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Audiobooks and Music for Kids

Our family absolutely loves listening to books on CD. If we’re driving around town or on a trip, generally there is some form of audiobook in our car along with us. It’s also one of the rare times that our vehicle experience silence in one way, shape, or form.

Very rare.

We’ll be traveling this month to visit family, so I thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite audio adventures {the ones that even Mommy and Daddy enjoy} with you all. Many, okay ALL, of them have a common thread ~ Focus on the Family Radio Theatre. Love everything that we’ve ever heard from them. You can’t go wrong with these audio adventures.

Chronicles of Narnia radio theatre

Chronicles of Narnia is a set of 19 CDs that has radio theatre drama for all of the books in the series. There were so many points in these books that I started crying after grasping the significance behind Lewis’ words. Although I like Aslan’s voice in the movies better {and giggle occasionally at his voice in these because of comparing it to the movie} they are absolutely wonderful and I’m putting them on my own itouch to listen too!

The Secret Garden   Anne of Green Gables  Little Women  

The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, and Little Women are three that I’ll be loading onto the girl’s mp3 players so that they can listen to them on their own. They have loved reading the books with, watching the movies and really enjoy listening to them too {while the boys would rather listen to Caspian…}.

Legend of Squanto

The kids haven’t heard this one yet, but I’m packing The Legend of Squanto. A new CD will definitely keep their interest and this is one we’ll be listening to this year to go along with our history studies. No reason we can’t get a little school in while we’re driving, right?

Bible Eyewitness

The Bible Eyewitness Collector’s set of 36 CDs was our first introduction to Adventures in Odyssey and we were hooked after these!  They start with stories from Genesis and go all the way through the Bible into New Testament times. The stories are sometimes hilarious {the accents are enough to make adults crack up!}.

For God & Country

I have For God & Country on order from Amazon and am hoping that it will get here in time for our trip! This is another one that will go along with our studies this coming year…and the kids don’t know about yet! We had borrowed it from a friend awhile back and enjoyed the few stories we were able to listen too, so I’m looking forward to adding this to our collection.

Seeds Family WorshipOf course, we’ll be taking our Seeds Family Worship CDs along with us! We have an extra set that we’re going to be sharing with our cousins when we stop by and visit them {shhhh!!!}. I also can’t wait until their newest CD, Seeds of Character is released!!

Do you have some favorite audio books that you can share with me? I’d love to beef up our personal library with some great ‘reads’!

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Preschool Corner: Summer Reading Challenge

One of the things that I love to do is read…and I hoping that each of our children have that same love for reading instilled in them. During the school year we have the books that we read for our ‘school time’ but we try to encourage the kids to read when it isn’t required of them.

And for those who can’t read yet, we read to them…or encourage siblings to read to them.

Our local library and bookstore both run some great incentive programs for children during the summer months, but we try to keep the momentum going all year round with reading charts. We use these charts for our oldest right down to the youngest.

  Spring Reading Challenge Summer Reading Challenge

 fall reading Chart  winter reading chart

Click on the thumbnail to download each file.

The goal is to read 75 books during that ‘season’ ~ spring, summer, fall, and winter. The prize? It can be anything we want it to be ~ a camping trip, a trip to the Dollar Tree, maybe a new movie that is in the theatres {because that is really a special treat!}. One bar is marked off for each book that the kids read {chapter books over 60 pages count as 2 books for us}. I write the name of the book in each bar and the kids color them in.

Really, it’s a win/win situation.

At some point during our school year I stopped reading aloud to the kids at lunchtime…and that is something that we are putting back into our day. I miss it and they do too! Captive audiences with their mouths full {and unable to talk} are lovely! During this time we read more advanced books ~ ones Laurianna might be able to read, but we’re exposing the kids to different literature…and they LOVE it!

I’ve included a carousel below of some of the books that we’re reading right now {My Father’s Dragon is our current table-read} and a few that are on our list for the summer. What read-alouds have your kids enjoyed? I’d love to have a few more to add to my list too!

Stories & Books on our ‘Read-Aloud’ List

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Pizza Hut ~ Book It for Homeschoolers


Do you have a Pizza Hut in your area? You might want to look into their ‘BOOK IT!’ reading program for grades K-6 if you do! Homeschoolers are allowed to participate too! Here’s some information from their website:

BOOK IT! runs every school year from October through March.  The teacher sets a reading goal for each child in the class.  A tracking chart and reproducibles are included to make it that much easier.  As soon as a child meets the monthly reading goal, the teacher gives him or her a Reading Award Certificate. 

BOOK IT! goals are based on reading ability.  Number of books, number of pages, or number of minutes – they all work.  BOOK IT! can also be used with the reading curriculum or as support for comprehension or intervention programs.  For children not reading independently, the goal can be set where a parent or others read to the child.

Pizza Hut is proud of all BOOK IT! readers!  The restaurant manager and team congratulate every child for meeting the monthly reading goal and reward them with a free, one-topping Personal Pan Pizza, BOOK IT! card and backpack clip.

If you want to learn more about the BOOK IT! program, you can follow this link. Enrollment is open until the end of June.

