“Living” A Book Is An Alternative And Exciting Way To Learn
By: Suzie Dalien, M.Ed.
If you are willing to get involved with a book you want your child to read, you are already on the cusp of a summer adventure. Instead of just reading together why not take your books a step further and live them together? It will take work on your part but the results will last your child for a lifetime. The following three books will give you ideas but, don’t limit yourself to these books!
Book Ideas To Start “Living”
1. Little House series – Laura Ingalls Wilder is known worldwide for her books documenting her life as a child on the American prairie. Pick one of the series and try to replicate the conditions. Pick a weekend and do not use electricity, do not drive, get water from somewhere other than the faucet. Use the books and try to replicate meals/snacks and lack of both. Stick it out from Friday evening until Sunday evening (of course, during this time, you will be reading aloud more from the book or moving to the next book). You’ll find you and your child have much to talk about for weeks to come.
2. If you want to go with a hypothetical situation with your tween, try the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Read about it and decide where you would “run away.” Talk about the advantages to living in secret in a museum as opposed to other places. Work in some field trips so you can all be sure about the advantages and disadvantages. Depending where you live, you might even be able to arrange a sleep-over at your local museum or zoo to lend an extra dose of realism.
3. If you have a tween child who values what they learn from television, The Hatchet series of books might be right up your alley. Read the first book together and then plan a few camping trips – working your way from electricity/running water to primitive camping. Let your child experiment just as the protagonist in Hatchet does. Keep track of what works and what doesn’t.
The tween years are the perfect years for taking/testing a book to its limits. It’s up to you to decide the level of discomfort and the amount of control you’re willing to give your child. It’s worth the small sacrifices you might have to endure to make literature real for your child.
As a parent, have you ever tried “living” a book with your child? If so, what were your experiences?
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