One of the best things about being a parent or teacher is you get a “do over”. Ever feel guilty that you didn’t read many of the classics? Well now is your chance! Not only do you now have the excuse, nay the obligation, to while away your time reading a good-old-fashioned book, you have the opportunity to share some really great books with a new generation.

As I mentioned, in a previous post, even though my girls are growing up, they still love for me to read to them. This post will be part of a series of posts geared to sharing great books that families can read to or with older children or young teens.

Anne of Green Gables

This bestselling novel, written in 1908 by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery was one of my favorites as a child. Nonetheless, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed rereading it as an adult. In the beginning of the series, Anne, the main character, is only 11 years old, just a few years older than my girls. I decided to start reading this book to them because I knew it was well beyond their current meeting level. Nonetheless I knew that the themes and challenges presented through Anne’s character would be something that the girls could really relate to.

I have to admit we had to stop reading at times to talk about the book. Why? My girls current independent reading choices consist of books by the name of Puppy Place and Rainbow Fairies. Though I’m glad these books are fostering in them a love of independent reading, they do little to prepare my girls for reading more complex literary works. Reading Anne of Green Gables with them allows me to explain some of the rich figurative language, advanced vocabulary and historical context in the novel.

Talking about the novel, also gave us opportunities to talk about Anne’s choices, the author’s craft and how much things have changed in modern society. For example”

  • How do you think you would have handled this situation? (Anne gets herself into quite a few situations.)
  • How does the author describe Green Gables? What words does she use to make you feel like you are there?
  • Did you know there was a time when teaching was considered a man’s profession? What do you think about that?

Other books we have loved:

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White – A tearjerker. Wonderful opportunities here to talk about friendship compassion and the cycle of life.

Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers – Though there are some connections to the famous movie (which we also love) my daughters and I enjoyed the book even more. If you are a former drama queen like me, it is also a great opportunity to try out various English accents!

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – After perfecting my accent with Mary Poppins, I had to try out a pirate accent (Argh Matey!) in this classic children’s book. Unfortunately, I was so effective that the girls decided we needed to take a break because the story was making them scared to go to bed. This may not be the best bedtime reading for sensitive children like mine, but definitely a thrilling read!

What books do you love to read to your older children or teens? Post your favorites in the comments below.

 

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. I love reading to my daughter (9). We loved Wonder, Island of Blue Dolphins, Harriet the Spy and Penderwicks series.

    Reply
    • I loved Island of the Blue Dolphins too! Unfortunately, we had to take a break because one of my daughters (the “sensitive one”) was getting too worried about the main character’s survival. (!) Thanks for the other recommendations. We will definitely check them out!

      Reply

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About alimcollins

Ali Collins is an educator, community organizer and mom. She lives with her husband and twin girls in San Francisco, CA.

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