Tag Archives: Read-a-Louds

first grade reading list — where we are now

This is the reading list I created last year, to serve as our “first grade” reading list and I am ashamed to say I have not read nearly enough of them to the boys.  To be fair to myself, many of these books reappear on “second grade reading lists also.  This year (kindy and 2nd grade officially) I will continue to pull from this list and try to make myself more disciplined about seeking these books at the library weekly.

Books Marked are one we HAVE read.


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Thinking about Literature for First Grade and the first draft of First Grade Reading List

I want Literature to be an additional subject beyond phonics / reading because I feel it is important they boys hear good literature that is well beyond their reading.  Also that they, in time, are able to “tell it back” or at least some of it; to follow more and more complicated plots and think more complex thought about the reading.  While I want them to hear some that is barely beyond Big’s reading level, to keep them reaching, most I plan to read several years beyond.  The oft lorded ‘classics’.  Hearing good writing will help them write well.  Hear grand thoughts will help them think magnificent thoughts.  Hearing tales of obstacles over come and challenges met will impression on them that challenges and obstacles need not stop you.  Moral stories and stories of moral struggle build them up without them feeling lectured.  Stories of God’s heroes, Biblical and historical, will plant the seeds of trees of deep and strong faith.  Great literature, famous stories, people and places (real or fictional) are the language of a culture.  To be literate, to be able to converse there are certain things the boys need to know (we all know who had a coat of many colors and why to beware of Greeks bearing gifts), and they’ll learn these gems cuddled next to me on the sofa reading well loved books, good books, books that have stood the test of time.

Of course there is no way we could possible read all the good books ‘out there’ any year or on any given topic.  I desire to wet their appetites, to present them a buffet, to show them the stack and stack and stacks of books they can spend the rest of their live nibbling away at.  I’ll choose some and we’ll see how far we get.  Rabbit trails may lead us off in to lands unplanned.  As the years go by we’ll not totally move past this list since we do have Little Brother coming up 23 month behind Big. I plan to keep the boys on “the same era” in history (Ancient, Medieval, ____) and I plan to work on US History and civics every year.  Nevertheless as Little Brother ages and is himself in First Grade we’ll have a chance to reach, again, into these lists and pull out something different.  Many of these good are timeless, as good for a 7th grader to read (or hear) as a 1st grader, and so many I am excited to read, or reread as an adult.  There is a natural progression in reading, and being read to, that is certainly not limited by dates on a calendar (be it school year, or birthday).  You’ll note many of the books that show up on a search of ‘first grade reading list’ that many of the books also appear of either a ‘pre-school’ search or a second grade search (or both). Reading, literature (especially read-a-loud books) are very fluid things.

I love searching and reading ‘reading lists’.  There are so many great books that I have never heard of, find, read and then wonder how I lived without it.  Looking back at Children’s Literate from 50 years ago, 100 years, or even more; opens a door to an amazing wonderland I have never visited before, and I am excited to drag my children though.  I am constantly assured by the titles that repeat from list to list, and excited to find new ones.  It never ceases to amaze me how you can ask 20 different people for the 50 best read-a-louds and get 20 different lists; but that means there is always something for each parent to find to fit well with their own child unique needs and personality and interests.

This is a compilation of several reading listing I have gone over; and a few tossed in that I have seen following rabbit trails around Amazon.com.  This represents maybe not the best reading for the first grade year but the books I feel my boys will most enjoy and be most engaged in.

We will be doing Ancient History via Story of the Would Vol #1  for History for the year and that we’ll also give us many read-a-louds (it is a spine and actively guide with a good deal of suggested additional reading to flesh it out).  We’ll also be doing American History via maybe Truthquest History Guide: American History for Young Students Volume 1 as our Social Studies core.  I have chosen each of these spines (Trustqest is set up much like SOTW) because each has a 3 or 4 year cycle of different time periods laid out.  I am following the same over all “theme” I have in history and in Literature; that is focusing on people and personal lives more than events and dates.  Included in my reading list below, are many ‘additional reading’ for Story of the World also; most I have found recommended by other homeschool moms.

This list is still under construction, when I finish it I’ll post it like I did my Master List of Kindergarten Reading.  I make no claims that we’ll read all of them in the first grade year; though some of them we already have and / or have read; or will have read before First Grade is officially underway.  In fact I know we will NOT read them all; but that, after all, the point of a reading list to choose from as the topic suits and to leave them wanting more.

