Monday, April 22, 2013

First Grade in Our Home: Free Reading

I have mentioned my challenge before: I find it difficult to keep my children stocked with quality reading for advancedvoracious readers with innocent souls.  How to provide them with plenty of challenging free reading without compromising on literary quality or introducing situations or behaviors I don't consider age-appropriate?  I know you mothers with early readers can relate!  And if you're like me, you're looking for reading suggestions for your lively little book-lovers. ;)  I posted a list of their kindergarten reading, and here is a list of my children's free reading for first grade.  

These are books I put on their shelf for their afternoon reading time in particular, not the scads of picture books and old favorites they picked up throughout the day on their own. ;)  We did a few from this list as audiobooks (Little House in the Big Woods, Farmer Boy, Peter Pan, Pinocchio) and a few as read-alouds (Mary Poppins, The Moffats series), and the rest were independent reading.  These were not narrated.  And be warned: a few of these show up on AO free reading lists for years ahead.  I do reserve most of the AO-selected books for when they're scheduled on the school rotation, but I do sometimes dip into the free reading options.  And one last disclaimer: the books I have listed here are all innocent enough for our family, and I consider myself pretty discerning--but please, do pre-read as needed to ensure they're okay for your children as well!

And now for the list...

King of the Golden River
Little House in the Big Woods
Farmer Boy
Peter Pan
Mary Poppins

The Mouse and the Motorcycle
Runaway Ralph
Stuart Little
The Trumpet of the Swan
The Children on Troublemaker Street
Old Mother West Wind
Venezia's books on composers and artists for this year
My Nature Friend monthly magazine
The Railway Children
Schoolhouse in the Woods series (four books in the series)
d'Aulaires' Nils
Thimbleberry Stories
d'Aulaires' Abraham Lincoln
Maminka's Children
The Rackety-Packety House
Betsy-Tacy, Betsy-Tacy and Tib (we'll wait until they're a bit older for the rest in the series)
Dr. Doolittle
Misty of Chincoteague
The Cricket in Times Square series (seven books in the series)
The Children's Book of America (we read the others in the series last year)
Degas and the Little Dancer
Merlin and the Making of a King
Fireside Stories
Tumtum and Nutmeg series (seven short books in the series)

And they're currently working on these:
Freddy the Pig series (there are *26* books in the series!)
The Moffats series (four books total)

That should keep us busy for the next month, but then I'll be back out hunting for more--so if you have suggestions for books at this level (or just beyond), please do let me know!


  1. "Sarah Plain and Tall" is one I'm working on with Bug.
    The historical American Girl books are really good.
    The Junie B. Jones books are hysterical (for both kids and favorite is "Junie B. Jones has a peep in her pocket.") Most have some sort of moral to them as well.
    The Boxcar Children
    The Borrowers
    Magic Tree House books
    Dinotopia books are really neat.
    Half Magic by Edward Eager (I think this is actually a series)
    Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
    The Secret Garden
    James and the Giant Peach
    Amelia Bedelia
    A Light in The Attic
    Where the Sidewalk ends
    Little Women
    Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM

    I have a few others in my head but I think they might still be a bit too advanced. All of these are chapter books.

  2. Celeste, I haven't commented before on your blog but have found so much of it really helpful so I thought it was time I said so! I am just starting ao1 with my oldest son (6) and he has 3 younger brothers. I find it hard to find good books for him to read (that are the right level for him but also well written). He is still at the early chapter books level of reading. I am so glad I just came across this wonderful list of yours. It will be a real help to me I know. I cannot browse bookshops (we currently live in Portugal, moving to Mozambique once we have learnt the language) and "browsing" on Amazon just doesn't work well so I appteciate having suggestions from thoughtful mums like you. Thanks again, Sarah x

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, Sarah! And how exciting about Mozambique. :)

  3. I know this is an older post but I just had to comment that when you said:

    "I find it difficult to keep my children stocked with quality reading for advanced, voracious readers with innocent souls. How to provide them with plenty of challenging free reading without compromising on literary quality or introducing situations or behaviors I don't consider age-appropriate? I know you mothers with early readers can relate! And if you're like me, you're looking for reading suggestions for your lively little book-lovers. ;)"

    Oh yes! I so relate! My daughter was reading at 3yo. She's now 9yo, an advanced reader, and LOVES to read. She's also highly sensitive. So it can be challenging at times finding good quality books that are appropriate. So I can so relate! I'm looking over some of your older posts here to get some more book ideas! ;) I've mentioned in other comments on your blog recently that I'm getting ready to pre-read Year 4. I'm working on building a Free Reading stack right now too. The moment she sees me reading a children's book, she wants it. Ha!

    1. That is the struggle with these eager readers, isn't it? Before I've even unpacked it from the library bag or the mailbox, they have it in their hands and are reading away! I just restocked my oldest son and daughter's summer stacks, so they are set for a bit. But I also have been encouraging lots and lots of re-reading of quality classics. I think Gianna has read Little Women ten times probably in the past year! :)

    2. Yes it is. And it's nearly impossible to pre-read fast enough! I don't pre-read everything but I do pre-read a lot. My daughter does do a lot of re-reading. She loves to re-read her favorite books. Like Gianna with Little Women, my daughter has favorites she reads over and over and over again. We haven't read Little Women yet. But it's on my list for a read-aloud. :)