Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009


The Read Aloud Project – By the Numbers

readaloudprojectWhile rearranging book lists and other bits of housekeeping related issues last night, I decided to do a little number crunching for the last two years of read aloud goodness.  Well, really only a year and half because the first year we started in June, but you get the picture.

By way of explanation, the numbers below only include the chapter books we read as part of The Read Aloud Project and excludes the veritable cornucopia of picture books, non-fiction books, and other homeschool related books we have read in the past.  As anyone who has visited my house can attest, the page counts would be much higher if I were to include even a small fraction of the picture books.  Fair warning, dear reader, if you come to visit my children, be prepared to sit and read to them for the duration of your visit.

I’m just saying.

2011 (June – December)

Total number of books read:  10

Total number of pages read:  2,373*

Longest book:  “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” by JK Rowling (448 pages)

Shortest book:  “James and the Giant Peach” by Roald Dahl (160 pages)

Average number of books finished each month:  1.43

Month with the most number of books finished:    September, November, and December (2 each)

2012 (January – December)

Total number of books read:  24

Total number of pages read:  8,161*

Longest book:  “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” by JK Rowling (870 pages)

Shortest book:  “The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me” by Roald Dahl (80 pages)

Average number of books finished each month:  2

Month with the most number of books finished:  April and May (5 each)

Number of books finished the same day they were started:  2

*Note:  If we start a book in December, but don’t finish it until January, then the book counts in the year it was finished, not the year it was started.

1 Comment

The Read Aloud Project Housekeeping

readaloudprojectUp until today I had been organizing The Read Aloud Project based upon school year.  When we were homeschoolers that made sense.  I had to keep track of our hours for the state and blogging about our read alouds within that context made it easier for me to quantify our days.  Family life, however, orients itself better to the calendar so I’m changing how I reference the project here on the blog.

Some things will stay the same.  You’ll still find The Read Aloud Project home up at the top of the blog.  If you put your mouse over the menu, you’ll also be able to access the book lists from previous years.  I’ll also still be posting when we finish a book and share what we’ll be reading next.

The main change is that book lists will span from January until December in line with the calendar year.  That means I’ve split out 2011, 2012, and 2013 on their own.  Book #13 (“The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate”) under the old system will be called book #2 when we finish it in a couple of days.  Book #12 under the old system was really book #1 of this year.  I’m also working on going back and noting on previous book lists when each book was finished to make my records more complete.

So, in the event that you’ve been following along with our progress, now you know all there is to know (and won’t be confused).  :0)

More posts on read alouds here on the blog

1 Comment

Book #12 is Finished!

thelastolympianLast night we finished up the last book in the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series, “The Last Olympian” by Rick Riordan.  The kids were pretty pushy on this one.  Lots of “read another chapter” and “let’s read tonight” along the way.  We could keep going in the same theme and pick “The Lost Hero” next, but I need a small break before that.

Instead, #13 will be “The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate” by Jacqueline Kelly.  A nice change of pace.

Book #11 is Finished!

battlelabyrinthWe made better time with this one.  With the husband home lately, this isn’t exactly surprising.  It’s tough to tell who’s interested in this more – him or the kids.  Having another adult around to help with things has certainly given me more time and energy to read, read, and read some more.  I can see where having a partner who works a traditional schedule would be conducive to this sort of thing.

We’ve already started book #12, “The Last Olympian,” tonight.  So much suspense!  What a great time of year to finish off the series!



The Newest (and Recently Finished) Read-Aloud

I suspect, since the kid is in school, we won’t be able to meet our goals for the year with our Read-Aloud List this year. There just won’t be enough time to get everything done.  For that reason, it did seem a bit silly to add a book to the list.  On the other hand, after having finished the last read aloud, “The Sea of Monsters” by Rick Riordan, it seemed important to back up a bit and read the myth Riordan’s story is based upon.  Annabeth’s cleverness at referring to herself as “Nobody” when faced with getting her friends away from Polyphemus doesn’t really compute when you don’t know why she would refer to herself as such in the first place.  We’ve already touched a bit on these stories when we talked about the Ancient Greeks in history last school year so there is a background bit of understanding there, but there’s nothing like reading the story for yourself.

