Tag Archives: lists

Recommended Read Alouds

In honor of a new school year about to begin, I thought I’d post my thoughts on a read aloud list.  Our youngest is ready to start kindergarten so I’m thinking about what books I want to read to him & trying to remember/compile an organized list to make sure I don’t miss any of the great ones.  The older kids & I have had so much fun reading together, it’s hard to choose which ones to start with, so a list by grade will make it easier.

Ideally, it wouldn’t it be great to have a list of books that each grade reads to prevent overlaps in school?  It happened to me.  You, too?  I had The Chronicles of Narnia read to me two years in a row!!  That’s all my fifth & sixth grade teachers had time to read to me by the time they got through the whole series, so that’s all I got.  And that was at a fairly small private school where the teachers EASILY could have asked each other what they read so there’s no reason for that to have happened.  But it did.  So I know it happens a lot.

Then there are the poor kids who never get read to!  That happens, too.  It is so vitally important to read out loud to children all the way through their grade school years.  Teachers often don’t start early enough on the chapter book reading, thinking kindergarteners or first graders can only handle picture books.  Or they don’t continue to do it in the upper grades thinking the kids can now read on their own or the teachers think it’s a waste of precious school time.  Not true.  It is SO important to continue reading to children, struggling as well as excelling readers.  Here’s a quick list of a few great reasons to read aloud:

  • It stretches & improves vocabulary.
  • It increases children’s attention spans.
  • It acts as a “promo” for reading.  You may just get them hooked!
  • It gets kids out of their comfort genre when you read a variety of books to them.
  • It helps them learn to make pictures in their heads vs. being so dependent on screens for visuals (MUCH needed skill in this generation!).

So here is the list I’ve compiled.  If a school (or family) went through it year by year, a child would get a great, well-rounded dose of books that would put them on the road to a life-long love of reading.  The numbers given behind the title is the general number of pages (depending on the copy you get) so you get the idea of how long it is.


  • Little House in the Big Woods (256)
  • Beezus and Ramona (176)
  • Ramona the Pest (240)
  • Winnie the Pooh (176)
  • The House at Pooh Corner (180)
  • The Story of Dr. Doolittle (176)
  • My Father’s Dragon (68)
  • B is for Betsy (144)
  • Back to School With Betsy (160)
  • The Tale of Despereaux (272)
  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (228)
  • Pippi Longstocking (160)
  • Betsy and Tacy (144)
  • Cobble Street Cousins series (@65) – 6 books in the series
  • Nate the Great series (@80) – 26 books in the series (one for Christmas)
  • Flat Stanley series (@112) – 5 books in the series
  • The Indian in the Cupboard (240) (great for reading in November)

First Grade:

  • Charlotte’s Web (192)
  • Henry Huggins (192)
  • Homer Price (160)
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins (139)
  • Mrs. Piggle Wiggle (128)
  • Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (176)
  • When We Were Very Young (112)
  • Now We Are Six (112)
  • Little House on the Prairie (352)
  • Ramona the Brave (192)
  • Ramona & Her Father (208) (good for December reading)
  • Betsy, Tacy, & Tib (160)
  • Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s Magic (192)
  • The Return of the Indian (208) (read in November)
  • Marvin Redpost series (@80) 8 books in the series
  • Encyclopedia Brown series (@100)  29 in series so far

Second Grade:

  • Farmer Boy (384)
  • Ramona & Her Mother (224)
  • Betsy & Tacy Go Over the Hill (192)
  • Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s Farm (128)
  • Hello, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle (128)
  • Henry & Beezus (224)
  • Henry & Ribsy (208)
  • All of a Kind Family (192)
  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (128) (obviously read in December)
  • The Secret of the Indian (192)
  • A Grain of Rice (80)
  • Flat Stanley Worldwide Adventure series (@96) 9 books in the series so far
  • Boxcar Children series (@150) 154 books in series so far

Third Grade:

