Posted in Booktube, Documenting Delight 365

The Benefits of Reading Classic Literature and Tips to Make it Less Challenging.

Documenting Read Aloud Delight 28-30/365- Scarlet Pimpernel

For those that are new here- the Documenting Read Aloud Delight project is one where I try to journal our read aloud experiences for one year.

We are currently reading the “Scarlet Pimpernel” and’s a bit of a stretch for us coming from Gary Paulson’s series on Tucket’s Travels.

The Scarlet Pimpernel

The story is fantastic and it is very action packet, the language though is only really engaging my two oldest girls. Before I go into some tips to make it more enjoyable when it is more challenging, let’s go over some reasons we should even bother trying.

Here are 6 benefits of reading classic literature:

  1. Quality literature will challenge any child with thought-provoking social and ethical situations, that will help build their own character development.  Studies have found that reading this type of literature not only makes a person a better reader, but also a better person in general. (Study here) There are many situations we hope our children never have to be in, (rescuing people from the guillotine is our current read aloud one), through books however, they can see inside what a person is thinking when acting bravely and also what happens to those who make very poor and cruel choices.
  2. Have you hear of Bibliotherapy? Many people believe this is a real thing, and quality books offer quality cathartic experience. Often we can read about characters struggles, cruel experiences with injustice and the effects of vengeance seeking. This reminds me recently of “Unbroken” how he dealt with some horrific injustices and how the idea of vengeance consumed him to the point of almost loosing it all. More powerful was the fact that it was a true story. We can also see how through perseverance and overcoming, that vengeance is a dish better served not at all. Again, as an example the character Louie in Unbroken instead got saved and completely forgave his former oppressors and lived a much better life because of it. These are powerful lessons.
  3. Literacy is a gift that we should not take lightly. God has given us the ability to read and write and we live in a country where the Word of God is so accessible (you can buy a KJV at the dollar store). Statistics say that Bibles are not even available in 57% of World Languages. Thirteen countries in the world have literacy rates below 50% and so when we read the Bible and other quality literature, we demonstrate gratitude for the gift of literacy we’ve been given by using the gift wisely and deeply.
  4. Get a clear window. It is said that books that reflect lives similar to ours are called “mirrors.” Books that give us a glimpse of a life different from ours are called “windows.” This is one reason that I love the Robinson Curriculum. The book list is outstanding and I know Dr. Robinson understood a powerful way to understand different cultures and historical perspectives, is through classics. For example on the list is “Up from Slavery” and autobiography from Booker T. Washington.  Literature bridges race, culture, and geography.
  5. It’s a challenge worth achieving. Challenges are good for the self-esteem. Yes, it is fun to read “candy literature” that’s what I call just for fun reading. I remember a time when I would pick up those US weekly’s while waiting to check out and I never felt accomplished after reading it. However the first time I read my Kind James Bible cover to cover, I felt very accomplished and knew I could do it again and again. The bottom line is you feel good about yourself when you accomplish something that was actually difficult.
  6. They stay with you. The books that challenge us are the books that stay with us. I can think of several books that were a little longer to read at bedtime to the kids, but brought tears to our eyes and we still remember them. A good book can feel like a loyal friend, with different lessons for different periods in your life. I know for certain the Bible is like that.

I am currently reading a great book called, “How to read a Book.” It may sound like a no brainer but hear me out. It actually has a lot of great tips and super meaty! In fact I plan on doing a short video series on it because I want to remember so much of it and I find that is the best way, by teaching it to others.

How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading

There is a section of this book that gives you tips how to reach up and immerse yourself in a book that might seem above your head. This kind of stretching is powerful in your reading and in reading to your children.

I have adapted some of the tips to apply it to Historical Fictional Literature- These are tips that you can apply and teach to your children when they read a book that seems more challenging for them.

Make the book your own! This is one downfall of library books. The best way to stay engaged and not to zone out is to take notes. If you are using a library book though, you can use post it notes to write in and stick in the book. Even with fiction you can write the important characters on the page and who they are. You can also do this on the front blank page and create your own sort of timeline or storyboard outline.

Mark Important moments – When you get to a part of the story that seems like it is very important, mark it with a star or some kind of mark or highlight. Then when you pick up the book again, you can over those highlighted parts.

Other Tips- Pretty much everything in this previous post about Bible reading can apply to more challenging books for children. 

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

–P.J. O’Rourke

I hope this post was encouraging for you. Let me know in the comments below what book was challenging for you to read, but you were glad when you finished it! What did you learn?


Posted in Booktube, Documenting Delight 365, Uncategorized

How I Find and Purchase Books- DD 27

My back to school shopping consist of mainly pencils, notebooks, graph paper, paper, ink and BOOKS. I love buying books vs printing my own still.

For me it’s a bit of the thrill of the hunt, of shopping, searching for that rare title. It’s a hunting trip where I don’t have to gut anything, Ha!

Many times it’s done in the comfort of my home on eBay or Amazon.

Tuckets Travels

More fun options are…

  1. Going to the thrift stores when everything is half off. That is how I scored these today for less than $5. This option is usually the cheapest unless I can get to the Goodwill clearance bins where things are always about 50 cents

2. Antique Stores are also a lot of fun. There is one by my house with a ton of vendors so I quickly scan for old books. That is how I was able to score these two today for a total of $11. These are books on the Robinson List so I felt it was a good purchase.

3. Libraries often have great sales too. I always check out the for sale section and usually find something I have on my mental wish list.

4. Second hand book stores are fun and have everything categorized for you. Sometimes they have great clubs and promotions so check those out.

