Friday, August 9, 2013

Living Books for Preschoolers

Today is the last day of the 5 Days of Charlotte Mason Preschool series!  The last method I am going to discuss is Living Books.

I want to say that the reason I saved Living Books for the last day is because they're not really the most important element of a preschool.  The focus should still be on outdoor time and habit training.

That being said, we do know that books are important, and it is well-established that reading frequently to children promotes literacy.  Plus, cuddling together with a good book is a precious way to bond with your child.  So when you are reading and making those memories, you should be choosing quality literature that is worth your time and is positively influencing your child.

Twaddle vs. Living Books

Charlotte Mason warned us against a little thing called twaddle.  Twaddle is any book that talks down to your child, uses simple language and offers nothing of value.  Generally, any book that makes you cringe every time your child brings it to you is probably considered twaddle.  If you find yourself skipping pages to make the book end, it is probably twaddle.  Now, that's not to say that everyone is going to agree on what is considered twaddle, and what I love, you may not find appropriate for your family.  While it is somewhat subjective, the point is, why read something to your child when it is a waste of time?

Instead, we should be sharing wonderful stories with our children.  Living books are full of rich and often poetic vocabulary.  They offer beautiful thoughts, inspirational messages or transport you right into the story.

If you start reading living books early and consistently, it will help your child develop an appreciation for literature.

This post contains affiliate links, thank you for your support.

Favorite Books for Toddlers & Preschoolers

Big Red BarnGoodnight Moon and others by Margaret Wise Brown

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and others by by Eric Carle

Chicka Boom Chicka Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault

Blueberries for Sal and other Robert McCloskey books

Katy No-Pocket by Emmy Payne

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne (the original series)

The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

The Real Mother Goose illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright

Curious George and other original George stories by Margeret and H.A. Ray

The Pokey Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

Peter Rabbit and other Beatrix Potter stories

This is by no means an exhaustive list.  It's just a sampling of books we've enjoyed in our family, but I am wondering...what's YOUR favorite book for preschoolers?

One thing I always try to remember, that as much as I love books - and buying them - quality is always better than quantity.  If it doesn't look like a book I'd want to read more than once, I probably will not by it.  It's better to read only a few good books to your children than many worthless books.  If you carefully choose the books you offer to your preschooler, you will find that you too will delight in reading their favorite books over and over again.

Year 0 Book List from Ambleside Online & Year 0 Audio & Other Resources
Favorite Read-Aloud Books for Preschoolers from Simply Charlotte Mason
Before Five in a Row and Five in a Row Book Lists
Librivox - free audio versions of public domain books, stories, and poems

Day 1:  Beginning a Charlotte Mason Preschool
Day 2:  Nature Study for Curious Preschoolers
Day 3:  Introducing Handicrafts to Your Preschooler
Day 4:  Fine Arts for Preschoolers
Day 5:  Living Books Preschoolers

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  1. What a great list with some of my favorite books on it!

  2. I agree, this is a great list! Big, Red Barn was one we read over and over and over!

    1. Yes, that was a long-time favorite of my middle child!

  3. I love sharing great literature with my preschoolers. Miss Rumphius, The Deep Blue Sea, A is for Annabelle, Story of Ferdinand...I could go on forever!

    1. Ferdinand! Yes! I saw your book list too and I loved it!

  4. One of my son's favorites growing up was Farmer Will (doesn't hurt that the title character shares the same name). It's about a little boy whose toy animals come to life.

    1. I'm not familiar with Farmer Will, but I looked it up on Amazon and it looks great! I will have to look for it at the library.

  5. I don't have preschoolers anymore but I enjoyed the post :) Going to pin it just in case the Lord sends another one along.

    1. Yes, we never know what's in store for us! Thanks for pinning!

  6. I miss those preschool days. You have some of our favorite books on your list. We used Before Five in a Row for preschool and were introduced to such lovely books.

    1. I almost used FIAR, but decided not to since our co-op uses it. However, the books are wonderful and too good not to include in our personal library!

  7. What a great list! There are a few I've never read with any of my boys, but most I could recite by heart :)

  8. Every book that you listed, other than Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, are ones that I have fond memories of curling up with my dad as he read me one of these as a goodnight story. As I grew older the books turned to the Junior Classics. These books are just a few of a vast amount of stories that I listened to as a child, and it truly impressed on my heart how important books are and my love for reading. In fact, when I had just found out I was pregnant with my first, the first thing I told my husband was that we needed to go get the books I grew up with and start reading them to the baby. He's now 6 and loves books as much as I do.

    To add one more book to your list, my absolute favorite my dad read to me was Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina. I just about cried when I found a copy at an old bookstore, because I knew my kids would one day hear it too.

    1. Thank you for sharing! You know a book is great when it is treasured and you want to pass the story down to your own children.

      I'll be honest about our experience with Caps for Sale and why it hasn't made our personal list yet. I read it to my oldest when he was about 3 and he had nightmares about monkeys. I suppose it is time we try it again soon, as I think he would enjoy it now, and I'm positive his brother would. Thank you for reminding me of that one!

  9. These might not ALL be living books, but I like Curious George (my favorite one being the hospital story, which I liked since I first heard at when I was little), the Thomas the Tank stories I've read so far, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (that one I think I'd read on my own, even, because I've loved the rhyme to it since the first time I heard it at 17), The Polar Express (I think the movie's better, but the book's still a classic), virtually anything by Robert Munsch and I'm probably forgetting a few.

    1. We never got into Thomas the Tank engine here, but we enjoy the rest of the books you mentioned!