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What age were your children when you introduced them to Narnia?


alisoncooks
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We read the The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when my oldest was 8. My 6 yo also listened and enjoyed, but the youngers did not pay much attention. My 8yo then read the rest of the series on her own, and the series is now an old favorite for both of them (currently 10 and 8).

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It might not matter. I think it has more to do with interest. If your 7 year old is interested--read them, or one of them. 

 

No harm will come if you read it to them, or they read it on their own, or both. Or even if you didn't read it at all.

 

I didn't read Narnia until I was in college and my roommate was scandalized I didn't grow up reading them. 

 

I've read Lion, Witch, Wardrobe to my oldest (maybe he was 8-9?) But he wasn't that interested. However he has read LOTR on his own. Just give it a try and let them decide if they are into it or not.

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My oldest read it when she was 7 or 8. I just finished reading "The Magician's Nephew" and "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" aloud to my oldest two. (Actually all of my kids were there, but my almost 6 year old didn't pay attention. He has trouble listening to read-alouds.)

 

Narnia can be visited more than once, just like all great literature. They don't have to understand all of it the first time around.

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Having said that, I personally did not read them until about five years ago.

Yes, I am a Christian with a degree in English Literature and I did not read the Chronicles until I was well into my 30's. I did not make that mistake with my children! I was determined to share them with my children when they were young enough to appreciate the magical quality of the books.

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DD (9.5) just read Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe. She liked it okay but doesn't seem to be drawn into the world so I'm not sure if she'll read the others. I was obsessed with them when I was her age so long ago! We're not Christian, and I was an adult before I realized it had anything to do with Christianity.

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My kids were around 9 & 7, both enjoyed them. DD is 15 and re-reading them on her own now. DH and I really enjoyed them when I read to the kids--we would often look up at each other as a particularly poignant analogy was made that the kids wouldn't get at all but we found very meaningful!

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Thanks for all the feedback.  

I'm not so much worried that they won't get the deeper symbolisms or anything... just that they won't be interested.  :scared: 
(I did so love the series when I was younger and I've read them several times through...)

 

I think we'll give it a go soon.  

Now to decide if we should do The Hobbit before or after...

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I think it was 7 and 8, or maybe 8 and 9. 

 

They didn't really get into it. We kept going with the series for awhile but they disliked the series the more we read. 

 

So you never know. These are the boys who fell in love with, "The Five Little Peppers" and "The Wheel on the School". Eldest for a time loved books about Freddy the detective pig. Youngest so loved the Little House series that he ended up taking voilin lessons for a time. 

 

I personally have found it best not to hold my hopes up for my boys really liking a certain book. 

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6 and 8 for LWATW.  My youngest wasn't quite ready.  She was overly worried about whether the kids would get back home.  We will continue on in a month or so with next book as a read aloud.  Then I'll probably just let 8 year old read on his own.

 

 

Don't forget to buy some Turkish delight candy.  We ordered from amazon, but have since seen it at our grocery store.

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We read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe last month, and my daughters (ages 7 and 4.5) asked for the next book as soon as we finished.  My oldest son (also 4.5) followed the story, but didn't love it.  I'm not surprised - he tends to be more interested in listening to non-fiction books about animals.

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Just wondering...  

The Narnia books are on my "I CAN'T WAIT!" list but I'm afraid to read it too soon for them to enjoy and understand the series.

 

How old were your children when they first listened to the series?

 

Enjoying and understanding the Narnia books are two entirely different things. My kids have all been 5-6 yo when they're ready to enjoy the Narnia books. At that age, they understand the plot, but they don't really understand the books in the way Lewis meant for them to be understood, and that's okay. I always assume they'll be reading them again and again, understanding them on a deeper level each time. As an adult, I'm still understanding something new about them every time I read them. 

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Enjoying and understanding the Narnia books are two entirely different things. My kids have all been 5-6 yo when they're ready to enjoy the Narnia books. At that age, they understand the plot, but they don't really understand the books in the way Lewis meant for them to be understood, and that's okay. I always assume they'll be reading them again and again, understanding them on a deeper level each time. As an adult, I'm still understanding something new about them every time I read them. 

 

Yes, and it is entirely possible that a child who enjoyed and loved Narnia very much as a young kid develops a strong dislike for the books when he is older and understands the religious message.

 

I am glad I introduced mine to Narnia when they could enjoy the story without full understanding, analyzing, and criticism of the messages he sends.

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I was 10 when I first exposed to it (our Latin teacher used it as a bribe for us to do well during the week.  If no one get anything less than a C in class, he would spend our Saturday lesson reading to us from the Narnia books.  This was in grades 5 through 7).  My sons read all read it between the ages of 10 to 12, my daughter (10) has zero interest.  I have re-read it many times since then and it is still one of my favorite series.

