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What We’re Reading November 2018

 

Is there a book you’ve read recently that you couldn’t put down and have been telling everyone about? I’ve had a few this past month that I absolutely loved – please leave a comment below and let me know your suggestions too!

When I flipped the calendar page this past week and realized we are so very close to the end of the year, it makes me wonder where all the time has gone this year. In some ways I am amazed at how quickly the time seems to have gone, but then another part of me wonders how wisely I’ve spent all those hours. I suppose that is a never ending cycle, isn’t it? I know there is always more I can do, but it’s finding that balance that is tricky!

There are only a few key books remaining on my 2018 Reading List  and I’m not sure that I will finish them all, but I am definitely going to try hard! Our boys have a swim meet coming up this next weekend and I’ll be the parent on deck, so that means I will definitely have a book in hand while watching between heats. Meanwhile I’m already working on my 2019 list. :) 

Feed readers can click here to see my books for November

*all links are referral links

While I had hoped to finish Fiercehearted last monthI honestly came to a bit of a standstill on that one. It’s had great reviews, but somehow hasn’t quite clicked at this point. I’m going to give it another go though before I decide to put it aside permanently. 

What the Kids are Reading

The boys and I are still working through The House With a Clock in Its Walls by Bellairs. While it’s one that we should have finished rather easily, we had quite a few afternoons that involved company, LEGO League, or games, and that’s okay too. So we continue and add on a new book as we do finish it. 


What I Read Last Month (and Quick Thoughts)

I Want God: Forever Changed by the Revival of Your Soul by Lisa Whittle – This is one book that I’m still mulling over. It’s a fairly short/sweet book, but has left me with some questions and thoughts that our small group has been discussing, which I love. (5/5 rating)

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – This is one that I borrowed randomly from the library via Kindle because it was available and I wanted something to read. It ended up being a fairly interesting read, following the life of a girl who grew up in the foster system and learned about the meaning behind various flowers. (4/5 rating)

Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah – After reading The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah I didn’t think I’d find another book by her that I liked (I’ve read several others as well). This one started off a bit slower and took me a bit to get into, but once the story began unfolding, I LOVED it. Anything that ties in history and has me look at an era in a different light is one I really enjoy.  (5/5 rating)

Below are a few others read: 

You can follow along with me via the Goodreads app where I share my reviews and additional thoughts. What have YOU been reading this month? 

 

Writing About Books: Book Reports and Beyond (Limited Time Freebie)

WriteShop

Maybe your kids are all that into book reports. I get that, we’ve had some kids who do and some kids who whine until all eternity. Especially if you have kiddos who aren’t strong readers. Our boys have been anxious enough about reading, so when writing a report is added in, it makes it tough. 

That’s one reason I am SO excited about this limited time freebie from WriteShop. 

The Writing About Books: Book Reports and Beyond e-book offers loads of ideas that get kids talking and writing about the books they are reading, from the earliest picture books to high-school level novels. The various activities will invite them to do one or more of the following:

  • Show how well they understand what they have read
  • Describe parts of the book
  • Summarize the story by giving an overview of the book’s theme, plot, and/or main characters
  • Give an opinion

In addition, you’ll find printable reading logs for all ages, book-themed journal prompts, and other creative ideas to encourage children and teens to respond to literature. Sprinkle them into your weekly reading and writing lessons and watch students make more meaningful connections with the books they read.

What Is Included in Writing about Books?

Discussion Activities and Tips for Writing about Books

  • How to choose picture books—plus links to top book lists for children
  • How to use picture books with middle-grade students
  • How to teach young children to talk about books they have read
  • How to teach middle-graders to respond to literature 

37 Ideas for Creative Book Report Alternatives

Go beyond book reports by encouraging your kids to try alternatives to writing about books. Some activities incorporate crafts, drama, or games. Others stretch higher-level thinking skills as students imagine a new setting, keep a journal, map out a character’s journey, or think about plot twists. And many of these ideas can be adapted for different ages and interests, from pre-writers to teens.