  • Because of Winn Dixie (182)
  • On the Banks of Plum Creek (352)
  • Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (208)
  • Betsy & Tacy Go Downtown (240)
  • Henry & the Paper Route (224)
  • Henry & the Clubhouse (224)
  • Ribsy (240)
  • The Hundred Dresses (96)
  • Happy Birthday, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle (192)
  • The Mystery of the Cupboard (256)
  • The Light at Fern Rock (64) (for reading in December)
  • The Sign of the Beaver (144)
  • Sarah, Plain & Tall (64)
  • The Courage of Sarah Noble (64)
  • The Bears on Hemlock Mountain (64)
  • The Cabin Faced West (128)
  • Nancy Drew series (@190) 61 books in original series
  • Hardy Boys series (@180) 58 books in original series
  • Bobbsey Twins series (@180) 72 books in series

Fourth Grade:

  • Sadoko & the Thousand Paper Cranes (80)
  • Number the Stars (136)
  • The Secret Garden (296)
  • A Little Princess (209)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (256)
  • Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of NIMH (240)
  • Five Little Peppers & How They Grew (224)
  • The Key to the Indian (288)
  • How to Eat Fried Worms (128)
  • Bridge to Terabithia (208)
  • Dear Mr. Henshaw (160)

Fifth Grade:

  • The Door in the Wall (128)
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond (272)
  • The Bronze Bow (254)
  • Fair Weather (160)
  • The Teacher’s Funeral (224))
  • Around the World in 80 Days (152)
  • The Devil’s Arithmetic (176)
  • The Breadwinner (170)
  • The Borrowers (192)
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (176)
  • The Westing Game (192)

What do you think?  Are there books you had read to you that were stand outs?  What grade were you when they were read to you?  Feel free to comment & add to the list!  Also, let me know what you think about my placing of each book in their grade.  Are there any you would change?  Comments welcomed.

What to Pack When Family Tent Camping

Some friends of ours asked us a while back to write out what a family needs to remember when tent camping. It’s so much easier to make that list when packing for a trip, & since we didn’t camp this summer, the list is a long time in coming. But better late than never, right? So here it is. A list of what a family needs to remember to pack for a fun tent camping experience…

tent (don’t forget the poles, tarp, stakes, and a mallet), mini broom & dust pan to sweep out tent.
for the fire: kindling, torch or matches, roasting sticks, chairs, s’more fixings! Don’t bring wood if you’re going out of your county. Buy your wood there.
bathing: soap, shampoo, etc. (in small bottles to save space), toothbrushes & paste, whatever other toiletries you use, contact stuff if you wear them, towels, flip flops for the shower, clothesline & pins for hanging wet towels & wet clothes, small container of laundry soap & dryer sheets if you’re camping for a week, any hair pretties for the gals, etc.
cooking/food: can opener, pans, stirring/serving spoons, hotplate, cans of gas for hotplate, spoons, forks, plates, bowls, cups, a sharp knife or army knife, small dish soap, baby wipes for wiping hands, paper towels, dishtowels, washcloth, bucket (like an ice cream pail to wash in), a pitcher to haul drinking water or mix up a powered drink in, formula, liners, & bottles if you have a baby along. (For what it’s worth: We’ve mostly camped with canned/boxed foods due to space an ice chest takes up. Obviously think through meals & pack all needed ingredients & an ice chest if needed.)
sleeping: pillows, sleeping bags, mats are wonderful!, Pull-Ups or diapers if you have young’uns.
clothes: depends on weather, but always bring along a jacket for each person no matter what time of year & sunglasses for the driver. Keith always has to have his visor, too, so any hats people might need.
Don’t ever pack clothes you want to keep nice – word of advice!
For the road: crayons, coloring books, journals, pens, camping books (bird books, ones on tracks, animals, plants, trees, etc.) trail mix, meat sticks, jerky, apples, cereal, etc. along with plastic cups with names marked on so you can pass the snacks back, etc.
Technology: cell phones, cords & adapters for, camera, CDs or iPod with Adventures In Odyssey or some such listening entertainment, atlas &/or mapquest directions for where you’re going if needed, campsite reservation information/proof.
Other odds & ends worth packing: trash bags, band-aids (Bring plenty just in case. They’re small.), pain killer (Ibuprofen) for adults & kids, q-tips, toothpicks, table &/or seat coverings, some cash, flashlight or lanterns, Bibles, scooters or bikes for the kids if you have room, guitar if someone plays, bug spray & sunscreen if it’s summer, playpen if you have a toddler (We got a Graco Pack ‘n Play Sport that is perfect for this kind of thing a few years back. I guess they discontinued it?! You can still get them on ebay, though.), front pack or back pack to hike with infant.

