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Adapted/Abridged Classics

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  • smithamykat
    replied
    Also, a big yes to reading aloud good books that they may not be ready to tackle independently. My oldest was slow to catch fire with independent reading, but he has heard so many good stories and has a really advanced vocabulary because my husband reads aloud to our kids every night: James Herriot, Arthur Ransome, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Mark Twain, Jim Kjelgaard, Ralph Moody, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Swiss Family Robinson, Black Beauty, Treasure Island, The Winged Watchman, Free as a Running Fox...and many more that they probably would not have enjoyed on their own because of advanced vocabulary. But with a good adult reader, who will stop from time to time and explain a word or plot point, the stories are loved and remembered.

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  • smithamykat
    replied
    Originally posted by Rayburn Girls View Post
    Thanks ladies! So glad to hear all of this. I think I just need to find some really good age appropriate literature rich 3-5 grade books. Please send some suggestions! I just can’t do most of today’s literature.
    Anything with an MP literature guide is good! But for free reading, my kids need a lot more quantity, and it's necessary to have plenty of suggestions to head them off from the terrible stuff that's popular at the library (though they do read some fluff too).

    I have used these suggested reading lists extensively (and even though they are targeted to boys and girls, I would offer both to any child). They are in order from lowest reading level to highest, so they start with picture books and wind up with high school/adult level books.

    https://www.memoriapress.com/essenti...ls-books-list/

    https://www.memoriapress.com/martins...ys-books-list/

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  • enbateau
    replied
    This really depends on the exposure to rich language of your reader. I think the reason why reading aloud is so important is that you have the opportunity to discuss unknown words as you read. We read Where the Red Fern Grows last year, and it was such a beautiful experience as a family. We got to laugh with and root for a character, be devastated, be encouraged, be thrilled. We looked up the setting on a map and looked at pictures of hollows and lowland forests. We took a field trip to a valley and identified sycamore trees near the water's edge, found hollow trees where a racoon could hide, and waded out into an ice-cold river. It brought the book to life. At Christmas, we read A Christmas Carol, and then we watched Townsend videos on how plum pudding was made and researched the Victorian era through books and living historians. I know that my eldest could have easily read either book, but the only way I can *know* the words are understood is if I ask while we're reading it together. I would much rather let my kids read decent literature at their reading level than gloss over words they don't know and get a quick thrill from an exciting plot.

    Here's my basic rule for expanding good literature: Find out what MP schedules in literature, read-alouds or history supplemental readers, and then find other works by the same authors. From this, we've purchased tens of Childhood of Famous Americans biographies and Landmark books, which led us to The American Adventure Series (Christian historical fiction), the literature selections we missed from 4M, and more. After Charlotte's Web, we read Trumpet of the Swan and Stuart Little. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, Twenty-One Balloons, Around the World in Eighty Days, Robinson Crusoe, Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Great Brain, Catherine Called Birdy, and Misty of Chincoteague came next from the HLS recommended list. After Little Women, my eldest read Eight Cousins, Little Men, Jo's Boys, An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving, and anything in Alcott's world. We also found the Grandma's Attic series, The Perilous Road (Sonlight rec) and selections from Bethlehem Books (Son of Charlemagne, Galen, etc).

    To me, and this is just our approach, really good literature needs a foundation of excellent vocabulary and a slightly broad understanding of history and the world. By reading widely some literature that isn't the finest (and I don't mean bubble-gum, stream-of-consciousness writing), a student can gradually build a foundation upon which to layer truly good literature.

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  • Rayburn Girls
    replied
    Thanks ladies! So glad to hear all of this. I think I just need to find some really good age appropriate literature rich 3-5 grade books. Please send some suggestions! I just can’t do most of today’s literature.

    Leave a comment:


  • momgineer
    replied
    For most books I am not fond of abridged versions. Usually if they are not old enough to read the original, they are not old enough for the themes anyway. I have a few exceptions and those are they very difficult to read, full of lots of information, and important books. Books like Shakespeare’s plays, Iliad, Odyssey, and Aeneid. I think it’s valuable to read through retellings of these stories so children know the basic plots and the main characters so when they read the full versions they can grow in their understanding because they know the basics. So books like Trojan War, Children’s Homer, Blackships Before Troy and the Lamb’s Shakespeare are helpful. A lay aspect of these books, too, is they are beautiful literature unto themselves. These authors set out to write a children’s book worthy of being read regardless of the story it is based on. The mass produced abridged series seem to be simply trying to do what Classical Composition calls reduction. Just tell the basics and leave out all beautifying extras. At least the ones I have read are just, “This happened and then that happened and then there was this and finally the end”. I really don’t like when my niece gives my little one her TV show books- Disney, Barbie, My Little Pony and such. My daughter even picked up and book and said, “Oh, I know this episode!” It was just a point by point plot summery of a TV show. Grrr. Sometimes I feel like some of the abridged books are just that and don’t show any beauty from the story. The ones that are written to be good books in and of themselves are much more appropriate to me.

