Thursday, August 9, 2012

Our CM Kindergarten: Free Reading (and Listening!)

Miss Mason advocates that children of this age be told tales rather than read books...but I have to admit, I just love a good book. :)  And so do my kids--I have to limit their reading time to make sure they get plenty of that super-important outdoor play each day.

I had originally planned to do some light reading instruction with my children when they reached kindergarten age, using CM-style lessons.  But both of them started the kindergarten year reading very well, so our "reading instruction" took the form of, well, reading. :)  I did not do any phonics or spelling practice with them, as I have found so far that they seem to be picking these things up by just exposure to great writing.  This past year, several of different kinds of independent reading happened in our home:

:: Free choice.  Before lunch, the children usually lounged for a bit on the sofa and read their choice of books from our shelves.  This was their chance to revisit old chapter-book favorites and look at picture books, which they definitely haven't outgrown.  They also did a lot of reading aloud at this time of day to the younger siblings.

:: "Suggested" reading.  While I am preparing dinner each day, the children have about a half hour of quiet reading time.  During this block, my two kindergarteners would choose a book from the "quiet time shelf," which housed books that I wanted to make sure they didn't miss: titles from the Ambleside Online Year 0 list, a few quality picture books we hadn't hit yet, and lots of "twaddle"-free chapter books appropriate to their age and reading level.  

Keeping this shelf stocked with chapter books was a surprising challenge.  Have you noticed how difficult it is to find books written at the mid-elementary level that have subjects appropriate for a 4-5 year old?  It seemed like every book I looked through at my daughter's reading level was about school bullies, sibling squabbles, and the like.  And the sweet, innocent tales that matched her sensibilities were often far too easy (more at the easy- or early-reader level).  Books for my son were no better.  Through lots of poking around online, I was able to put together a list of chapter books for young-but-advanced readers that my two worked through over the course of the year during their afternoon quiet time.  Many of these are more appropriate for girls, as my daughter is the faster reader and went through more books than her brother did last year.

Chapter Books:
The Children of Noisy Village
Pippi Longstocking
Happy Little Family
Raggedy Ann Stories
Raggedy Andy Stories
The Princess and the Admiral
Big Susan
Mischievious Meg
Mrs. Piggy-Wiggle series
Miss Happiness and Miss Flower
Beatrix Potter collected works
Paddington Bear
My Naughty Little Sister
Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain series
Billy and Blaze series
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Brambly Hedge series

Poetry Collections:
Sugar and Spice (McGinley)
Under the Window (Greenaway)
Cuckoo's Haiku

The Golden Book of Animal Tales
Stories from the Classical Ballet (Hollyer)
American Tall Tales (Osborne)
Young Years (Baker)
Once-Upon-a-Time Storybook (Dobbs and Hodges)

On Sundays, the children do religious reading during their quiet time.  For Kindergarten, they went through the Catholic Children's Treasure Box series...and then promptly started right back from the beginning!

:: Audiobooks.  The children listened to lots of audiobooks during the littles' naptime.  We are big Jim Weiss fans here, and we listened (several times through!) to most of our library's collection of his stories--though I did "save" a few of the titles that pop up on the Ambleside Online reading lists in later years.  Some of their other favorites were: Alec Templeton's "Mother Goose Songs" (found here--really fabulous), The BorrowersWinnie-the-Pooh (read by Peter Dennis), and several fairy tale collections via Librivox or Books Should Be Free.

Next up, kindergarten math!

No comments:

Post a Comment