Monday, November 16, 2009

The Cozy Corner

The first book we read aloud at the start of our school year was The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner.I admit, I was a bit skeptical at first. This book has 13 chapters, 154 pages, with only a few, small, black and white pictures in each chapter. Up until this point we had read only picture books, or short stories that didn't have pictures, but were quick to read. I didn't think either of the kids would like this book.

But since I bought the book, and the curriculum told me to read it to my kindergartner, then I felt I had no choice but to try. We started reading, and although Elijah balked at first, he really did start to enjoy the story of 3 homeless, orphaned children who live in an abandoned boxcar. They survive using some ingenious ideas to meet their daily needs and rely on each other to help make their life fulfilling.

What helped make this book age appropriate for my 5.5 year old is the simple language used. Written in 1942 (yes, Elijah, older than Grandpa!) the sentences are not complex, and made it easier for Elijah to follow along. There were very few words I had to define for him to understand what happened in each chapter. And as always, after we finished reading, I would ask him comprehension questions and was always surprised by how much he understood and retained. We even talked through some of the "why's" of the children's behavior.

Apparently this is a series, but I think we'll stop while we are ahead, and maybe read some more of the Boxcar Children this summer.

Verdict: read this to your kids and be prepared for them to play "Boxcar Children" for weeks to come.

6 comments:

Linda C said...

My students at school loved these books. I read one to them after noon recess and it kept them spellbound (I can't remember the name of the one we read). I would get to a suspenseful sentence and then end with " we'll find out tomorrow"...:) Anyway, I noticed that they then checked the Boxcar series books out to read for themselves then:)

I love to hear how homeschooling is going!:) Thanks for the updates!

Blessings,
Linda

Elizabeth said...

I LOVED that book! In my opinion though, the rest of the series wasn't as good.

Miscellaneous From Missy said...

I'm glad you talked about this one because I wonder, too, about the abilities of my children to comprehend. At least the extent of their comprehension.

Does that make sense? It's late here, and my brain is not functioning quite right.

Anyway, my oldest is just a little younger than Allie, so I wonder what Allie thought of that book?

Donette said...

Missy, Alli enjoyed this book more than others without pictures, but if it weren't for Elijah, I probably wouldn't have read it to her yet. Wait until she's 4 or 5, and I bet she'll get more out of it.

Jenni said...

I remember reading these when I was in elementary school (probably 3rd grade+). I loved the series and read most of them...but I lost interest after awhile because there are over 80 books in the series!!! Besides, then I got into the Babysitter Club Series as I got older... LOL ; )

I can't wait until I can read books like this with Brooklyn!

Sarah said...

I adored these books when I was a child! I just checked on them at our library--we will be starting on the series very soon!