I went through many children’s copies of Odysseus before I was able to find one that wasn’t too simplified while also having a good overall presentation.  I agree with Linda and the commenters on her blog when they point out that the graphics and layout of a book is often just as important as the book itself.

I ended up selecting one by Rosemary Sutcliff called “The Wanderings of Odysseus:  The Story of the Odyssey.”  The artwork in the original version is fantastic, though I have to admit I like the cover art on the mass market paperback better.  Sutcliff’s version is written in such a way that it’s just about screams “Read me aloud!”  Her text flows surprisingly easily and had my kids enthralled from the very first page.  If you’re thinking about reading this book with your children, then I’d suggest starting with Sutcliff’s “Black Ships Before Troy:  The Story of the Illiad.”  In hindsight, that’s what I should have done.

Even the husband got in on this one and was as eager for me to finish it as the kids were – what would happen to Odysseus?  Is there a happy ending?

That makes this #9 and finished as of Thursday this week.  The old #9 “The Titan’s Curse” by Rick Riordan is the new #10 and we’re continuing on with that one, albeit a little slower than usual.


To Read is to Live

We’re HUGE Potterphiles around here.  I’ve read through the series more than a few times, my husband’s read the series, I’ve read the series to the kids, and members of our family have watched some or all of the movies more than once.

Some homeschoolers caution against reading the books aloud to your children because they reason that then they won’t want to read them on their own when they’re able and you’d be stealing their joy.  I never paid that much mind.  Hogwash!  Read a book just once?  Any book worth reading is worth reading at least a couple of times.


Well, ha on them!  Mr. J, my second grader, announced around the time that he was starting public school this year that he’d like to read the first book on his own.  Now he’s read the first book, the second book, and the first bit of the third book.

In four weeks.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce that the kid takes after me – both in speed of reading and love for reading things multiple times!  Yes!  Woot!  Hooray!  *does crazy happy dance*



It’s just that when I first met my husband he announced that he didn’t like to read.  My jaw dropped and I couldn’t believe it.  Not like to read?  I may have stared at him blankly or perhaps like I thought he had three heads or announced that the sky was purple.  Or green.  Books, stories, poetry, it’s like breathing.  Growing up, I’d spend hours reading until I could finish a 200 or more page book in one sitting and then kept going.  I questioned our relationship a little right there.

Just after Mr. J was born we moved to Minnesota into this small-ish apartment.  One income and graduate school meant we decided to go without cable which meant we didn’t get any tv channels…at all.  The husband looked at me and asked what it was that we were going to do after the kid went to bed.  Uh, read a book?  I didn’t take “I don’t like reading” for an answer and explained that perhaps, just maybe, it wasn’t that he didn’t like reading, but rather that he didn’t like what he was reading.  Big difference.  Now?  He reads slower than molasses on a winter’s day, but at least he’s found his books.

Right up until I taught my kid to read, encouraging my husband to find his kind of book was one of my biggest accomplishments.  Just call me the ambassador of books.  I’ve done it to my husband, my son, and while my daughters can’t read on their own, they too love stories of all kinds.  Don’t believe me?  Just ask the folks at the YMCA’s Childwatch or any visitor to my house.

Like breathing.

I think my work here is done.

1 Comment

Book #8 is Done!

We finished #8 of our Read Aloud Project this evening right before the kids’ bedtime.  After a bit of a break they’ve been itching for me to finish the book so that they could find out how it ended.  Even my four-year old was intrigued by the possibilities for how the author might tie things up engaging me in conversation about the book and what I thought might happen over lunch this afternoon.  Super cute!

Book #9, “The Titan’s Curse” by Rick Riordan, is up next.