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  • Ect876
    replied
    I agree with a lot of what was said above- in general you miss out on something when you already known the plot!
    THere are also so many wonderful age/reading level appropriate books- "skipping ahead" means missing those great books while also means missing out on the joy of encountering the "classics" when you are truly ready for it to work it's magic on you!

    Leave a comment:


  • enbateau
    replied
    I agree. My only exception will be if my youngest is a struggling reader or doesn't pick up concepts as readily as a sibling. Children with speech or language-based difficulties will benefit from hearing storylines reduced to their basic, understandable elements. Then, at a more age-appropriate time, they can go back and hear it read (or read along with an audiobook) and soak up that goodness.

    We are reading Howard Pyle's Robin Hood right now. I cannot believe my youngest is getting anything out of it because the language is so old, but I stop every now and again to explain terms or summarize. We also ordered Black Ships Before Troy. Maybe this is crazy, but I think I ordered it for me.

    I was disappointed my eldest had read a Chick-fil-A version of Heidi (super reduced). She said she loved it and that it made her want to read the whole thing, but it would have been so nice for her to experience all the intended catharsis of Clara walking or Heidi getting back home.

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  • Rayburn Girls
    replied
    My daughter is 7 and in first but easily reads 4th-5th grade If thematically not too mature for what I want her to read. She wanted to read black beauty and I let her but the language is so different and some of the words she needed help syllibitizing, which I don’t mind doing. A few chapters in she came to me discouraged didn’t think she was understanding. She gave me a narration of what she read; we started the book over and she read it to me. She was spot on in her narration. But now we are sharing chapters reading it to finish just bc it is taking her so long. And she wasn’t enjoying it as much as she thought.

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  • smithamykat
    replied
    My personal approach is to encourage them to wait until they are ready for the full book if it is something I think is a truly important piece of literature. I don't want them to know the plot of, for instance, Jane Eyre or A Tale of Two Cities, from having read an abridged version, because the gradual unfolding of the plot, along with the beautiful language, is an indispensable part of reading those books. I don't want them to miss the thrilling moments when they are reading the real book and gasp and realize what Sydney Carton is going to do or who is upstairs at Thorn ield Hall. Those abridged classics just seem to state everything in a very dull way, in my opinion, without the beauty of the original writing, and that's a shame.

    Having said all that, there are some that I don't really care about, and here's where it's quite personal. I'm no big fan of Jules Verne (ducking head), so I cheerfully let my son read an abridged version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

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  • RHoffman
    replied
    I would say it depends on your kiddo. I was very motivated to read through more difficult literature when I was young. I really wanted to read Uncle Tom’s Cabin when I was in 5th grade and though it was difficult I was so proud of myself at the time and found joy in the difficulty. You didn’t mention your child’s age but if it is just that the reading is difficult but they are interested and capable, I would always let my kids tackle a great classic they are interested in if the themes are appropriate. My Kindergarten and 1st graders...I read them adapted versions of Treasure Island and Tom Sawyer.

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  • Rayburn Girls
    started a topic Adapted/Abridged Classics

    Adapted/Abridged Classics

    Hi there, I am hoping I can get some wisdom from more experienced mommas. I am torn about adapted or abridged classics. My daughter is interested in reading some but cannot read the original versions just yet. Most of those are 7th grade level. I'm just torn. My experience as a kid is I read some "great illustrated classics" and then never picked up the others until well into my adulthood years (i.e. the ones I read to them aloud). Part of that I guess is I went to public school and of course it wasnt encouraged and my parents didnt care what I read. So here is my question:

    Is it ok to read adapted versions until they are ready for the full deal?
    Will it ruin the original versions?
    Do they get any rich language from adapted versions?
    There are so many versions/pulbications. Which ones would be worthy if it is not harmful to have them read adapted versions? Classic Young readers, Great Illustrated Classics, Classic Starts, etc

    I just feel torn I guess if this would first of all be beneficial or harmful in the long run and which ones to even go with?

    Thank you for any input and wisdom you can offer.
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