If we can help the children in our lives develop that same enthusiasm and curiosity, we have given them a priceless, life-long gift.
In addition, Maria Montessori said, “The first essential for the child's development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy.”
Both listening as someone else reads aloud and spending independent time reading can be very effective activities for allowing children to develop concentration. In our modern, fast-paced, over-stimulated world, it is harder—and more important—than ever to help children learn this skill. Reading time (whether in a group or solo) can put the brakes on a busy world, as well as opening up many new horizons for our children and students.
With summer reading season coming up, we asked the American Montessori Consulting Primary Recommended Resource Center partners http://www.amonco.org/resource_topic.html to share with us some of their favorite children’s books. Here are the recommendations and some comments of the business people who responded.
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Gari from Music for Little People, http://store.musicforlittlepeople.com/info.html , likes the following books, which unsurprisingly involve singing and movement. She recommends:
A, You're Adorable by Martha Alexander—“Once the adult and child know this song well, the child can sing the letter and the adult answer, and vice versa.
[If you’re not familiar with the song by Sam Lipmann, Buddy Kaye, and Fred Wise that inspired this board book, you can hear it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TyQlIatSJ8&feature=related ]
This Little Chick-by John Lawrence—“This can be sung to the tune of ‘Mulberry Bush’.”
Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown—“This book suggests lots of movement. Have the children do the different movements and the control is, ‘now run back to me’, etc.”
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Larry and Karen at the Farm Country General Store, http://www.homeschoolfcgs.com , suggested several well-loved series which could provide many hours of happy reading over the coming summer.
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
The Henry and Ramona series by Beverly Cleary
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Ligia from Childsake said it was not easy to decide on just a few favorite children’s books. The ones that came to mind, however, were these:
Farewell to Shady Glade by Bill Peet
Flute's Journey by Lynne Cherry
Tree of Life by Barbara Bash, which tied in her estimation with
Alejandro's Gift by Richard E. Albert
To find more of Ligia’s recommendations of books about nature and the environment, visit her website, which includes about 400 more titles. http://www.childsake.com
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Kathie from INSTA-LEARN, http://www.insta-learn.com , like many of us, remembers many happy times reading – and re-reading—favorite books to her own children. These were her family’s most memorable:
Peeping Beauty by Mary Jane Auch
The Easter Egg Farm by Mary Jane Auch
Jillian Jiggs by Phoebe Gilman
Dumbstruck by Sara Pennypacker and Mary Jane Auch
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Stephanie from Professor Toto, http://www.professortoto.com , remembers reading and enjoying these books during her own childhood.
The Madeline Series by Ludwig Bemelmans
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Choose Your Own Adventure books (Various Authors)
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The Dark Crystal by A. C. H. Smith
The Berenstain Bears Series by Stan and Jan Berenstain
The Babysitter's Club by Ann M. Martin
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
Fear Street & Goosebumps by R.L. Stine
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Diana from Nature’s Workshop Plus, http://www.workshopplus.com , recommends the following classic stories, especially as read-aloud books.
Hans Brinker; or, the Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland by Mary Mapes Dodge
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe
The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Rascal by Sterling North
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
Heidi by Johanna Spyri
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
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from Literature Resources Online, LLC, https://www.literatureplace.com
,has shared a 65-book list of award-winning fiction books which she calls
“Today’s Classics”. Find that list here: http://www.amonco.org/summer6/montessori_summer6.pdf
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Georgette of Cantemos Bilingual Books and Music, http://www.simplespanishsongs , recommends the following stories:
As the grandmother of four children under the age of 6, I love to read to them the book, Everybody Poops, by Taro Gomi. It results in giggles, but also in engrossed listeners. This book is used in Japanese schools; and it informs children that creatures that eat, poop. Some do it in the water, while on the move, in diapers or in the toilet. It is educational not only because it makes a body function a normal topic of conversation, but it includes drawings of wild animals and their names. My grandchildren, clamor for it, sit close, laugh and learn. Ah, if every learning experience were that fun! This book can be used for kindergarten through 6th grade.
Lucas and His Loco Beans, by Ramona Winner, is a story about a boy whose grandfather shows and explains about Mexican Jumping Beans. This educational story is written in rhyme and introduces Spanish words. It also gives a complete explanation of how a moth lays her eggs in a flower, and the larva end up in the seeds. The feeding of the larva is what causes the motion of the bean. This book is good for kindergarten through 6th grade.
You can also check out Georgette’s own chapter book, Andy and the Gold Mine. Here is a description of the book in Georgette’s own words, and an activity she has provided for your students.
Andy and the Gold Mine introduces California gold mining in a true story adventure. Ten year old Andy spends summers in Randsburg, CA. One year, after a harrowing encounter with a rattlesnake in an abandoned mine, Andy finds the Butte Mine. Jake, an experienced miner shows Andy how to crush rock and rinse the powdered stone to find the specks of gold. Students can be shown where Randsburg, CA is, and learn about a town that had one of the most abundant gold mines of the time.
The story ends with young Andy, taking his gold dust to the General Store. The store manager pockets the gold vial and puts a few coins in the register. A complete discussion about honesty can be started or students can speculate about what really took place. Ages 8-11
students could each bring in a rock about the size of their fist, sit out in
the playground, crush the rocks with rubber mallets (while wearing protective
glasses), put the powder in Styrofoam bowls with water, swirl it around,
allowing the large sediment to settle to the bottom and experience the type of
work done by young Andy who in the end (with much trial and error) did find
some gold dust.
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About Sara L. Ambarian
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