Cobweb the Cat ~ Beehive Reader {Review}

image For the last two months I have been using the Cobweb the Cat with Zachary {our recent 5 year old} to go along with the All About Spelling Level 1 program. Cobweb the Cat wasn’t available when our older two were learning how to read, otherwise I would have been kicking myself for not having owned it sooner!

Cobweb the Cat is the first book in the All About Reading program. It goes hand in hand with the Level 1 Spelling program, so as your child is working through their spelling and learning the spelling/reading rules they can put it into practice using the Beehive Readers. Even though it goes along with All About Spelling, it can be used independently as a reader for any child.

There are ten short stories in the reader. To give you an idea of what the stories are like, Zachary recently read the short story “The Pond” and we’ve been working our way through the other stories in the book a little at a time ~ here’s a sample of a page from “King Sam and the Bat”.


Great features of Cobweb the Cat:

  • Hardcover {making it rather durable in the hands of a certain 5 year old}
  • The pictures in the stories are all ink sketches that are beautifully done ~ yet don’t always reveal the storyline, so children don’t use the pictures to predict the story.
  • There is a handy chart {and I love charts} showing you what spelling lessons correspond to the different stories in the Reader
  • Underlining of text {it looks similar to a notebook page} helping children track the words and read more easily.
  • Wording layout encourages children to read in phrases rather than reading word-by-word
  • Short stories that are realistic {and enjoyable for adults to listen to}
  • There are more coming!! Four more readers are scheduled to release by the end of 2010 along with a teacher’s manual ~ the books are being illustrated right now!

Find Out More

Cobweb the Cat {$19.95} is available through the All About Spelling website. Shipping has been fast in my experience and Marie is always helpful in answering any questions that I might have. While you are browsing the site, be sure to also check out the great spelling program that we are using with all of our children.

Click on the Homeschool Crew banner to read other reviews about this product.

This product was given to me for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.

Kid’s Winter Reading Challenge

Winter starts tomorrow and so our fall reading challenge with the kids is wrapping up today. The kids still think they have 5 more books to read so they are scrambling around reading to each other.

Truthfully, they have probably read more than enough books and it’s probably due to my lack of recording their reading – but I’m not complaining! They’ve been cuddling up on the couch with each other and reading books to anyone who will listen.

They asked what the winter reading chart is going to look like, so I pulled one together last night and it’s posted below in case you are interested in using it with your kids.


You can find reading challenge charts for all of the seasons on my website.


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Great Children’s Books

Recently I was introduced to Salem Ridge Press, a publishing company that is republishing children’s books from the 1800’s and early 1900’s – books that are no longer available in print. The company was started by a homeschool graduate, Daniel Mills who wanted to provide books that parents can feel good about giving to their children because of the content: strong moral values, exciting content, and good character qualities.

A Little More about Salem Ridge Press:

After browsing their website and the various books that Salem Ridge Press offers, I am very impressed with the company’s philosophy and their goals. The verse that they base their philosophy on is Phillipians 4:8 . A recent newsletter clip nicely “sums up” their beliefs for me(emphasis mine):

“If I am going to bring a book back into print, I want to be able to stand behind it with no reservations. Very early on we realized that we were going to have to decide carefully what was appropriate in our books and what was not. I sometimes joke that our number one rule is, “No Kissing!” While many books from the 1800’s and early 1900’s are no problem at all this way, in several cases we have slightly edited passages which included a brief kiss or embrace. We want to be an encouragement to young people to maintain the highest standards of purity in their relationships. We have also edited out some derogatory comments that we felt were unnecessary or offensive.”

About the books I read:

Mary Jane – Her Book ($12.95) is a title for younger readers that both of our girls LOVED! Mary Jane is a five year old girl and the book is a compilation of her everyday adventures: helping out around the house, going on a picnic, planting a garden, learning to sew, and more. Laurianna and McKenna read this book to each other each night before bedtime and I could hear them giggling at the stories. (ages 6-10)

The American Twins of the Revolution ($12.95) is based on a true story during the American Revolution. It tells the story of a hidden shipment of gold and is full of adventure. This is one book that we will be adding to our curriculum when we study early American history! (ages 8-adult)

Glaucia the Greek Slave ($14.95) is a story based in Athens during the first century. It tells the story of Glaucia and her brother who were sold as slaves after their father’s death. There is a mystery surrounding their mother’s disappearance several years before. Glaucia’s brother Laon later meets the prisoner Paul, who shares about a new religion. This is the first of twelve books in a Church History series. You can read the first chapter of the book if you would like to get a feel for the books. (ages 10-adult)

An Added Bonus:

When you sign up to receive a quarterly newsletter, you will be entered to win one of their books each time a new title is released.

Until December 1st they are also holding a “Wish List Giveaway“. Make a wish list of 5 books that you would like from their website and they will email the list to 3 people and you could be one of five people that receives all the books on your list for FREE (hurry – that’s only a few days away!!).

This is definitely a company that I am going to be looking to in the future for supplements to our homeschool books. I am very impressed with their philosophy and the books that I have had the opportunity to read. And with Christmas coming up…there may just have to be a few books under the tree for the girls – we have to know what is happening with Mary Jane!