A Kindergarten Read Aloud Banquet

by Lisa Ripperton
January 3, 2019

      Every child should have an opportunity to hear a story and a song, a poem and a rhyme every day of the year. With the Kindergarten Read Aloud Banquet now available at Gateway to the Classics, it is easy to make that happen for five year olds.

      When you enter the Read Aloud Banquet, you are greeted by a brightly illustrated rhyme and a selection from Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses. Upon refreshing the screen, a new rhyme and a new poem appear to delight the reader.

      Scroll down and you encounter a set of nursery songs for the current month with sound controls so you can start and stop them. These songs come from The Baby's Bouquet and The Baby's Opera, selected and illustrated by Walter Crane. Click on the song title and you will see illustrated sheet music for the song, often followed by a full page color illustration, like the one pictured below. According to Frances Epps, "The Baby's Opera and The Baby's Bouquet are perfect feasts of delight to little people of two years old and upwards; the picture and music alike fascinate them." ("Song for the Nursery," Parents' Review, Volume 1, pp. 144-164). Every month automatically brings a new set of songs fitting for the season.

       Scroll down to the bottom and one of the 17 richly illustrated tales from Frederick Richardson's Book for Children and Old, Old Stories Retold will be on view. As with the rhyme and poem, a new folk tale appears when you refresh the screen. A few of these tales have accompanying audio, narrated by Daniel Ripperton.

       In scrolling to the bottom we passed over a schedule of readings for every day in the week. The week displayed corresponds to the week of the year. In this plan there is a story and a rhyme to read each day. Click on the week number in the lefthand column to display all the readings for the week that you can then copy into a file for offline reading, if need be.

     As you can see from the overview of the reading plan below, the stories and rhymes come from a variety of different books in a range of genres. Instead of reading one book straight through, with this plan you read from a different genre every day of the week, with each book read once a week over a number of weeks.

​       While only 12 weeks of ​the plan are available for your perusal now, the other 40 weeks will appear in due course. The​ yearly plan consists of four 12-week blocks, with a 4-week holiday block at the end of the year. ​Where possible, books are started at the beginning of a 12-week block. The stories in the books read on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday ​should be read in order, from the beginning. ​The stories in the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday books, which could be read in any order, ​have been arranged as much as possible to follow the seasons, at least for those living in the northern hemisphere.

       Subsequent posts will offer more information about the different books in this plan and why they were included.

           NOTE: The Kindergarten Read Aloud Banquet is NOT meant as a replacement for the reading of picture books. Nor is it meant as a substitute for participating in whole family read aloud time. Young children gain more than you might imagine from listening to books well above their comprehension level.

The Power of Reading Every Day

       The selections for a given day can typically be read in under 15 minutes, assuming no interruptions. With interruptions, of course, it will take longer. In the course of a year, if you read all the selections, you will complete the reading of THIRTY books in their entirety (all the ones pictured below), and selected stories from a handful of others. Granted, EIGHT of them are one-time reads, but that still leaves TWENTY-TWO substantial books to finish in the course of a single year!

Spreading a Broad Feast

       In offering the Kindergarten Read Aloud Banquet we are spreading a broad feast. Children who partake are likely to show a greater interest in the out of doors, wonder more about the lives of children in far away places and in bygone times, have a greater capacity for expressing their thoughts, and have more examples to guide their actions. Take a look at the Kindergarten Read Aloud Banquet now, try it out with your child, then share your thoughts with us by adding a comment below.

Puffed Sleeves: A Gift to Warm the Heart

​by Rebecca and Lisa Ripperton

One of our most cherished books that we read aloud as a family was Anne of Green Gables. In fact, we adored Anne so much that we not only read Anne of Green Gables, but also every other L.M. Montgomery book that we could get our hands on! These stories seem to be evergreen, never failing to uplift our spirits and reanimate our imaginations.

We were recently reminded of a scene that many of you will doubtless remember warmly, and so we thought it would be great fun to share it with our readers this December. Hopefully it brings fond and festive memories back to your families, too! May you all know the same joy that Anne felt upon receiving Matthew’s glorious gift this Christmas season.

Christmas morning broke on a beautiful white world. It had been a very mild December and people had looked forward to a green Christmas; but just enough snow fell softly in the night to transfigure Avonlea. Anne peeped out from her frosted gable window with delighted eyes. The firs in the Haunted Wood were all feathery and wonderful; the birches and wild cherry trees were outlined in pearl; the plowed fields were stretches of snowy dimples; and there was a crisp tang in the air that was glorious. Anne ran downstairs singing until her voice reechoed through Green Gables.

“Merry Christmas, Marilla! Merry Christmas, Matthew! Isn’t it a lovely Christmas? I’m so glad it’s white. Any other kind of Christmas doesn’t seem real, does it? I don’t like green Christmases. They’re not green—they’re just nasty faded browns and grays. What makes people call them green? Why—why—Matthew, is that for me? Oh, Matthew!”

Matthew had sheepishly unfolded the dress from its paper swathings and held it out with a deprecatory glance at Marilla, who feigned to be contemptuously filling the teapot, but nevertheless watched the scene out of the corner of her eye with a rather interested air.

Anne took the dress and looked at it in reverent silence. Oh, how pretty it was—a lovely soft brown gloria with all the gloss of silk; a skirt with dainty frills and shirrings; a waist elaborately pintucked in the most fashionable way, with a little ruffle of filmy lace at the neck. But the sleeves—they were the crowning glory! Long elbow cuffs, and above them two beautiful puffs divided by rows of shirring and bows of brown-silk ribbon.

“That’s a Christmas present for you, Anne,” said Matthew shyly. “Why—why—Anne, don’t you like it? Well now—well now.”

For Anne’s eyes had suddenly filled with tears.

“Like it! Oh, Matthew!” Anne laid the dress over a chair and clasped her hands. “Matthew, it’s perfectly exquisite. Oh, I can never thank you enough. Look at those sleeves! Oh, it seems to me this must be a happy dream.”

“Well, well, let us have breakfast,” interrupted Marilla. “I must say, Anne, I don’t think you needed the dress; but since Matthew has got it for you, see that you take good care of it. There’s a hair ribbon Mrs. Lynde left for you. It’s brown, to match the dress. Come now, sit in.”

​This selection is excerpted from the chapter "Matthew Insists on Puffed Sleeves" from Anne of Green Gables​, which follows Matthew ​from the time ​of first determining to get Anne a dress, ​through the difficulties encountered in procuring it, and ​lastly the joyous giving of it. ​We recommend Anne of Green Gables​ for family reading with children ages 11 and above. Don't dismiss it as simply a book for girls. My brother Daniel enjoyed it as much as I did!

​Many children's novels feature festive Christmas scenes. ​See the list that follows. Can you think of any others? Please share them by adding a comment​ below.

​Christmas Scenes ​in Juvenile Fiction