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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Abandoning a Book

I absolutely hate having to do what I did today: abandon a read-aloud selection. In discussions about the Common Core Standards and the importance of challenging readers with texts, I attempted to read J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan to the second graders. After two chapters, there were far too many breaks in the reading to check understanding. Despite their attempts to stay connected, their attention strayed to things out the window, others passing through the library, or the box elder bugs that somehow fly around the room each autumn.

So, I put Peter Pan back on the shelf and picked up a tried and true selection: Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Their questions were many.

Did they have stairs to get up in the attic?
Do people still have trundle beds?
Why did they store their food in the attic?
How could Pa retrieve his gun if it was on the wall above the door?
How did Pa get the nails in the hollowed up log for smoking the meat?
Why could Pa use a net to catch fish? Did he need a license?

We had to stop just before the butchering of the pig (sounds of slaughter came from some of the boys), and they begged for more. Now I feel better about my selection.


  1. Sounds like you made a wise decision.
    Thanks for visiting my blog and letting me know about the LTD read aloud.
    xx SC

  2. A difficult decision to abandon a book but we've all had to do it from time to time. You made a good choice.

  3. Very interesting to hear that Peter Pan didn't work as a read aloud. To be honest, it's a book I've never read, and now you've got me curious as to whether the print version would hold my interest. I'll need to check it out. It's reassuring to know that LITTLE HOUSE still engages listeners.

  4. I do it myself all the time, Brattcat, as you know from the books I abandoned at your house this summer. There are too many books I want to read to keep plodding through things that don't capture my attention.

    I had never read Peter Pan either, David. In fact, I never really liked the movie. But I did love the language in the book. I think it was just too much right now for the 2nd graders.