girls. To be honest, Middle was really into the American Girl books in the second grade. Great history stuff; I encouraged it!



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