Sonlight’s Readers

I purchased all the books on Sonlight’s third grade reading list. I give Norah one of these books for reading almost everyday that we do school. Each of these books is supposed to be read over a number of days, according to Sonlight’s schedule, but once Norah starts a book, she usually wants to finish it in one day and I don’t have the heart to tell her “no.” Something about making my kid stop reading feels very unnatural, even wrong, to me. So, at this point, I am going ahead and ordering the books I don’t already have off Sonlight’s forth/ fifth grade reading list so they will be here and ready when Norah is done with the third grade list. Those books may actually be challenging enough to Norah to cause Norah to need to put them down and come back to them on another day.

I Caught Her Reading

My daughter will often check out a library book two or three times before it gets “old.” But, at this point, many library books, especially the fiction ones that have age-appropriate content, are already “old” to her.  But I have some concern that the content in new books is quickly becoming too mature for her. She’s only six!  I had heard other home school mom express concern and frustration over the fact that there aren’t enough books with age-appropriate content for advanced readers. So, I guess I expected this, but it looks like it might be happening much sooner than I thought. I really need to find a more strategic, aggressive way to keep up with my daughter’s love of reading before I run out of books to offer her!

What We Are Using For Reading

For Reading-

These are the books I will assign Norah to read this year. After were done with everything else for the day, I will have her read in one of these books for thirty minutes. If she wants to keep reading (and I think she will) then I will probably let her keep going till she gets tired or finishes the book, whichever comes first.

A Question of Yams

Keep the Lights Burning Abby

Clara and the Bookwagon


The Chalk Box Kid

Riding the Pony Express

The Littles

Jake Drake Bully Buster

Third Grade Detectives: Mystery of the Left Handed Envelope

Mystery of the Stolen Statue

The Last Little Cat

The House on Walenska Street

Secret Valley

Cora Frear

Tippy Lemmy

The Paint Brush Kid

Prairie School

The Long Way Westward

The Long Way to a New Land

Clues in the Woods

Owls in the Family

The Sword in the Tree

In Grandma’s Attic

Encyclopedia Brown #1-7

Up to this point, I’ve hesitated to assign or require Norah to read specific books. I’ve only put books like this on her shelves and encouraged her to read them, letting her stay up late if she agrees to choose a book from a stack of books that I make for her, etc. It’s bribery, but it has worked pretty well.

However, she’s such a joyful, independent reader, I don’t think assigning books will cause her to dislike reading. In fact, I know she will enjoy these titles. She isn’t drawn to their covers on her own which is part of the reason she hasn’t read most of these books already but they are some of the best stories out there for kids at her reading level.

I’ve collected the titles we already own from around the house, but I still need to order some of these books online. The ones I can get from the library, I won’t buy. When we get near the end of this list, I will make another, more advanced list and assign those.

Most of these books are on Sonlight’s Readers 3rd grade list. For that reason, I think I will buy their readers schedule so I will have some ready made questions to use to test Norah’s reading comprehension.

Summer Reading Program

We went to the library today. Norah is participating in their summer reading program and she received credit for fifteen hours of reading, got her prizes and filled out her entries for the raffles, etc. Note: She’s done much more than fifteen hours, but it’s way too hard to keep up with the minutes she reads when she just grabs a book in her room or on the couch or in the car. And, she’s too young to remember to keep up with it herself. So, the fifteen hours you see recorded above are the times when she read silently or out loud on the couch next to me when I set the timer.

I also picked up these summer review booklets for grades 1-5 put out by the Waterbury school system. I can’t wait to look them over and see what the schools are teaching kids in what grade and how well Norah compares.

Narration and Illustration

Norah did a narration of the Magic Tree House book Knight at Dawn today. I wrote down her words as she retold the story and I’ll type it out and print it some other day. (It’s really long.) Narrating stories back to me like this gives her practice writing book reports before she’s actually old enough to physically write her own book reports.

Next, Norah drew a scene from the story using a book I bought her at the thrift store 1-2-3 Draw: Knights, Castles and Dragons. This helped her draw the knight on horseback and the castle. She was thrilled to be able to draw the pictures in her head.

Knight at Dawn is one of almost thirty Magic Tree House books that Norah has collected and the she reads over and over and over again. I am thinking of asking Norah is she wants to make a “collection” of these “book reports.” She could do a narration of each story, draw a scene from each one and collect all her work in a binder. If we end up doing this, I’ll take pictures of Norah’s work and let you see how the collection goes.


Reading in Kindergarten: What We Use

Norah’s moving into Kindergarten!

For Reading during the next few months, we will use:

A Handbook for Reading

Bob’s Books Sets 1-5

The Handbook for Reading is my “no-frills” approach to phonics. This book was the only thing we used for reading for over a year and it really works. I used it when I was tutoring remedial readers as a full-time teacher so I was confident it would work for my daughter.
Norah and I started with the alphabet chart inside the cover. From there, we eventually moved on to the short vowels, going forward page by page and back again till she “had it.” We learned and reviewed the consonants one by one, learned how to blend each consonant and a short vowel, and now we are about to finish the long vowels and move into special sounds.

Along the way, the book teaches sight words and spelling rules when they come up, such as “K comes before i, e and C comes before a, o and u.” Norah can’t actually apply these rules, but to me, it makes sense that she learn them along with phonics and be able to recite them at a time when she enjoys memorizing things. The rules will make sense to her soon enough and she will apply them as soon as she stars spelling words on her own.

For our beginner readers, we chose Bob Books, after looking into several publishers. Norah enjoys them and gets a sense of accomplishment from reading “a whole book” herself. We borrowed the first set from the library to make sure we liked them, then we purchased all five sets through Amazon.

I thought these books would be a wise investment. I know I will likely use the books again with Avril when she is old enough to read.  The books are already up on the shelf where Norah doesn’t have access to them, so she can’t tear them up with constant use. I liked the idea of having these books on hand right when my children are ready for them and for convenience sake, not having to request the specific sets from the library, then wait till they come, then go get them and then get them back to the library before we may actually be done with them, etc.

Me: “Phonics or nap?” Norah: “Phonics!”

Norah and I will practice for a little while before nap times or bedtime. She isn’t eager to practice, never has been, so I let her choose to go on to bed or practice Phonics. She always chooses Phonics!

We are using Handbook for Reading published by Abeka. She is further along in the book than ever before and is reading simple words and sentences without any help at all. I am very excited, since reading, in my estimation, is one of, if now the most important skill I will ever teach her.  I know she’ll be able to teach herself anything as long as she can read about it.