Sunday, March 8, 2015

Our Next Read Aloud...

Friday, we finished two books. Our morning read aloud - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl - and a book we'd been reading in the evenings (because my daughter "loves" George Washington) - George Washington by the D'Aulaires.

So far, our morning read alouds have been A Bear Called Paddington and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Chapter books. Fiction. This reading takes place in the car, and my husband instituted a Three Interruption Rule, which means that if she interrupts three times, I close the book. This does not mean that I don't stop to explain what certain words or expressions mean, just that Daughter can't do something like stop the story to say she doesn't want to wear her shoes. The Three Interruption Rule works great! There have been mornings where she hasn't interrupted at all.

She loved Charlie. She was very interested in comparing the book to the movie. There are quite a few differences, a huge one being that Charlie never does anything wrong in the book. However, in the movie, he and Grandpa Joe break the rules and drink Fizzy Lifting Drink. It's a great scene in the movie, but Dahl's Charlie is the good guy, the child to emulate. He wouldn't disrespect Willy Wonka by not listening, and he would never even consider stealing. But movies have to have conflict, and children being taught lessons by turning into blueberries, being sucked up tubes, being made tiny, and falling down garbage chutes, while the main character stands back and watches - this does not make a movie.

I did do some censoring while reading the book. Mainly, I lessened how rude the children were to their parents. In one instance, I said "Be quiet" instead of "Shut up."

...Which brings me to my choice for our next read aloud.

I wanted something where the child main character speaks nicely to her parents. We don't allow our daughter to put her hand on her hip when she's talking, or to tell us "But-", and we have her say "Yes Mommy" or "Yes Daddy" when we tell her to do something. These are habits we are training. Training. As a public school teacher, it frustrates me when elementary school children do things like suck their teeth or roll their eyes, etc. These are just a handful of the behaviors I refuse to allow my child to think are okay. This is why I liked Veruca Salt so much - because she gave us the opportunity to discuss "good egg"/"good nut" behavior vs. "bad egg"/"bad nut" behavior.

I considered James and the Giant Peach; Pippi Longstocking; The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; Charlotte's Web; Mr. Popper's Penguins; Homer Price; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; and Little House in the Big Woods. But I thought about what we needed right now, and right now we don't need parents getting killed by rhinoceroses, or little girls with dead mothers and the mention of cannibals, or Mommy tearing up when Charlotte dies (because Mommy will tear up). We can hold off on Oz and Narnia and the American frontier. We can hold off on donut machines and penguins. What we need right now is little girl with a sweet attitude and a loving two-parent household.

So our next read aloud is The Milly Molly Mandy Storybook.

When I first saw this book on a list, and read the first few pages, I was turned off by its simplicity. Where's the conflict? But then - confession time - I let my daughter watch Big Hero 6. Mistake. She didn't have nightmares, thankfully, but there was so much that was just unnecessary for a 4 year old. Yes, the death scene bothered me, but not as much as having a main character who is disrespectful and lazy and arrogant. He's not a kid you want your child to emulate. The biggest thing that's wrong with this movie is that the character that we want our children to be like is not the one that is most relatable, the human kid. No, the character with the clear understanding of right and wrong is the one that is least relatable - the robot.

I'm looking forward to simplicity.

What's your next read aloud?


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