" Possibly the greatest role a book can play in the lives of young readers is o assure them that they aren't alone."

~  Richard Peck

You are absolutely correct, Richard.  I can attest that books, when I was younger especially, were my friends.  I didn't' feel alone in the world with a good book in my hands, no matter what the outer environment was - whether I was home alone, home with people I'd rather not be with at the time, or at school surrounded by bullies and people who put on airs like they were better than anyone else (now that I'm older I realize those were most likely their own protective shields since they didn't know how to escape in books!)

Little Women, I recall, captivated me in 5th grade.  Inside that book I had friends - The March family understood strife-  and they taught me to continue looking for the beauty in the world around me as strife surrounded myself and them.  Of course, our challenges were different- but it was an association that young minds (and adults) can make.

Living Books (there's that Charlotte Mason term!) provide this to children - characters and concepts they can identify with.  Surround  your child with books of good quality and amazing characters.  It may be one of the best things you do for them.

As a side note, Richard Peck is a well known author of young adult literature including the Newberry Medal for A Year Down Yonder.  Other popular titles include A Long Way From Chicago, The River Between Us and Are You in the House Alone?

Random Thoughts On a Saturday:

  • Sugar should not be a staple ingredient.
  • Vegetables should be.
  • The Red Badge of Courage is not one of those books that pull the reader in and assure the reader that he or she is not alone..... good book....yes, it's a classic... but did not pull me in at all. (more on that later this week)
  • Little boys look adorable when they put their own pants on....backwards.
  • "A Writer who isn't 'serious' isn't a writer at all."  ~ E.B. White
  • I've been going through some of my blogs stats - It seems these are the top most read posts - here are the links if you are interested and haven't read them yet:  Those People Who Always Make You Smile (I really should follow this one up),  Russian Christmas Customs, and Our Food Story.
  • I have 98 followers!!  It's exciting to see the numbers grow.  I would never have imagined this in the beginning 🙂


I just bought this book a few weeks ago from Amazon. Some may be think I'm jumping into this too quickly if you know my boy is only 3!  He will be 4 in a few months and I don't think I am.  The signs are there.  He's ready to learn.

***  If you are not familiar with signs of reading readiness - here are a few blog and websites I found on the subject:   Chocolate on My CraniumCalvert Education, and Growing Home.

My son actually started to show these signs some time ago....  always wanting to be read to, flipping the pages of the book in the correct order, picking up on the letters of the alphabet rather quickly, and actually recognizing words in books we read over and over to the extent of recognizing them outside of the original source.  His first recognized word was STOP in the book Go, Dog, Go....  which he quickly transferred to recognizing STOP signs when out and about without any direction from us!

I had no intentions to teach him to read at this young age.  But he has started on his own and I'm a firm believer if a child WANTS to learn something, he should be given the opportunity.  Now he's only 3.  I KNOW his 'desire' COULD change.  And if it does, I'm NOT pushing it.... but while it remains, I'm going to do what I can to encourage it.  So what to do?

I've heard about this book from various homeschool sources through the years.  And while we've been using some basic workbooks bought from the local stores for Preschool Activities and some I had stashed from garage sales, I felt I should be looking for something with a little more structure.  So when a friend from church mentioned that this is what her son's teacher was using in a life skills class, I thought....why not check it out?

I have to say, thus far I am deeply impressed.  I've read the Introduction and Parent's Guide in the book and we have conducted 7 lessons so far.  As a former teacher in the public schools, I am impressed with the logic of the program and can really relate to the reasons the author, Siegfried Engelmann, gives for the reasons the usual approaches to teaching reading in the public schools do not work. I'm really wishing I had had this book in hand years ago when I taught in learning support classrooms.

So far my son is really catching onto the methods fast and seems to enjoy them.  There are days he's not into it...that's ok.  He's 3.  We are not in any rush here.  We just don't do it those days.  But when he's into it, the lessons are quick and easy.  The book recommends a lesson should take between 12-20 minutes.  Most only do one lesson a day but it does state for older children 2 a day is not unheard of but recommends highly that they be done during two separate time periods of the day - NOT together.

I think I will blog more about this as time goes on.  I'll let  you know more about the program and the thought process behind it as well as the progress we make.  If you have used this program, I'd love to hear how you made out with it and what your thoughts are.  If you have questions, I hope I'll be able to answer as our adventure continues!