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For us it was the first read-aloud chapter book we did and DS was 4.5. We finished the series in about six months. I was surprised at how much he got it and even told me that Aslan was God and understood that symbology without me saying anything about it and without us being religious. It just depends on the child. I'm sure he'd get it even more now.. But it was a good start to read alouds for us.

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We just started now, and all my kids had birthdays this month, so the oldest two are 7 and 5. We started with Lion-Wardrobe, and Aslan's death was upsetting to my sensitive 7yo; but his resurrection made everything better. And we read that part on the Saturday right between Good Friday and Easter. Perfect timing! I was worried that it was too early for them to enjoy it, but the chapter lengths are good for their age and comparable to other read-alouds we've been doing; and the chapters usually end in an exciting moment. As the others said, I don't expect them to understand it all; but I do want them to enjoy it!

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dd6 has heard the whole series and watched all the movies.  I think she was 4 when she was introduced to them.  For her it is a lovely story, for the olders we went into deeper discussions etc.  We used audio books in the car to listen to the whole series in succession

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I read it to DD and DS1 when they were 7 and 4. I'm sure DS1 doesn't remember tons of it, but DD loved it, and she has reread parts of the books to herself again.

 

I am about to start another reading of the Narnia books; this time the children are 12, 9, 5.5, and almost 3 (plus an almost-1yo). The almost 3yo may or may not get much out of them, but he'll love it because the big kids love it. The 9 and 5.5 yos will love it, I'm sure, because on the surface, the stories are just fun, great adventures. 12yo DD will enjoy visiting old friends again, but we'll be stepping it up by discussing more of the allusions and hidden meanings and such, the stuff that really enriches the story.

 

My 5yo is into superheroes; Batman, Captain America, etc. are favorite friends of his. He's also familiar with, through the movies, Aragorn and Gandalf. So why not introduce him to Aslan and thus The Greatest Hero ever? We might have to explain things to him a bit, but I think he will love Narnia!

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I read them as a kid…loved them…and re-read them as an adult.  Of course, I got a lot more out of it as an adult, especially as my knowledge of Christianity, etc. was greater.  Still, I don't regret reading them as a kid.

 

DS1 started to read them this year. He's 10.  I think it's a good age.

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Birth? My 3yo thinks toy swords are for raising in the air and shouting, "For Narnia!!" *shrug*

 

For the stories read aloud? When they'll sit through a chapter book of that level willingly.

 

To be immersed in Narnia? Never too young. :)

 

(FWIW, that 3yo has teenage siblings and also knows what hobbits, dwarves, and elves are.)

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Great -- loving all this early exposure! :D

My girls are good at listening to longer novels, though the 5 yr old tends to wander off if it doesn't especially interest her.  
We just finished (and quite enjoyed) The Cricket in Times Square -- which was a quick, easy read -- and were about to start The Dragon of Lonely Island (oldest DD's request) but I'm not feeling it.  I was looking for something GOOOOOD to read... and I think TLTW&TW might just be it!

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My oldest was 7 when my DH bought him his first one. He did explain the Biblical allegory behind the series to him. My ds did read it himself. He read the rest of the series at age 8.

 

He is now 10 and so I asked him if he understood our explanation of the allegory at 7, and he says that he did. He also remembers buying the Voyage of the Dawn Treader as his first Narnia book at a Christian book store. He loves them and has re-read them many times. He has never seen any of the movies.

 

His younger siblings haven't read them or heard them yet.

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Birth? My 3yo thinks toy swords are for raising in the air and shouting, "For Narnia!!" *shrug*

 

For the stories read aloud? When they'll sit through a chapter book of that level willingly.

 

To be immersed in Narnia? Never too young. :)

 

(FWIW, that 3yo has teenage siblings and also knows what hobbits, dwarves, and elves are.)

 

Hahahaha, I *totally* understand! I take my two little guys (the baby and the 2yo) upstairs to my bed to snuggle (and nurse, for the baby) until they fall asleep. I enjoy having that time just to love on them, especially my 2yo, because I worry about him being easily overlooked, since he's a quiet boy sandwiched between a couple of extroverts. So a couple of weeks ago, I said, "DS3, it's time for you, DS4, and Mommy to go to. . . " I expected him to say "bed," but without a beat, he answered, "Mordor!"

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I struggled through the pre k stage, but read alouds were my fave. I read all the Narnia books to my son when he was 5. (It was more for me than him). BUT, He enjoyed them!!! He begged me to keep reading. Now, we're reading them again, and he's understanding more.