There’s something for everyone, including:

  • The crafty kid
  • The list maker
  • The letter-writer
  • The imaginative student
  • The map-maker
  • The deep thinker
  • The student who loves technology

17 Printables for Writing about Books

  • Reading logs for K-high school, suitable for both fiction and nonfiction selections (can serve as book report alternatives)
  • Printable writing prompts about books and literature
  • Book discussion bookmarks
  • Elementary and teen pages for recording favorite book quotes and passages

Writing About Books is designed for grades K-10, they can be adapted for other ages. This freebie is a special gift for subscribers of the WriteShop site (and you’ll get other great tips and freebies along the way!). Be sure to subscribe to get your free copy. Future purchase will be $3.50. 

Helpful Guide for Choosing Homeschool Literature for K-12

At a homeschool convention a few years ago, I sat in on several sessions by Adam Andrews from Center for Lit. After pouring for quite some time over their resources, one of the books that made it into my bag was Reading Roadmaps: a Literary Scope & Sequence for K-12.  Since that day, there are multiple dog-eared pages in the book and it has become one of my favorite helps for choosing books for our children.

Reading Roadmaps literature suggestions for homeschool

When I shared a post on Instagram about this book and immediately received several emails from readers asking to know more about the book (and why I liked it). So – here goes! For those of you wanting a peek inside the book, watch the video clip below.

feed subscribers can view the video here

Reading Roadmaps contains and entire year’s literature suggestions for each grade level from K-12. The lists are sequential (so they build in difficulty) and multiple models are provided. You can choose a weekly, monthly, six week, quarterly, or seasonal model which will vary the reading and study time.

Each book title recommended includes the following: plot summary, conflict, story themes, stylistic devices used (alliteration, rhyming, etc…), additional resources if available, and an alternate story suggestion. The last few chapters of the guide offer a variety of literature teaching helps: assigning and grading essays, grade level objectives, grading and credits, and time periods in the history of literature.

Overall, this has been a great ‘go-to’ resource for me and is how I am building each of our children’s literature lists for the year and one that is kept handy and within reach.

Reading Lists for Our Children

Interested in seeing reading lists for our children this past year? Check out some of our past reading choices by clicking on the images below.

 

4th grade homeschool reading list 6th grade homeschool reading list 9th grade reading list

 

What We’re Reading October 2018

So what have you been reading lately that you can’t help but talk about and have been recommending to everyone? 

We’re back into a reading swing with each other and I love the feel of that. It isn’t perfect, but it’s something everyone has come to expect as a part of each day, and that’s fabulous. Yes, there are sighs some days, but by the time we are about five minutes into reading, the boys have settled down and are (secretly) enjoying the reading.

My 2018 Reading List  is slowly decreasing, and as is typical for me, my Amazon cart is filling with books to read in the future. I’m really trying not to get distracted, but it is SO VERY HARD. 

Feed readers can click here to see my books for October

*all links are referral links


While I had hoped to finish Love Unending – I didn’t get as far as I’d hoped. It’s laid out as more of a day-by-day book, but I’m going to read through instead so I don’t forget about it. There are also so many great non-fiction books to read right now – I really need to stop adding things to my pile (my Amazon cart is filling up as I am earmarking books to read next year). 

What the Kids are Reading

We wrapped up The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt with the boys – and I cannot tell you how much I personally enjoyed this book. I purchased another book by the author for Zachary to read later (focused on a different character in the story), but it had me both laughing and crying. Such a great read!

This month we’re moving on to a new read-aloud, The House With a Clock in Its Walls by Bellairs and considering seeing the movie when it hits the dollar theatre near us. I’ve been reading mixed reviews on the movie, so we’ll have to see. 


What I Read the Last Two Months (and Quick Thoughts)

Free of Me: Why Life Is Better When It’s Not about You by Sharon Hodde Miller – Truly enjoyed this one which focuses more on letting go of a me-centered focus and understand how self-focus impacts other areas of our life. (5/5 rating)

The Kremlin Conspiracy by Joel Rosenberg – I’ve enjoyed past series by Rosenberg and am interested to see where he takes this series. Several of his past political thrillers have centered around the Middle East, and this new series focuses on Russia and North Korea, so it definitely holds some intrigue. (4.5/5 rating)

An Hour Unspent by Roseanna White – Another book that swept me up last month – and I made myself hold off on reading it until I knew I could savor it! This was the last book in a 3 book series by White and wrapped things up rather wonderfully. Each of the books in the series can be read independently, although I definitely recommend reading all three. (5/5 rating)

Below are a few others read: 

You can follow along with me via the Goodreads app where I share my reviews and additional thoughts. What have YOU been reading this month? 