5. Last but certainly not least is Facebook groups. There are a TON of fb groups with great literature for sale such as “Reshelving Alexandria” and all the subgroups. Also homeschool curriculum groups and even Facebook marketplace can be a great place to find a certain book. I recently found a Saxon 2nd edition books I wanted.

So how about you? Where do you like to shop for books?

Posted in Booktube, Documenting Delight 365, Uncategorized

DD 23/365 – Grammar-Land

We are still waiting for our new read aloud for the book club, so I picked this book for today. It is very clever how it teaches you grammar in a fun, story tale, way! It’s so old, it is available for free online.


I purchased mine on Amazon since it was so cheap and I love this little book. The kids after the first chapter wrote nouns on the white board and just having so much fun doing that. It’s amazing how simple things can be so much fun with a crowd of siblings.

Grammar-Land: Grammar in Fun for the Children of Schoolroom-Shire

You can also listen to it for FREE on LibriVox! CLICK HERE.


Posted in Booktube, Documenting Delight 365, Uncategorized

We finished! DD22/365

We finally finished Unbroken. I realized I knew nothing about WW2 before. Sure, I knew facts…but I didn’t know people’s actual living accounts of suffering unimaginable things. This is something textbooks just cannot really convey.

We are not waiting for our next read aloud to arrive from Ebay. The Scarlet pimpernel! Who has read it? This will be the first time for us.

Posted in Booktube, Documenting Delight 365

Documenting Delight 17/365

Today I am sad to say, I didn’t do any reading to my kids arg. It was grocery day and I was preparing a pernil for tomorrow and printing some books and catching up on laundry etc. One of those days.

It was just what I needed though to head off in the evening to hear one of my favorite authors speak, who is also a homeschooling mother of 6. It was SO good! Afterwards I took my time going home, enjoying just being alone (which is RARE) and headed to a bookstore. I bought some great classics I didn’t have yet, that were on clearance. Score!

As I got in the car to head home, I was a little sad at the thought I didn’t tuck my kids in. Surely my exhausted husband after a 12 hour work day, would not be in the mood to read to them. However when I got home, he informed me he did read to the kids one of their favorite books. It’s one of their absolute favorites I think, largely because of the voices Joe makes when he reads it. They crack up so hard! I think it’s sweet.

Bedtime for Frances (Trophy Picture Books (Paperback))

Posted in Booktube, Documenting Delight 365, Real Talk, Uncategorized

Inscribing Books for Your Children

I love buying old books. I bought a few on ebay today for our homeschool “history” textbooks, such as “Our Hero, General U. S. Grant”  not a reprint, an original from 1885! One of the things that I love most about old books is reading the inscription.  I always look for them and the ones that really tug my heart-strings are from mothers to their children. Sometimes it’s on Christmas or a birthday, which I think makes it more special especially with such old book, you realize those people are probably not on this Earth anymore. Somehow through all the donations, sales, piles in Goodwill bins, shipping all over the world, the book has remained in tact and carrying on that love, that sentiment felt in that one moment in time.

I started to inscribe my kids books recently and I do believe it makes them more special. It is like a little time capsule when I set a date on them. I hope they look back on them one day in the future and remember their mom loved them and thought about them.

Here is one I wrote in Alice in Wonderland. I used a quote from the book and added my thoughts.

Untitled design.png

I have so many faults, but when my children think back on their childhood I would like them to think that their mom loved them, enjoyed reading to them and loved books…and I hope they will love books too. I hope they will pick up these books one day, long after I’m gone, and feel like I am there with them at least for a moment. And if the Lord tarries and both my children and I are passed, I hope whoever finds this book takes a moment to wonder who we were and think about how this book was loved.

Here are my 5 tips for Inscribing Books for you Children-

-Set a date to when it was given and who gave it. 

“July 12, 1997. Silva, 37 years my Poe book has been on my bookshelf. May you enjoy yours as much. Love, Dad.”

-Mark the occasion– If the book is given for a special occasion, mark that in the book. Perhaps the occasion is a birthday or simply a book you thought they would enjoy it, document it.

“4/96. To Liz, Hope this will help explain to an American about one Europeans obsession that is football/soccer. Nick Hornby is not a Liverpool fan but this book still ripples the back of the neck[t]. Fond thoughts always, Tim .”

-Provide Some Life Advice-  This is one of my favorite ones to do as a mom, gotta sneak it in anyway we can!

-Echo an idea in the book, often through a quote. I really like this one. If I can’t remember one-off the top of my head, I will go a quick google search. I pick a quote that I like and expand on it.

 -Say what the giver thought was special about it. I try to personalize this to the children. I bought them a new Kate Dicamillo book and wrote inside that I bought it because I remember Izzy saying that she was one of her new favorite authors after reading  a couple other of her books.

Here is a fun website where people have sent in inscriptions they have found.

Let me know in the comments below. Do you inscribe your books?


Posted in Booktube, Documenting Delight 365, Uncategorized

Documenting Delight 13 & 14

We finished the last in the series, Tucket’s Home. The ending was good, and the notes at the end were perfection.

Yes, there is a good amount of violence in this series, but the reality is, all of it really happened. The journey out west was for many, their last. I think this is a better tribute to them, than to act like it was some pleasure trip.

I am glad my children understand how it really was, what people sacrificed, what mistakes can cause people.

Now we are diving full force into Unbroken. We are about 7 or 8 chapters in but now we will read more daily. This is another book where the reality of the deaths of WW2 will be something to absorb for all of us. It’s one thing watching an oversimplified youtube video, but it’s quite another to read an actual human beings account of his terrorizing experience. This is one reason why Dr. Robinsons says autobiographies are far superior to textbooks written by recent college graduates, I agree!