I’ll also be pulling titles from my many “books of books”.  This will help me most find books to supplement our topics and to provide us new and different readings for the different seasons and holidays.

Ones I have chosen, so far from the lists below.  List subject to change, and change and change.  Note they are not all chapter books, merely books I want to share with the boys and that are beyond their reading level.   Also note I have some more research to do, and will be updating this post; I have not been though all I want to go though yet.

—-Work in Progress —-

Some of the rest of the list(s) complied: in alphabetical order with duplicates removed (for my efforts to compile a list for Pre-K and Kindy see here; many of the books are repeats actually, not my doing, all the reading listing I am drawing from):

The reading lists I drew from:

An Old Fashion Educations (an amazing resource)

Amberside first grade reading list in 36 weeks segments

Tanglewood First Grade reading list by subject

100 Great Books http://www.classical-homeschooling.org/celoop/1000-primary.html#1-3

beautiful feet

SonLighht  http://www.sonlight.com/homeschool-curriculum.html?core=A&tab=m and http://www.sonlight.com/homeschool-curriculum.html?core=B&tab=m


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a first

Today marks a first in our home.  Today we finished our first chapter book read-a-loud.
We read daily, of course, and read and read and read daily.  Nevertheless we generally read “one sitting books”; usually 3 or 4 at a time actually.  But the boys have never done chapter books really well.  To be fully honest, Little Brother did not, till the last year, allow me to read more than 3 to 5 minutes at a time, and was not at all interested in sitting for stories and reading time. 
In the past 6 months or so Little Brother has demonstrated a growing maturity and our reading time has stretched back to the 45 minutes or more at a sitting that was routine before Little’s brother hit about 16 months and began to voice (and act out) his lack of interest in story time (he’d not even agree to play while I read to Big Brother for a long time Little Brother felt it necessary actively interrupt rather than just ignore or refuse to participate).
Recently I decided to try a chapter book, it has been about 6 months since the last time I attempted one with the boys.  I chose My Father’s Dragon after seeing so many other homeschooling moms with BOYS suggest it as a “not to be missed” read-a-loud  (gotta love home school message boards).   
The book, and the experience, was a resounding success. The book is 77 pages long and broken into 10 chapters; most days we read 2 chapters.  today we finished the BOOK.  Each chapter follows the same formula thus making it easier for the boys to follow the story.  There is a small illustration on most of the pages, but it is not a picture book.  The illustrations are simple and pen and ink; and while the boys really wanted to look at them, and study the map at the back, the story held their attention without the art. 
I am so excited!!  Next we’ll be reading the sequel: Elmer and the DragonBig Brother asked for instantly at the conclusion of My Father’s Dragon. 
After that, I am so excited to be able to finally dig into the shelf of read-a-louds I have been collecting.  Keeping the books fairly short and simple I am thinking of progressing on to:
The Cricket in Times Square (Chester Cricket and His Friends) 
Mr. Popper’s Penguins 
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle 
The School Mouse 


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I am excited about my new to me books:  How would Jesus raise a Child and Great Lives: American Government.  I love paperbackswap!! 

Boys dyed eggs at classroom today.  I am getting all excited for our East Egg hunt here at the house on Sunday.  (link to blog about Easter egg filling).  Little Brother had to then eat his two eggs, and for the first time ever he insisted on peeling his own egg.  I was a little worried about it, but he managed it with minimal mess.

Yes that is a size 6 shirt out of Big’s closet, not even gonna fight that one. 

You can’t ask him to smile any more without getting THIS lovely face as he yells CHEESE!!  So glad he learned that, and can’t wait till he is tired of it and I can get some good photos again. 

The boys are maturing into long more complex readings; at least Big Brother is, Little still struggles but is easier to placate.  We’ve yet to read a real chapter book (even Pooh though I am chomping at the bit to try that one again any day) but today we read Saint George and the Dragon.  Knights and Dragons are all the rage here.  The art / illustrations are amazing.   One Amazon.com reviewer was outraged by ‘undressed fairies’ – I’ll be honest I am going to have to go back and look.  Both my boys were totally into the dragons (scary but not over the top) and the shield and sword.  Some blood, but not really gory, I am quite strict and engaged regarding what my boys see (screen or print) and I was ok with it.  Quickly Big Brother made the connection to the short St George story in one of our story-collection-books; that short is one he requests over and over and over.  He immediately recognized this book as the same story even though today’s books is much more complex and elaborate and we’ll done; it is a simplification of the full text, yes, but it is not dumbed down; the plot and language are well done and worth of ‘literature’ vs a children’s short story.

