Poetry Teatime: The One Where Daddy and Emma Read Together

Gary and Emma read a book called “Ask Me” together. This book is by Bernard Waber, who is known for his book, “Ira Sleeps Over”. ¬†The audio is not good because of a video game playing in the background interfering with the sound. Sorry about that! I didn’t know until I listened to the replay. I will make sure nothing is playing in the background the next time I record a video or do a scope. We also have some squeaky doors in our house. I hadn’t noticed how noisy they are until I listened to this replay.


Abby spins her eyes around and around and says she is seeing the world!


And I read a poem by Jack Prelutsky called “The Lynx of Chain”, from the book, “Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant”.


Then Morgan reads a poem called “Me” by Walter de la Mare and another one called “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” by Maya Angelou.


Watch the video here:




Shakespeare Study with Morgan

Morgan found the book I conveniently placed on the table during Poetry Teatime today! He brought it to me and asked if I got it from the library. I did. He was all excited. I said, “I also have this” and showed him the CD’s that go along with the book.


Thus began my Shakespeare study with Morgan.

We read and listened to Hamlet from the book and CD by Charles and Mary Lamb called Tales from Shakespeare.

This is a paraphrased retelling of 20 of Shakespeare’s plays.

We only listened to Hamlet tonight. I am reserving the Signet Classic book of the complete play at the library. I plan to read it with him as soon as it comes in.

That should be fun. Morgan is so theatrical and loves all things British. So I’m looking forward to some great times of reading aloud and enjoying his British accent and flourishes as only Morgan can do them.

I have been waiting all this time for a kid who wants to study Shakespeare. Finally.

Read Aloud Revival


We read books together as a family. This has been a great way to bond together. Otherwise, we may never gather together. Our group is made up of 12 very independent, distinct individuals. Can anybody relate?

As our children have gotten older, it has become more difficult to get everybody together.

At the time of this writing, I am actively homeschooling my youngest 6 children.

The oldest children are grown up. They are seeking their own paths for the future.

What a tough transition this has been for them and for me, their mother.

But I am still committed to reading aloud to my children.

I read three books to my six youngest children during Advent.

I Saw Three Ships by Elizabeth Goudge

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp

Ishtar’s Odyssey by Arnold Ytreeide


We are also reading The Green Ember by S. D. Smith. The kids are really enjoying it. Even the boys!

And I found a new author, Elizabeth Goudge, and started reading The Bird in the Tree and Pilgrim’s Inn by her. I loved them! I knew Shawn, my oldest, would love them, too. So I asked him if he would like to read them with me, as in I would read them aloud to him. He agreed, and we have been reading them together. It is so enjoyable to both of us to enjoy these wonderful books together. What a heartwarming, pleasant way to spend time together, enjoying the characters, the words, the story, all of these things TOGETHER!

I found out about these last several books from my newest favorite source of good books to read aloud. The Read-Aloud Revival podcast by Sarah Mackenzie. She blogs at Amongst Lovely Things and you can find the podcast in the links at the top of her page.

Her purpose statement is to build your family culture around books.

I am in complete agreement with that purpose.

She has a membership site that is awesome! I highly recommend signing up for it. There is a fee of $9.95 until 1/6/16. After that, the price will go up.

But the podcast is free.

At least make sure you go listen to her podcasts. I’m sure it will cause a Read-Aloud Revival in your home, like it has in mine. I am excited about reading aloud again.

And that has made a difference in the unity of our family. It’s important. At least, give it a try.

If you only have young children, read picture books to them. She has a podcast about that.

If you have older kids, read something you can all sink your teeth into.

Try it! It’s fun! And it’s good for all of you.

The Wheel on the School is About So Much More Than Storks

The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong
Pictures by Maurice Sendak

This story is about storks… and so much more.

It takes place in a Dutch village called Shora.

Shora has no storks. The six schoolchildren of Shora decide to find out why the storks always fly over Shora but never stay there and nest. They discover that storks need trees and wheels on the roofs of buildings to build nests on. Shora has no trees because of storms that come in and spray salt water everywhere and kill almost all of the vegetation. Most of the buildings have sharp roofs, so storks would not choose to build a nest on them. There are no wheels on top of the buildings (for obvious reasons!)

The teacher at their school gives them an assignment to find out how to attract storks to Shora. Through this simple assignment, many wonderful, exciting, amazing things happen to many people in Shora and the surrounding region.

Relationships are strengthened and new relationships are formed. Children learn the history of their town, their families and the people of their town. Families are helped. A community comes together to accomplish something great.

And the children learn that older people really do matter, really do have something to add to their lives. They know things about Shora that nobody else knows! They remember how things used to be, and they are not “miles of years away”, as the schoolchildren thought they were. Before the stork adventure.

The schoolchildren learn so much – outside of the school building! They learn things they could never have learned from books.

I read this story to my older kids when they were younger. It is recommended for children 8 and up.

Now I’m reading it to Garrett and Fiona. They are 9. It is one of our favorite stories. It is very well-written, which is no surprise because Meindert DeJong’s stories are all well-written, in my opinion.

There are so many different ways you could extend this story for a unit study.

Geography – You could use maps to find the flight path of the storks from Africa to Europe, specifically The Netherlands. You could study The Netherlands and the dikes and the land that is below sea level, and the ways people have developed to live in such a naturally inhospitable place. You could learn all about The Netherlands, also known as Holland.

Science – You could study all about storks. You could also study about storms. There’s a big one in the story.

History – Study the history of The Netherlands and the culture, especially of the fishing villages on the coast.

Research Project – You could have your kids do the same kind of thing the kids in the story did. Tell them to think of a question they want to know the answer to, and then have them research to find the answer. If it is something that they want to do, then help them find the materials they need to make it happen.

Creative Writing – Students could write a story about storks or some other bird that children helped to make nests in places where their habitat had been disturbed. Or this could be extended to any other kind of animal that needs help finding a suitable place to live.

There are many ways to extend the story if your children are interested in a particular element from the story.

These ideas could also help you to develop a lapbook based on the story.

If you are looking for a good read-aloud for your family, I would highly recommend The Wheel on the School.