 

If the child is enjoying them, go for it! The Horse and His Boy was the only book my DS didn't particularly like, but he was happy to let me read while he played army men. ;)

 

Stella

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My kids were 4, 6, and 7. They enjoyed 'The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe' and I was going to leave it with just that one until they were older, but I found my then 4yo hiding in his bed in the middle of the night trying to wade his way through 'The Magicians Nephew' so I told him we could read it as our read aloud if he wanted. He really wanted to hear the story and his reading wasn't quite good enough to really enjoy it trying to read it himself, but he was determined to get the story one way or another.

 

Some kids enjoy it young, some seem to want it later. If your kids aren't getting into it after a few chapters, just set it down and wait till later.

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Yes, and it is entirely possible that a child who enjoyed and loved Narnia very much as a young kid develops a strong dislike for the books when he is older and understands the religious message.

 

I am glad I introduced mine to Narnia when they could enjoy the story without full understanding, analyzing, and criticism of the messages he sends.

 

I agree! My DS7 read ALL the Narnia books this year. After that we did "The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe" as a read  aloud for DS7 and DS5. However before that DS7 had heard "The Hobbit" as a read aloud and read it independently. The Narnia book's were relatively low on our reading list.

 

I didn't read the Narnia books until my teen years. I agree with the Inklings, they are a horrible muddle. If you want well written allegory, read Lawhead's Arthurian books.

 

 

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Which book first for them? What order do you have them read the books? We have the set. To me it makes more sense to read them in chronological order, but...

 

Yeah... we have the boxed set from my wife's childhood. "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" is first. I understand Lewis and his Estate wanted "The Magician's Nephew" first...<shrug>. I think the publisher got it right originally in this situation. I would ignore the newly released editions and start with the second book which is more engaging.

 

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We have the radio drama version of the series on CD, and Squirrelboy first listened to them when he was 7. He loved all of them except The Last Battle. I don't blame him. I still don't really like that one. We've since done some as readalouds. He has the audio series on his mp3 player, and has listened to all the books (except The Last Battle) countless times. He's still not quite able to read books at that level comfortably.

 

I made sure that The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe was the first one he heard. I'm big on first Narnia exposure being in "publication order," not "chronological order." I don't really care what Lewis and his estate wanted. I think it makes more sense that way. I studied some of the books in a children's lit class in college and the professor was also big on the books being read in publication order. She said something along the lines of, "The Magician's Nephew makes much more sense if you already have a picture of Narnia in your mind." Plus, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has so much more adventure. If you're going to get a kid excited about a series, it's the better on to start with, I think.

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My kids were probably between 2 and 6 the first time they heard it. I've read all the books to them at least twice, and since then they have listened to the audio books numerous times and seen the movies (they also enjoyed the 1979 cartoon movie of LWW and were interested in comparing it with the 2005 version). 

 

I don't consider the Narnia series essential reading, although I enjoyed it immensely as a kid.

 

Why not just try a few chapters with your 5yo and 7yo and see how it goes? They might love it and demand the rest.  If they are totally uninterested, put it away for a year or two. They're not exactly going to be traumatized.

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DS read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe when he was 8. He liked it, read the second book, then stopped. It didn't interest him anymore. He liked the first book best, but didn't love it.

 

I read The Lion.. when I was an adult and I found it a bit forced and preachy.. It left a bad taste in my mouth, and I am a Christian.

 

DH, who is also a Christian, didn't like them as a kid and didn't care to read again or watch the movies.

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We will read them this way (which is about how we read them the first time):

Lion, Witch, Wardrobe first

Horse and His Boy

Prince Caspian (might switch PC and HHB)

Magician's Nephew

Dawn Treader, since it introduces a new main character, who is in SC as well.

Silver Chair

Last Battle

 

(DD says we don't need to read Last Battle, LOL -- because it's sad to her.)

 

DD also says that if we really wanted to be chronologically correct, it would look like this:

Magician's Nephew

Wardrobe, except for the last few pages

Horse and His Boy,

then the last few pages of Wardrobe

Prince Caspian

Dawn Treader

Silver Chair

Last Battle

 

I think that ruins the action at the end of Wardrobe, though, and I don't want to read MN first, because I feel that it's a separate story and meant to be a prequel and not the first chapter of the series -- it's its own story and doesn't set up the action for Wardrobe, if that makes sense.

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I wrote about our adventures with Narnia here.  My oldest was 6 at the time but she still recalls significant chunks and incidences from the books.  That's not to say I won't be rereading it aloud when my youngest gets a bit older.  

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