 

Fall Read-Alouds for Middle School Boys

This fall our read-alouds are focused more on the boys and their interests (or things they will hopefully be interested in). While our girls were avid readers, our boys have more of a “meh” attitude when it comes to reading, so one of my goals in reading out loud with them daily is making it FUN and enjoyable. 

We have four books in our pile for our fall reading: 

We are currently reading The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt – and it is HILARIOUS. If you have middle schoolers (boys or girls), they will love this book told from the perspective of a 7th grade boy. And beyond that, you as the reader will love it too (I’ve laughed out loud and even teared up at a few points). 

The boys may have had to remind me IT’S NOT REAL, MOM! (For real.)

Anyway, here are a few thoughts on our choices for the fall read alouds. 

Read Aloud Tips

Maybe your family is having a hard time settling down for a read aloud time? If so, maybe one of these Six Read-Aloud Tips will help your family out {especially little ones}.

Books We’ve Previously Read Together

Here are a few other books that we’ve read together and blogged about. Click over to see our thoughts on them!

Audiobooks for Families to enjoy

 

What We’re Reading – September 2018

What’s one book you’ve read lately that you just couldn’t put down – or still has you mulling parts of it? 

It’s been about two months since I shared what I was reading and now that we’re back in the swing of school (sort of), sharing what the kids are reading as well is part of the list. 

One of my goals this school year is not only reading aloud with the boys at least 4 days a week, but making sure that I personally set aside 20 minutes of reading time for myself 4 days a week (no interruptions). This doesn’t include my “fall asleep holding the Kindle” reading time – this is reading something with a little more depth, or at least taking time to rest and regroup.

My 2018 Reading List  is slowly decreasing, just maybe not as fast as I’d like, since I keep finding great books to read and I have a hard time NOT adding a new book to my pile. I’m guessing I’m not the only one with this problem? 

Feed readers can click here to see my books for September

*all links are referral links


So far, I am LOVING Love Unending and the quick “talking points” each chapter provides.  There are also so many great fiction books to read right now – I really need to stop adding things to my pile!

What the Kids are Reading

I have to tell you all, our current read-aloud is cracking me up and also almost made me cry this week. IT’S FICTION YOU ALL! 

The boys are rolling their eyes, but I’m absolutely loving this author’s writing style and having so much fun reading it with the boys. 

 

What I Read the Last Two Months (and Quick Thoughts)

A Family Shaped by Grace by Gary Morland – This was one that came up on Amazon and grabbed my attention. I had no idea it was written by the dad of someone I know personally, which made it so much better once I realized that. 

The beginning years of this family’s life was truly rough. The dad grew up in a very dysfunctional family and their family legacy was only changed by the grace of God. This isn’t a step-by-step solution to a peaceful home, but gentle leading/nudging and encouragement that is well-worth re-reading and keeping on hand. (5/5 rating)

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate – Oh my heart, you all. This book was both heartbreaking and engrossing. Having never heard of Georgia Tann and the scandal with the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, this was so saddening to read at times.

The overall story is fictional but based on real-life happening of children that are essentially stolen from their families and then adopted/sold to other families in the late 1930s-1940s. It is unbelievable to realize how many lives were impacted by one woman and her reach, and even more that it went undetected for so long. (5/5 rating)

Amy Snow by Tracy Rees – Another book that swept me up last month. A young baby is found in the snowy woods and brought home by a young girl. The family is very wealthy, but the girl is not embraced by the parents and has difficulty fitting in with the staff and other members of the household. Her only friend is the young heiress who rescued her.

Years later, when the heiress dies young, Amy is left out in the cold again, but sent on a treasure hunt with a single clue left to her by her recently deceased friend.  (5/5 rating)

Also read the following (July/August): 


You can follow along with me via the Goodreads app where I share my reviews and additional thoughts. What have YOU been reading this month?