I have mentioned a couple of times lately that my daughter is very interested in learning more History. And the wonderful thing is she is not picky about which time period, she just wants to learn about anything and everything that happened in the past. She finds it totally fascinating learning about how people lived, the events that occurred, who was in power, what they ate, anything really she finds it all interesting. And as much as we do History projects, History reading together, looking at events, working through activities, watching documentaries she is still wanting to read more by herself. But she is still a sensitive kid and can find some topics cause nightmares (the black death is something she struggles with). So we have been trying to find a balance between giving her that independence to read more History by herself but taking into account that certain bits can be upsetting.
One of the ways we have found around this is be using readers – yip that is right – readers. We have found that the BIG CAT reading series has a number of really good Historical titles in their collection. She loves them. They are perfect for her. She reads them by herself and then finds a topic that she wants to learn more about and comes and tells me what it is and we start researching it in more detail.
As much as the readers are working for my daughter the surprising thing for me is how much my son has also enjoyed then. My son is NOT a fan of History. Really he is just not that interested, so I have to try to find an angle with him – normally it is an engineering / invention angle. However he will sit and read a History reader as well. Which totally blew me away the first time I saw him doing it. He has informed me that the readers are “Bite-size history sessions”. So for him the reader contains just enough information and manages to keep it interesting.
He LOVED the Vikings in Britain book and has since read and really enjoyed the How to be a Knight and How to be a Tudor books – both of which he says are “way better than the History books from the Library”. (That is him in the photo below with the How to be a Knight in ten easy steps reader open while he tries to make his toy knights historically accurate)
When I first started home educating the kids I always thought of readers as just that reading practice. But as I started to explore the different series of books that you can get I realized that readers can be more than just boring reading practice. Some readers can be entertaining and the kind of book that the kids will want to read over and over again. And some readers can be brilliant topic starters, ways to introduce something new to the kids and find possible areas of interest that you can expand on. For us the Historical readers that we have been using have been just that (and so much more). They are readers and they tick all the right boxes in terms on introducing new vocabulary etc but they are also informative and a great way of opening the kids eyes to a new possible topic.
The Books that I mention in the post and that are in the photos are these ones
Sister Queens: The Lives and Reigns of Mary and Elizabeth: Band 15/Emerald (Collins Big Cat)
Early Kings of England: Band 14/Ruby (Collins Big Cat)
Vikings in Britain: Band 14/Ruby (Collins Big Cat)
How To Be A Knight: Band 09/Gold (Collins Big Cat)
How to be a Tudor: Band 14/Ruby (Collins Big Cat): Band 14 Phase 5, Bk. 16
Roman Life in Britain: Band 12/Copper (Collins Big Cat)
The Life and Times of William Shakespeare: Band 18/Pearl (Collins Big Cat)
Discovering Tutankhamun’s Tomb: Band 15/Emerald (Collins Big Cat)
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“Bite size history”. I love it!
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I always find your entries so interesting…this one too. Your children are learning so much and most of the time are unaware of it.
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