Read-Alouds: Exploring Kaya’s World

I’ve decided to start trying to do a Thursday post on read-alouds.  It’s under the inspiration of my friend Courtney’s new “Read Aloud Wednesday” link-up.  We’ll see how it goes, but I’m going to try to write this most Thursdays.

Over the past couple of months, we’ve been heavily reading books from the American Girl Kaya doll line. This week we read Kaya’s Short Story Collection.  This is not one that you’ll want to tackle until after you’ve read the main books in the Kaya series because you won’t know some of the main characters and why they’re interacting the way that they do.

This book has 5-6 stories, and after each story there’s a small 3-4 page segment where you look back at different aspects of life in 1764 for the Nez Perce Indian tribe.  From these segments, we examined beavers, gathering food, salmon hunting, vision quests and other aspects of indigenous life.

Of course, on the downside, Rose has been going through the American Girl catalog and looking at Kaya and all her accessories and pets.  She’s been getting lots of ideas already for Christmas next year!! LOL

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We also read, at my suggestion,Wilhelm Roentgen and the Discovery of X-Rays.  We had been studying the skeleton in a science curriculum I had reviewed before Christmas.  One of the extra study suggestions was to learn about x-rays, so we dove into this biography.  It was actually fairly interesting for a biography as it covered Roentgen’s entire life and some of the most important parts of how the discovery of x-rays has affected science.  We put Roentgen’s discovery of x-rays in our timeline book so we could remember about it in the future.

The most interesting detail, according to my children, was that Thomas Edison had a lab assistant who was the first person ever to die of overexposure to x-rays.  The first indicator that something was wrong was when the flesh began rotting off his arm.  Yikes!!

DSCN0037 We also read The Long Way to a New Land.  This was an early reader book that had five short chapters.  In this book, a little boy and his family are moving from Sweden to the United States for a new life because they feel like they have so many more opportunities in the United States to feed their family and find work.  It was simple and sweet, and it gave the kids a concrete example of immigration.

This is a book Firecracker could have read without any help, and even though Rose is not a strong reader, I’m pretty sure she could have read much of it without my help too.  We read this mostly because it was recommended in our Veritas Press lessons this week, and I’m glad it was because I don’t think we would have encountered it otherwise.

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Firecracker picked out an interesting book called What Was the Gold Rush?.  You might remember that we worked through this period of history a few months ago, and this was a nice refresher of the facts in it.  We also learned more details than we had already learned, including stuff about the famous silver rushes and about different types of mining.  I also learned about some forms of racial prejudice that existed in California against Chinese and other foreigners during the Gold Rush.  Because we weren’t keeping our timeline notebook yet when we studied the California Gold Rush, we added a spot for this one in our timeline notebook.

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I added one other book in as a read-aloud this week, and this one is one that I plan to set up some activities with soon.   Walter the Baker is about a baker who makes the king and queen fluffy sweet rolls every day, but one day he runs out of milk and decides to use water instead.  The results are disgusting and the king and queen banish him unless he can come up with a delicious treat that the sun can shine through three times.  He, of course, quite by accident discovers the pretzel.  This is a great book to explore the science of pretzels, the importance of honesty, the trinity (as a branch off of pretzels), baking and even medieval castles.  Right now I’m focusing on reading it several times to the children (both younger and older) so that I can start strewing in some ideas to go along with the book.

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That about does it for what was a heavy reading week in our home.  I liked sharing a little more about the books that we read and why this week.  I’ll have to do it again next week. 🙂

As We Walk Along the Road

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