Abundant Frugal Life

Finding Deals, Spending Less, Being Content

Archive for the ‘LITERATURE’ Category


Talking About a Book With Your 5th-8th Grader

Posted by Lisa

I can’t read every book each of my children read, and I came across this little helpful list on Susan Wise Bauer’s website a long time ago. I’m using it and thought someone might like it. It’s also helpful with book clubs, written summaries, etc.

For a novel
Who is the book about? (central character[s])
What do the central characters want?
What keeps them/him/her from getting it?
How do they get what they want?
Do they have an enemy or enemies? Is there a villain?
What does the villain want?
What do you think is the most important event in the story?
What leads up to this event?
How are the characters different after this event?
Pick out the most important event in each chapter.
How many different stories does the writer tell?

For a biography
What kind of family did the subject come from?
What were his/her parents like?
Where did he go to school?
What did he want the most as a child? As a grownup?
How did he go about getting it?
Name three or four important people in his life.
Did he/she get married? To whom? When?
Did they have children?
What was the most important event in his life?
Name three other important events in his life.
Did he get what he wanted in life? Why or why not?
Why do we still remember this person?

For evaluation
What was the most exciting part of the book?
What was the most boring part of the book?
Did you like the character(s)? Why or why not?
Did you hope that he/she would get what he/she wanted?
Did any part of the book seem particularly real?
Did any part of the book seem unlikely to you?
Did you hope it would end in another way? How?
Would you read this book again?
Which one of your friends would enjoy this book?


Reading to Your Children – Books to Get You Started

Posted by Lisa

Under 5
Read picture books
Ages 5 & up
Trumpet of the Swan, E.B. White
Little House on the Praire, (and others by) Laura Ingalls Wilder
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, Betty MacDonald
Ages 6 & up
The Story of Doctor Dolittle, Hugh Lofting
Treasures in the Snow, Patricia St. John
Pippi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren
Cheaper by the Dozen, Gilbreth
Ages 7 & up
Little Lord Fauntleroy, (and others by) Frances Hodgson Burnett
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, Margaret Sidney
The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
Ages 8 & up
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Graham
Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis
Call of the Wild, Jack London
White Fang, Jack London
Just David, (and others by) Eleanor H. Porter
Ages 9 & up
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
Oliver Twist (and others by) Charles Dickens
The Cricket in Times Square, George Selden
Treasure Island, (and others by) Robert Louis Stevenson
Swill Family Robinson, Johann David Wyss
High School-Adult
Pride and Prejudice, (and others by) Jane Austen
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
The House of Seven Gables, (and others by) Nathaniel Hawthorne
Moby Dick, Herman Melville


Ideas to Encourage a Love of Reading

Posted by Lisa

This is primarily the parents’ responsibility.

1. Make library day a big deal. Your enthusiasm can be contagious. Get your children their own library cards and give them each a book bag for library books only. Teach them how to use the resources at the library. If you don’t know how to use the resources, ask for a “tour”.

2. Create a family reading time after dinner for 30 minutes. Let them pick their own reading material from a list you’ve already approved. You could also let them roam the library and find their own treasures. Make sure you overlook and find nothing objectionable.

3. Direct your children to good literature. Develop a book list based on their own interests.

4. For some children, TV, computer and video games are more tasteful. Think of those things as candy. Yes, we’d rather eat candy, but our minds must feast on healthy food and we should choose to limit the junk food. Let your children develop a taste for literature. Perhaps start with magazines which interest them. Books on tape are good and can occupy more than one child at a time. If developing a taste for literature is new in your home, be careful not to push your children past their own comfortable reading levels.

5. Read to your children. Read, read, read, read, read. Read to your readers every day. When you read, do it expressively. Vary the books you choose – fiction, history, nature, biographies. Make a routine of reading. If the children don’t seem interested in the book, put it down and grab another. There are so many life-long skills developed when children of all ages are read to. They learn to listen, their appetites for good literature develop, there is family togetherness, vocabulary is learned. Discussions with your children about different characters and plots are a rich reward for the entire family.

What do you do?


Living Books vs. Twaddle

Posted by Lisa

Strive for your children to be well-read, not widely read.

According to Sally Clarkson, a LIVING BOOK is the literary expression of insights and ideas in a single work, by a single author, who knows and loves the subject about which he writes.  It is a living book because the author touches the heart of the reader – the emotions and feelings.

TWADDLE comes in many forms.  It’s best to show them as examples.

Commercial books – cartoon & media character books that are thinly veiled advertisements for tie-in products, publications and production.  Some examples may be Sesame Street, Barney, Blue’s Clues.  Don’t be fooled by the word “educational”.  That word doesn’t make the books any less twaddly.

Abridged classics – tend to give you only the bare bones of the story and leave out the literary beauty (which makes it a literary classic to begin with).  Textual abridgments are dumbed down stories – language and concepts – for easy reading.  Condensed abridgments leave out the “non-essential” content (more acceptable, but not desirable).

Formula fiction/mass market fiction – such as romance themes, violent action/adventure.  Many times these books promote bad values.  The tastes and appetites they create are enduring and difficult to satiate.  Not needed for young, impressionable minds.

Text books – are dry and factual.  They are non-literary expression of collected facts and information, impersonal in tone and feel.  Facts can be presented without creativity in a way that deadens the imagination.  Usually written by unknown various authors or contributors.