Saturday, May 1, 2010

A List of Books Read This Year

Every day (well, not EVERY day, but 98% of our school days), Max gets read to.  I plunk down on the couch or in a comfy chair, he grabs his Nerf sword or piles of Lego guys or whatever gadget is close at hand, and we begin the ritual.  I read anywhere from two to five chapters (depending on how gripping the tale is) and Max slays the imaginary demons cavorting about the room; good thing we can't really see them - we wouldn't hang around.  Actually, I think he's past that stage.  I think he's more into perfecting his moves now as he brandishes the sword.  He takes karate lessons twice a week, so the Kenpo style is becoming sealed in his muscles.  It's more about form than function right now.
My voice has gotten so much stronger over the past year!  No more raspies - I can read and read and read some more and not experience vocal cord angst.  I've also gotten better at lyrical rhythm and have tremendous respect for narrators.  You really have to be present to deliver a great performance!  Sometimes your mind wanders and then the words begin to drone or you stumble over them.
Despite persistent doubts that he is even listening to the story line, Max never fails to surprise me.  He picks up nearly every nuance of the character's situation as he bounces around the room, sometimes almost out of earshot.  If asked to clarify something, he can clarify in a snap.  For Max, movement is a prerequisite to absorbing something.  Yesterday he devised a game called Trampoline Math wherein we jumped on the trampoline and skip counted the 8's and 9's and then drilled the multiplication table back and forth.  Math Catch is also another option.  Both are effective!  Today we tried a repeat performance of Trampoline Math, but it was too cold!  A couple of bounces and we ran for warmer hills.
Since the end of August we've covered a fair amount of literature.  Here is a partial list of what has been read with a rating on a scale of 1 to 10 of how much we liked each book.  Ten, of course, means stellar:
9.  Survival story.  Fit into our unit on Cetacea.
10! Same unit.  Really nice look at the life in a humpback whale pod.
7. What's with Captain Nemo, anyway?  He's an enigma.
4 - we didn't make it all the way through.  Too cumbersome for our tastes.
10! Jay Hosler is a marvelous author.  Learn about life in a bee hive.
10! Poor Ranofer - what a tormented life.  Somewhat graphic as his brother is abusive, but good prevails over evil in the end.  Fit into the unit on Ancient Egypt.
10++++ The language and imagery in this book is beautiful.
6 - got too confusing after awhile.  Time travel can do that.  Ancient Egypt unit.
5 - eh.  Didn't love it.
9 - cute story
The current read.  It's good, so maybe an 8.  I think it's odd that the author is marketing this toward 'gifted' children - ALL children have the potential to enjoy this story.  I don't like labels, except, of course, when they provide nutritional information.
10+++ (seriously, check into these books - so much science and so much fun)
Love.  10+.
Listened to this as an audio CD from the library.  My voice got a rest!  Max liked this one. 9.
7+.  You get attached to the Canadian goose and the little girl.
10++ GREAT adventure, survival story.  Kept us on the edge of our seats.  Kind of graphic and scary in places.
10+.  Fantastic.  Sweet and sad, so bittersweet.  Happy ending.
7. These are quick reads that hold on to the essence of the original story, plus you get some pictures to help embellish the story line.
8. Good love story.
There are others such as Justin Denzel's Hunt for the Last Cat, Rick Riordan's Percy and the Olympians series, some of the Harry Potter books, Robin Hood, etc.
Over the summer I'd like to read the Little House on the Prairie books to him - before he gets older and doesn't think I should read those too him.  They left such an indelible impression on me about pioneers and their struggles.  Then someday, the James Herriot series will be a must, too (All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, etc.)
I purchased the following book several years ago as a resource to good literature.  It has proven itself time and time again and I highly recommend it as a permanent member of your bookshelf.  The author provides excellent lists of books categorized by age for children through the teen years.  This is definitely one to take to the library with you!  Note that the author maintains a strong Christian slant in her writing; we homeschool in a  secular fashion and have found this book to be quite a wonderful resource of great literature!

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