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question about WTM reading list for 1850-present for 4th&1st

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Last year, DS9 read through the entire WTM reading list for 3rd grade, using recommended abridged texts (and using audiobooks for the poetry selections). A few of the stories he really enjoyed, so he listened to the unabridged versions on Audible. I think I only read one book from the list to him all year. 

This year, DS6 will be joining DS9 for literature. (I am keeping them together for history & lit.) I am trying to figure out a balance of *me* reading some titles out loud to them both (abridged or unabridged versions) and having DS9 read some titles on his own. DS6 is just learning to read, and DS9 is completely capable of reading many of the unabridged versions - he's a voracious reader for pleasure and reads well above grade level.

Has anyone been through this already? Would anyone have any advice? Are there some books on the WTM list for 4th grade that I should completely avoid in the unabridged versions, for whatever reason? Some that should *always* be read in the original? Should I just pick a handful off of the list and read them *all* out loud in the original?

Thanks for any help.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Are you meaning the modern 1850 - present list  in the grammar, reading, writing section?

 I would avoid the original of Kidnaped 

I assigned an abridged of pinocchio

 Some of my children did an abridged of War of the Worlds  and The Time Machine and some read the originals - they all enjoyed them

the original of the Jungle Book jumps around a fair bit - some of mine found that a little confusing

 we did an audio of The Wind Of the Willows 

I skipped Peter Pan 

I read Laura Ingalls Wilder as a read aloud

I read aloud some of the poems, we skipped the rest.



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forgot to add that Usborne Publishing  has some great abridged versions of some of the books that are easy to read for beginner readers  _ really helped my profound dyslexic son to read some of the great classics would be great for a younger reader who wants to be reading similar books as older sibling

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Honestly, this is one of the areas where I really disagree with Susan Wise Bauer.  I get what she's saying....give kids familiarity with classic texts when they're young and it won't be scarier when they're older/ ready for the original text.  But, the thing is, there's SO MUCH great literature out there that's actually age and developmentally appropriate for kids.  If they're reading abridged versions of War of the Worlds and Kidnapped when they're nine; they're not reading great children's books.  There simply isn't time for everything.  And my experience is that, with a few exceptions, when kids feel like they've done a book/ read it, especially if they weren't really ready for the book and it didn't speak to them at a soul level, they're not all that excited about reading the original when they ARE ready for it.  There are a few exceptions:  some of the ancient world stuff, like mythology and some really great versions of The Odyssey are really well done.  But most novels and stuff.....I would just replace the history aligned stuff with good kids books, some of which might align with the time period.  Or not.  I think developmentally appropriate and engaging is more appropriate than lining up with time period.  

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Good read aloud/audiobook for 1st grader:

  • A Child's Garden of Verses - get a nicely illustrated edition
  • Fairy tales.  Read Lang if you like his versions, otherwise look to your library's picture book selections for individual retellings of the tales.  For some, Cinderella, for example, read multiple versions.
  • Beatrix Potter - if possible get the tiny books rather than a compilation. 
  • Kipling's Just So Stories and Rikki-Tikki-Tavi
  • Poetry compilations

Some first graders will be ready for: 

  • Wind in the Willows - my children liked the audiobook version
  • Peter Pan
  • Farmer Boy and if he likes that book, Little House in the Big Woods 
  • The Jungle Book
  • Chronicles of Narnia - not in the list but a better option for 1st graders than those on the list, good audiobook versions are available
  • My Father's Dragon - again not on the list but a good first chapter book read aloud title

Really though, I agree with Terabith.  I would avoid the abridged versions of all the listed books.  Pre-read and assign alternate titles if you feel your 4th grader isn't ready for the unabridged version. For the 1st grader, there are so many great picture books and beginning chapter books written to appeal to children this age.  Read some of those, you might even find your 4th grader listening in.



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