One final thought – it is really pointless to try to tell two little boys (3.5 and 5.5) NOT to put bubbles on the dog’s head; when the dog is practically jumping in the tubbie with them.  Molly had to be removed, despite vocal protests of all three, because Momma did NOT want to try to clean up THAT mess. 



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Thanks to paperbackswap.com the boys got, this past week, The Children’s Book of Hero’s.  Big Brother loves it.  He sat down and looked at all the pictures and has chosen a different story each day, and paid attention.  (Character Dev)

Got a couple of new books today, fitting our theme of making our reading time a bit more meaningful (gotta love that 4 for the price of 3 deal on amazon.com).


Some photos from today:

Chores are more of a challenge if the puppy doesn’t like to give the broom to you. 

Told you are boys work, Big is picking rocks the snow plow pushed off the gravel drive to earn money (we all work on this).

Little Brother is trying really hard to petal forwards and not backwards on the trike.  Big was successful on the trike the first time he got one it at 25 months, but Little still really can’t move forward. 


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Crocdiles need kisses TOO

The boys each attend preschool classroom a few hours a week for their IEP services; so they each have a “classroom” of their own.  Since the school does a Scholastic order each month, we have assess to that.  I love it, talk about a slow allotment of crack for an addict – a book order once a month.  LOL

Each classroom had an identification number for use on orders, and each classroom gets credit for their orders and thus the classroom gets free stuff 9mostly books) that they teacher can choose.  So I order 2 books each month, one from the ‘account” of each room; feed my addiction and enable others too.

I recently got the book Crocodiles Need Kisses too.  Oh MY the boys LOVE it.  Even Little Brother who rarely listens to an entire book ONCE asks for it over and over and over again. 

Makes Momma so very happy when I stumble on a book they really like. 

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Recent quotes from Big Brother (just 5 in Nov)

  • “You are right a lot of the time momma, but not all the time like me”
  • “It is hard to be 5 but it is easy to be a gown up”
  • “I just do not know who I am going to marry momma, and I just need to know”

Art done by Little Brother today at classroom:

I have been, for a time, reading about Children’s Literature and especially looking at different collections and list of “good” Children’s Literature and also Children’s Literature that people suggest as Must Reads.  Obviously I make my own choices, my standards and expectations are high.  Some stand as an example of another time, if not as anything else.  I have been complying my own list; Master List, of these recommendations (and of course removing the duplicates and keeping it in alphabetical order).  I feel a lot of the older books and stories have a great deal to offer; the ones that make the classics lists and the ones that don’t.  The language is almost alvays rich, the art a glimpse at a different time, the topics and presentation softer and less, what is to me, worldly (like the Nightly News).  The stories or books may not be outstanding or extra special, nevertheless they may still be solid, wholesome and edifying to read.  I have this book and it rocks:  One Hundred Years of Children’s Books in America: Decade by Decade.  I have had a great time going reading this book and pouring over the books compilations.  I am, after all, a bibliophile with a fanatical addiction, yes I love reading ABOUT books as much as reading the books themselves.  It is a look at the different trends in Children’s Literature in different “times periods” the reflections of the time found in the Literature and the changes in the genre.  Each chapter ends with a list of notable books from that decade and a summary of the works and why they are being chosen as representative of that time or why they are noteworthy.  At the end of the book is a year by year list of Newberry and Caldecott Award winners and runners up or honor books.  The end of the book also offers a Appendix of the books discussed broken down by age group (preschool to Young Adult.  Well over 500 books are discussed (only 26 for the first two decades of the 1900 however).  I found much rich food for thought and several new additions to the Master List for reading to the boys.  I don’t acct the suggestions at face value, some are just, in my estimation not all that impressive (Martha Speaks by Meddeugh for example) or are subjects we feel are not at all appropriate for younger children (Daddy’s Roommate by willaite) and others are just not books I want to read with our boys (The Dead Bird by Margret wise Brown for example).  49 of the titles discussed / recommended as representative or valuable to read we already have; and a few past that I think I must have in my boxes of children’s book from my youth (for existence The Little Prince, I know I had that).  In total I added 22 “young adult” novels to my personal ‘want to read’ list (books I have never read); 4 commentaries on children’s literature or education have been added to my reading list; and finally 48 books have been added to my ‘to read to the boys’ list. 

To read more about the Caldecott Medal:

to read more about the Newberry Award:

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