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Education, Language Arts

The DOs & DON’Ts of Reading Aloud

Read Aloud (1)

DO read aloud early and often. Start from infancy, and read aloud every day – even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes!

DON’T stop reading aloud just because your kids are growing up!

DO choose books that you love to share with your children. Your love of reading and of the story will be contagious!

DON’T be afraid to admit it if you made a poor choice of reading material. Give the book a chance, but if you can’t get into it, set it aside. Reading aloud is supposed to be fun, not miserable!

DON’T rush! Read slowly and carefully so that your child has time to process the story and enjoy the pictures.

DO pause to enjoy the pictures with your child. Point out words and show them how they relate to the images!

DO read with expression! Change your tone and inflection for different characters.

DON’T be afraid to be silly. Your character voices and sound effects don’t have to be perfect!

DON’T be afraid to pause and explain challenging vocabulary or complicated situations.

DO admit it if you don’t understand a word or concept. Look it up with your child!

DON’T wait to stop reading until your children are tired and bored.

DO leave them wanting more… try to find a stopping place with a cliffhanger. They will be excited for your next read aloud session!

DON’T leave home without a book!

DO read to your kids everywhere – at a restaurant, in a waiting room, while stuck in a traffic jam, while they eat lunch, etc.

DON’T feel the need to tie everything back to the curriculum. Sometimes reading is just for fun!

DO discuss what you read! Ask your child what they liked about the story and what they disliked. This will help you pick books that pique their interest.

Education, Language Arts

20 Books for Sixth Grade Reading

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I always get excited about summer, but for all the “wrong” reasons. Many people believe that summer is a time for rest and relaxation without a care about school, but my summers are always filled with excitement and planning for the new school year. I love the “blank slate” of a new school year!

A few days ago, I was watching some of my favorite YouTube vloggers as they discussed their plans for the upcoming school year. One of them referenced a box of books she had been collecting for her kids to read, and that flipped a switch in my brain. I pulled together some of my favorite literature resources and started putting together a reading list for our sixth grade year next year!

I ended up with a list of twenty books, which I know is a little on the long side. I’m a voracious reader working with a voracious reader, so I’m pretty sure we will get through them all. However, I divided it into three sections: “Planned Book Studies,” “Additional Reading,” and “Read Aloud and Independent Reading,” because I know that we won’t be able to study them all in great depth.

Here’s our list…

Planned Book Studies

We will be using the book studies from Learning Language Arts through Literature (The Tan Book – Sixth Grade Skills) for these studies. We will probably design lapbooks to go along with our studies, too, since we enjoy the hands-on aspect. 🙂

1. Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
2. The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
3. Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard
4. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

Additional Reading

I pulled these book suggestions from Reading Roadmaps (published by the Center for Lit). As of right now, I do not plan to complete full book studies on these books. We may decide to dive deeper into them if time allows! I like that Reading Roadmaps offers some basic discussion info (i.e. theme, plot, and conflict) for each of these stories.
5. Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
6. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
8. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
9. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
10. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
11. The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
12. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien

Read Aloud & Independent Reading

I added these books to the list because they were either (a) sequels or additional parts of a series or (b) enjoyable books I remember from upper elementary years. I will probably encourage independent reading of these books, though there are a few I would like to use as read alouds (marked with an asterisk).

13. Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates
14. Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry*
15. The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett
16. The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
17. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis*
18. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
19. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg*
20. The Borrowers by Mary Norton*

I’m really excited about this list, and I hope that these books are a hit! I think we will have fun exploring them. Hopefully, we will even get around to seeing a few of the movies based on these books! 😉 Regardless, our main focus this year will be on learning about literary devices and key literary terms, and I think this list of books will help us accomplish that goal.

What’s on your reading list this year?
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