/**/ The Purposeful Wife: A Fun Way to Track Read Alouds

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Fun Way to Track Read Alouds

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My oldest daughter is 5 years old. We've been reading chapter books aloud together for several years now, but I've never tracked the books we've read. This year I decided that I wanted that to change.

I want to engage S with the material we are reading in a book club fashion. I want to get inside her head and know what passages or characters stuck out to her, and why. I also want to help her articulate her thoughts more clearly, and to strengthen reading comprehension and memory.

I also just thought it would be really fun if she can look back 10, 20, 30 years down the road and have a record of the books Niall and I have read aloud to her. Won't it be a hoot to remember the funny thoughts she voiced about Ramona Quimby upon their first introduction? Or to point out just what it was about James and the Giant Peach that really captivated her imagination?

At the beginning of the school year I selected a little notebook from our stash and designated it her read aloud journal. Each time we finish reading a chapter book together, I print out a picture of the cover or characters, and stick it to our next open page in the book. Then I ask her a few basic questions about the book. It's a casual and fun time just to talk about what we read together.

Some of the questions I ask are:

What was the book about?

Who was your favorite character? Why?

What did that character do?

What was the most exciting thing that happened in the book?

What was the scariest thing that happened?

What was your favorite part?

What was the funniest thing that happened?

I usually only pick three questions. Then I record her answers in the book. She's getting some good narration practice! If she seems bored or starts answering in a goofy way, I just put it down and move on. Usually it's just after we've read the last chapter, so she's in a good mood from our reading time. And snacks are almost always involved.

It's less of a book report feeling, and more like a book club {like Sarah is always talking about on The Read Aloud Revival Podcast- highly recommend!}.

The Read Aloud Journal is a fun and simple way to keep a record, and I hope it will also become a keepsake to her someday. Reading aloud together is one of our favorite things. I'm so glad we share our love of books!

If you're wondering, these are the titles we've completed since this Fall:

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary
Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary

Everyone {even my 3 year old son} has had a blast with the Ramona books... however I hadn't read them since my own childhood and learned the hard way that some of the content isn't ideal for the undiscerning 6 and under crowd {temper tantrums, boy's teasing Beezus using the Lord's name in vain, etc.}. So I think we are going to wait until everyone is a little older to finish out the series! I just did some fast on the spot censoring. 

We're currently about half way through The Cricket in Times Square and we are loving it. I think after that we will move on to E.B. White's The Trumpet of the Swan.

Do you track family read-alouds? What are some of the books you and your kids have most enjoyed together?

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