Just remember, if you forget something, part of the adventure is improvising. Using your creativity to “make do” without is half the fun of camping!

Hug a “Fundy” Friend Today

I got a kick out of this list by John Piper…

20 Reasons I Don’t Take Potshots at Fundamentalists

1. They are humble and respectful and courteous and even funny (the ones I’ve met).

2. They believe in truth.

3. They believe that truth really matters.

4. They believe that the Bible is true, all of it.

5. They know that the Bible calls for some kind of separation from the world.

6. They have backbone and are not prone to compromise principle.

7. They put obedience to Jesus above the approval of man (even though they fall short, like others).

8. They believe in hell and are loving enough to warn people about it.

9. They believe in heaven and sing about how good it will be to go there.

10. Their “social action” is helping the person next door (like Jesus), which doesn’t usually get written up in the newspaper.

11. They tend to raise law-abiding, chaste children, in spite of the fact that Barna says evangelical kids in general don’t have any better track record than non-Christians.

12. They resist trendiness.

13. They don’t think too much is gained by sounding hip.

14. They may not be hip, but they don’t go so far as to drive buggies or insist on typewriters.

15. They still sing hymns.

16. They are not breathless about being accepted in the scholarly guild.

17. They give some contemporary plausibility to New Testament claim that the church is the “pillar and bulwark of the truth.”

18. They are good for the rest of evangelicals because of all this.

19. My dad was one.

20. Everybody to my left thinks I am one. And there are a lot of people to my left.

Homemaking A-Z Meme Going Around

Okay, I guess I’ll play. My sister-in-law & cousin are doing this one, so I’ll join in. Feel free to join us!

Aprons – Y/N? If Y, what does your favorite look like? I have quite a few, but don’t use them.
Baking – Favorite thing to bake – I LOVE to bake, but try to limit it due to sweet intake. Cookies, bread (sweet & loaf), cakes. See what I mean?
Clothesline – Y/N? Yep. Love it especially for blankets, sheets & towels.
Donuts – Have you ever made donuts? Oh, yeah. The best! The kids don’t remember it though, so I probably should do that one of these days.
Every day – One homemaking thing you do every day – tidy up the rooms. Preferably before dinner.
Freezer – Do you have a separate deep freeze? Definitely. Couldn’t make it without one at this point.
Garbage Disposal – Y/N? Absolutely no. Can’t stand them.
Handbook – What is your favorite homemaking resource? Our Fields family cookbook.
Ironing – Love it or hate it? Don’t love it, but do it most mornings because our family loves cotton clothes.
Junk drawer – Y/N? K & I each have one. Plus a junk garage & attic.
Kitchen – Color and decorating. Blueberries & plaid with a gingerbread trim. Love it!!
Love – What is your favorite part of homemaking? The fresh clean smell & feeling in the spring after deep cleaning, breezy open windows & fresh cut wildflowers in the summer, the well stocked pantry in the fall & feeling of bounty, putting the winter decorations up together & rocking by the fireplace when it’s done.
Mop – Y/N? Swiffer only.
Nylons – Wash by hand or in the washing machine? Haven’t worn those for a decade, but used to be a washing machine thing. Of course being “delicate”, I’d throw them in an old pillowcase & knot it before washing.
Oven – Do you use the window or open the oven to check? Both. Probably peek in more, though.
Pizza – What do you put on yours? Hawaiian, please. The kids & I love pineapple & K does Pepperoni, so we almost always go half-sies. K makes out like a bandit!
Quiet – What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment? Mull over Club or school stuff, make lists, play on the computer, or load up my iPod with talk radio.
Recipe card box – Yep. Still have the one my extended family gave me as a shower gift fourteen years ago – blue plastic. Still works like new.
Style- What style is your house? Nineteenth century farm, white with green shutters & all. Love it!
Tablecloths and napkins – Y/N? A must. Although we use place mats, not tablecloth. But napkins – each meal.
Under the kitchen sink – Organized or toxic wasteland? Organized. Grandma got me started on that.
Vacuum – How many times per week? Once a month. We don’t wear shoes in the house & it really doesn’t get dirty. Except around the edges in the kitchen. When I start noticing crumblies around there, we know it’s time to drag out the old sweeper.
Wash – How many loads of laundry do you do per week? Mondays & Thursdays are usually wash days. Average of about four loads each time. So I guess that makes eight.
X’s – Do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off? I always have a stack of lists going on. One for groceries, one for things to do around the house for the season, one for the day, one for the week, one for Club, one for… well, you get the picture. I am my father’s child.
Yard – Y/N? I usually do the flower beds & K does the lawn. When a baby’s on the way, the flowerbeds don’t happen. He dreams of training up his boys to take the lawn over for him real soon!
Zzz’s – What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed? Folding laundry. I save that to sit & chat with Hubby, then the kids & I have a “clothes party” the next morning to get them all in the drawers. It’s all in what you name it. (The kids won’t touch egg SALAD sandwiches, but love “Easter egg sandwiches”.)

