'twas brillig and the slilthy toves...

One of the more enjoyable aspects of teaching my younger brothers and sisters their rather boring elements of grammar or even sometimes the aspects of finer and beautiful writing and usage of words, is the aspect of reading good classics aloud to them. Last year I tried on many occasions to start a book with them, but somehow, we never finished it. So, this year I knew I had to stick with it and be consistent, or we'd get through one book a year. As with many things in life, I've found that consistency was definitely the key here. Well, as is an understandable and intriguing book; which somehow seems to help, I don't really know why.

A couple of months ago I thought I would search the library for an old book that I remember loving when I was younger called, The Dark Frigate, by Charles Boardman Hawes, a 1924 Newberry Award winner. However, I think I must have been at least thirteen when I read it, but forgetting that dusty fact, I found the book and that evening began to read it aloud to the kids, repeatedly telling them how much I loved it and how they were going to too, "It's about pirates!" I kept saying, my eyes exaggeratively wide. So, I opened it. The book began with a rambling and complex narrative as to the location of the story: the why, when and how and why, and where and why, and what next of why and how and who and because of whom, of such a topic and story plot that the book hadn't even been gracious enough to enlighten us about yet, but seemed fit to describe all the details of. When this happens, generally, we skim to get the meaning, we get the gist of the story and then resume a page or two later; so this I did as well. I skimmed, tried to explain what was happening in the story and then began to read at the top of the next page, "He that will a guid edge win, maun forge thick an' grind thin..."I glanced up over the edge of the book. There were five little children sprawled out on the beds and floor. One was biting his nails absentmindedly, and another one was laying on his stomach, flipping through a Lego catalog, while the littlest was wrapped up in blankets and rolling off his bed, landing with a thump on the floor. My siblings are pretty smart kids, but I had to concede that the book was still a little too much for a handful of six year olds. Maybe we'll try reading it again in a few months.

So far we've read Redwall by Brian Jacques, Stuart Little by E.B. White, The Borrowers by Mary Norton, Roverandom by J.R.R Tolkien and we are nearly finished with, The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare, which is also a Newberry Honor award winner. Having rather a wide range of ages to cope with and the different preferences of the boys and girls has been somewhat challenging in trying to find a book that interests all of them. I would have read The Chronicles of Narnia first, but the 4 year old insists that its a little too mature for his standards. I thought of Little Women, but the boys outnumber the girls and have seen the movie and said they couldn't possibly sit through hours of reading about making dresses and of eating limes and of conversations of Professor Bhaer. I think next we will read The Secret Garden, or perhaps go through the Little House series, or maybe we'll try a different pirate story and read another old favorite of mine, Treasure Island.

1 comment:

emelina said...

today i am reading 'the everlasting story of nory' by nicholson baker. i think if you were a book, you would be this one.