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Has anyone used the "If You..." books?


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If You Lived In Colonial Times, If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620, etc? I was planning on using BF Early American History, but have decided to just buy some of the books and add some other stuff of my own (since the guide isn't great for grammar stage students according to a lot of posters). Are these good books to use as read alouds for K and 1st? Thanks!

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I just looked at our "If You..." book about the Constitution and I think my K student would do well with it. It looks like it's broken up by questions so I would read a Q & A or two then discuss.


ETA: I guess my opinion is out numbered! LOL! But I read aloud 2nd-5th grade chapter books to my big girl at night which is why I know she could handle an "If You.." book.

Edited by MissKNG
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My son is 5 and not officially starting K until the fall but they would never hold his interest and I don't think he'd get anything much out of them.


The ones I've used I'd consider more for 2-4th (and my daughter and I have even continued reading a few into 5th), but who knows, your K'er might be a bit older than mine and/or might have more of an interest/attention span/ability to retain this kind of thing than mine does.

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I agree they are better for older kids. I don' think they are engaging enough for the kindergarten to 1st grade crowd and they almost have too much information for that age. My 3rd and 4th/5th grade sons love them though and enjoy reading them on their own. Last week they read the one on slavery and this week the one on Martin Luther King Jr.

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We have 2 or 3 of them, and just this year (2nd grade) my son really enjoyed them. Last year I tried, and he just didn't stay interested very long, wanted to move along faster. I ended up getting some other picture books at the library. But at 7 he seemed to have the attention span and also the desire to really learn more about these events to last for the entire books. :) History is now his favorite subject. Last year, he really wasn't ready for it. YMMV


I feel like my DD (who just turned 5 last week) has a pretty good attention span and can sit for longer periods of time, but she still is not ready for these yet. She might be one who is ready in first grade, though.


I'd say they would be good for 2nd to maybe 5th grade or so...? Depending on the child, of course. :001_smile:



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I guess I can just buy one and see how it works and keep it for a couple of years if he isn't interested. He LOVES reading and we have already begun the Boxcar Children books (we finished the first one last night). He also can sit for hours looking at science books (about storms, planets, animals, etc). So much of HSing is individual to your child. That is one of the main reasons I am excited to HS!

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I like them. They've worked well for my K-2nd graders. I think they'd be just super for a bit older as well (maybe 3rd-5th), but by that age, my dc have been doing SL cores 3&4 with tons of fab Am. History stuff, so we didn't use the If You. . . books as much as I wanted to. This thread reminds me to get out the ones we have with my 2nd grader now before we hit SL3 next year and get too distracted to enjoy them!

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I loved those books when we were doing American history! I read them aloud to my 3rd grader and K'er usually one book over several days. My older girl would pick them up to read on her own for fun. I don't remember my K'er having any problems with them as a read aloud.

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I read aloud through many of these last year for K5 and my ds really liked them! I put them in sequential order as best I could and spent a few days on each one. I think this series is a great pick for that age, as long as you plan on reading them aloud.


That said, this year my little man is picking them up from time to time and reading them to himself. :thumbup:


Also... Liberty Kids, This is America Charlie Brown, and Drive Thru History are nice compliments to these books.


:001_smile: Melissa

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We plan on using the If You books this fall for K! You can get them 4-for-3 at Amazon. There are a few that we won't cover because of the subject matter (the details in If You Lived When there was Slavery, for example, would be too upsetting for ds). I plan on using them as a spine, reading a few pages/Q&As a day, doing a narration/illustration page here and there, and pulling in library books and projects. Here's an outline of our K history plan:


1. Native Americans

If You Lived with the Sioux (spine)

More than Moccasins (project book) by Laurie Carlson

4-5 plains tribe books by Paul Goble


2. Discoverers (no spine)

Leif the Lucky?

Christopher Columbus (Step into Reading)


3. Pilgrims

If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620

Mayflower: The Voyage of the Ship’s Apprentice and a Passenger Girl by Kate Waters


4. Thanksgiving

If You Were at the First Thanksgiving

The Wampanoags by Alice Flanagan

Squanto’s Journey by Joseph Bruchac

Giving Thanks: The 1621 Harvest Feast by Kate Waters


5. Colonies

If You Lived in Colonial Times

Colonial Kids (project book) by Laurie Carlson

Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy by Kate Waters

Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl by Kate Waters

Pocahontas (Step Into reading)


6. George Washington

If You Grew Up with George Washington

Colonial Kids by Laurie Carlson


7. Revolution

If You Lived at the Time of the American Revolution

Colonial Kids by Laurie Carlson

Joining the Boston Tea Party (Time-Traveling twins) by Stanley

Paul Revere’s Ride (step into)

Paul Revere’s Ride by Longfellow

Sam the Minute Man by Benchly

George Washington and the General’s Dog (Step into Reading)


8. Lewis & Clark

Seaman’s Journal on the Trail with Lewis and Clark (spine)

Westward Ho: An Activity Guide by Carlson

Lewis and Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President (Step Into)

Sacajawea (All Aboard reading) by Milton


9. Abe Lincoln (touch on Civil War/UG Railroad)

If You Grew Up with Abe Lincoln

Abe Lincoln’s Hat (Step Into)

The Drinking Gourd by Milton

Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter


10. Oregon Trail/traveling west

If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon

Westward Ho! (for projects)

Westward to Home: Joshua’s Oregon Trail Diary

Chang’s Paper Pony (Step Into)

Boom Town by Levitin

Buffalo Bill and the Pony Express (I Can Read)


11. Pioneers on the Prairie

If You were a Pioneer on the Prairie

Wagon Wheels by Brenner

Prairie School by Avi

Farmer Boy and /or Little House on the Prairie by Ingalls Wilder



We will NOT use every single thing on the schedule, but I wanted options. I only plan to buy the If You books 4-for-3 and the 3 Laurie Carlson project books (More than Moccasins, Colonial Kids, Westward Ho). Everything else will be from the library.


Hope this helps!

Edited by Classical Book Worm
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