Things Grandma Taught Us

Okay, so my cousin made a great list of helpful things she learned from Grandma & asked what we could add to it. That’s been one of the things that has been bouncing around my head this week as I drove the kids to & from field trips, etc.

Here’s the list that came to mind…

– ALWAYS wear your good underwear when you go out (to town). You never know when you’ll be in an accident & end up in the hospital where everyone will see it. (Now, this one was not a joke! It does cause one to stop & think however, & I really can’t imagine my underwear staying real fresh should a said accident causing me or my loved ones to end up in the hospital occur, so it really makes no sense, but there you have it.)

– When shopping for Christmas or birthday gifts, you want to find “something nice”. We all know what that means. You’ll know it when you find it. (tasteful, sometimes practical but often frivolous yet useful, uniquely that person, etc.)

– Always make your bed first thing in the morning.

– If you need something, you ask family first. That’s what family is for. You DON’T go outside the family to ask for help. (ex – moving, favors, special babysitting jobs, etc.)

– The higher your hair, the closer you are to God. (See Grandma Dora’s picture for proof.)

– Of course, you get what you pay for.

– It is a crying shame for good, rich farm land to be used for anything but farming. (She was not a fan of all the new building projects going up around here ON FARM LAND.)

– When in doubt, go with pink.:)

– When it’s hot, walk down to your daughter’s pool for a “Jeanie Dip” – wade waist high, stroke the water around your hips, catch up on the family news, & never get mad at the kids when they splash you (they always do!)

– There’s some kind of genetic mutation that causes approximately half the women in the family to attain a “dribble spot”. Started with Grandma, I think, but how do we know, really?

– And I would say the most important lesson Grandma lived out for me: Love, honor, & respect your husband. You’ll have a beautiful marriage & kids/grandkids who love to come home. ALWAYS be your husband’s number one fan.

I’ve started a list of things Grandpa taught us as a second installment…

– Eat before you’re hungry & sleep before you’re tired.

– Drive slow & watch for deer!

– Wear socks.

– Take a break & watch a nature show or two. It’s good for you.

– Kids today don’t learn anything at school. One proof: Leigh Ann’s direction sense. Never mind that his daughter Gwendolyn has the same issue.:) Grandpa would refer to the north or east side of stuff & expect a city slicker kid like me to know which side of the building he was talking about!!! Can you imagine? I have to say, I’ve gotten better at that after seven years out here on the farm. I know MY place, but don’t ask me which way’s north if we’re sitting at church or Burger King. That will never come, trust me! My brother says my life verse is Hebrews 11:8, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called…And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” That’s not a schoolin’ problem, I have “directional dyslexia”, thank you.

To Do List of a Homeschooled First Grader

I found this laying around – too cute! She made it all on her own. List making runs deep in the family…


For a larger version or translation, go to Flickr.

Through the Eyes of a Six Year Old

The other day I picked the brain of my little gal for posterity’s sake. Here are the results…

What are some of your favorite things?

taking a break from seeing Anders
playing with my cousins
pretty hair ribbons
princess dresses
chicken nuggets
hoop earrings
dramatic things
Uncle Paul on stage
reading Magic Tree House books
night lights
my beautiful mom
my handsome dad (It’s flattering to make the list & all, I just note where we are – somewhere between night lights &… pork?)
bread & butter
the big fat pig at the Iowa State Fair – Toot
music boxes
paper dolls
glasses (she wants ’em)
hanging upside down on the trapeze bar
cotton candy
climbing trees
family camping trips
fairy tales
my slip (it’s white & satin so feels fancy)
hot chocolate with whipped cream