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Abridged versions?


golfcartmama
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What do you all think of using abridged versions of the classics? I have many of the full unabridged versions of the classics like Treasure Island, Huck Finn, etc.

 

Should I get an abridged version for DS (7.5) to read alone or just do them as read alouds and use the full version? What do you all do? (I'm resisting using ya'll here since not everyone is in the south! :001_smile:)

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Some people don't like abridged versions. I believe that to be a very short-sighted point of view at best.

 

In my experience, if a child reads an abridged version and likes the story - that child will later pick up the original and read it with joy and enthusiasm. But with many classics, children get bogged down in the unfamiliar language and simply cannot enjoy the story, which is why the author wrote in the first place. We tend to make reading classic literature into such a chore, yet the authors intended their work be enjoyed by the audience, not used to torture them.:tongue_smilie:

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I read my son his first abridged classic at 4. It was Tom Sawyer. The next day I had to read him Swiss Family Robinson. Then I had to run out and buy more. I believe that he read through most of the abridged classics by the time he was in second grade. They sparked his love of reading and he is now reading at 11th grade level while in the 5th grade. I am getting ready to buy him all of the unabridged versions to read. I would not do this any of other way. =D

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MY biggest concern with the abridged is when they actually CHANGE the story, dumb it down TOO Much.

 

For example-- Swiss Family Robinson. In the unabridged copy I have, God, faith, lots of details about survival on the island. There's no romance for the children at all. BUT-- we have an abridged copy it has no mention of faith, God, or most of the details, and suddenly there's girls on the island. (YMMV)

 

So-- when it changes the story completely-- THAT"S when I have a major problem with it.

 

But, for young readers, I don't have a problem... when they get to be good readers, I want them to read the unabridged (either reading themselves, or as a read-aloud by me)

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Guest Dulcimeramy
Some people don't like abridged versions. I believe that to be a very short-sighted point of view at best.

 

In my experience, if a child reads an abridged version and likes the story - that child will later pick up the original and read it with joy and enthusiasm. But with many classics, children get bogged down in the unfamiliar language and simply cannot enjoy the story, which is why the author wrote in the first place. We tend to make reading classic literature into such a chore, yet the authors intended their work be enjoyed by the audience, not used to torture them.:tongue_smilie:

 

In my experience, if a child waits until he can read the unabridged version he takes more delight in the story because he's hearing the plot for the first time!

 

The authors of these children's classics didn't intend for them to be difficult. They intended for them to be read (or heard) by well-educated children. I've found that well-educated children of today can enjoy the books just as much as their original audience did.

 

My children each picked up an abridged book or two at the library when they were younger and I didn't mind if they read those, but I wouldn't buy abridged books or use them for lessons.

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But with many classics, children get bogged down in the unfamiliar language and simply cannot enjoy the story, which is why the author wrote in the first place.
But that's why I start reading classic children's literature early with my kids. From the Lang Fairy books, to E. Nesbit, to Robert Louis Stevenson. You can progress using unabridged works and unadapted works and achieve the same end, without robbing the child of that first opportunity to experience a classic work for the first time in its totality.

 

We do make exceptions for works up to and including Don Quixote.

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I like originals.

 

We read some difficult works this year to my 1st, 4th, and 6th grade daughters. I was so surprised at how well they understood them. Some were read alouds and others were ind. reading. They got used to the language quickly. The 1st grader had no problem keeping up either.

 

After reading some info on Ambleside, I am convinced originals are the way to go for us. They have a great reading list.

 

I am also sorry that I let my oldest read a few abridged versions a few years ago, and now I don't think she'll want to go back and read the originals.

Katie

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I prefer unabridged read-alouds for most works, and read-alouds are important, so if you already have the unabridged verison, I'd vote for read-aloud.

 

We do however have abridgments for Shakespeare and Dickens.

 

Heather

 

my son read an abridged version of Oliver Twist because he saw me enjoying the unabridged version so much. when i told him it would be too hard for him, he was so bummed, that I immediately set on a search for a good abridged version. He loved it.

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If your ds has been listening to you read all along, you might be surprised by how well he could handle some of the classics.

 

My 8yo dd won't read abridged books because she wants to read "the author's real words". When she set out to read Hans Brinker last year, I checked out an abridged version since I had heard that the full book was tedious. She completely rejected the abridged version, saying that it had baby language, silly pictures, and left out too many details. I don't know if she got 100% of what she read, but she loved the story, loved the language, and chooses the book to reread from occasionally.

 

Rather than choosing an abridged print version, I'd get a story on CD, and let my kids listen. You know your ds best though. If easy versions of the classics are what it takes to get him to love reading and see himself as a reader, then go for it. It obviously worked for several people on this board. Every child is different, and will respond to different methods.

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I don't see a problem with unabridged versions, especially if you have a very young reader who is reading at a high grade level, but not quite ready to tackle the very thick book.

 

DS has been reading abridged versions of some of the classics for about 6 months. He would be completely overwhelmed if I handed him a copy of The Odyssey - not because he couldn't read it, but because the volume of reading required to get through the book would completely overwhelm him.

 

By reading abridged versions, we are staying away from twaddle and he is experiencing some really neat stories.

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I don't see a problem with unabridged versions, especially if you have a very young reader who is reading at a high grade level, but not quite ready to tackle the very thick book.
But there are so many wonderful books out there both interest and age appropriate that there's no real need for abridged works, even for very advanced readers.

 

DS has been reading abridged versions of some of the classics for about 6 months. He would be completely overwhelmed if I handed him a copy of The Odyssey - not because he couldn't read it, but because the volume of reading required to get through the book would completely overwhelm him.
The majority of us in the anti-abridgement/retelling camp make exceptions for legends and epics, myths and folktales, the Bible and other religious works. These works are different because knowledge of them aids in the understanding themes/motifs and allusions in literature (including children's literature) and poetry. They are foundational.
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My dd read lots and lots of abridged, and like the others found it vaulted her nicely into reading the full versions. I wouldn't worry about it. Reading is reading. Keep the overall dynamic, the overall balance of what he reads, moving UP, but I wouldn't worry about twaddle or potato chip or less than ideal reading along the way, not if it stays in proportion. If abridged were ALL he was reading for a year, I'd be concerned. But if it's in conjunction with a good reading list (historical fiction, VP/WTM recommendations for his grade, etc.), it's NOT a problem.

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