Reading Aloud to Young Children

by | Reading Aloud | 3 comments

I am just getting started homeschooling, and have found your book and website to be a tremendous help. My oldest is five and learning to read using TATRAS, and my husband and I are so pleased with her progress. We definitely appreciate your recommendation of that program. In fact, my husband is a first grade teacher, and he wants to learn more of the methods used in it so that he can help his students become better readers. I also really appreciate how your book continually points back to the Bible, and not just intelligence or knowledge. I knew right away when researching homeschool approaches that I wanted to use a classical style, and I feel like I have a great road map to help me navigate through something that is new to our whole family. Thank you for sharing your experience! I do have a question with reading aloud to the children. Mine are young, ages 5, 3, and 9 months, so the books so far that I have chosen are in the juvenile section of the library. We have read through the Little House series, and my children especially enjoy Milne’s Pooh books. I recently read Wind in the Willows, but was a little surprised by the rough name calling, and frequent use of the word “ass.” I realize that the book was written over 100 years ago, and so the usage at that time might have been appropriate, and so when I would come to it, I would just skip it, as well as some of the insulting name calling. I also wasn’t sure how to best approach the chapter in which Mole and Rat come to the island where the young otter was, and found their demigod there. The animals worshiped, and the book we had had a picture of a half man, half goat. I didn’t feel comfortable reading the chapter, and was pretty sure my husband would not have approved reading it to our little ones, and so I skipped most of it. I am curious to know how you handled similar situations when your children were very young, or what you feel is appropriate when reading to such young children, and running into questionable words, names, or situations. Your input would be greatly appreciated! Thank you again for your work. It has been a great blessing to us, and will continue to be for many years.

Kristen, Ohio

I would handle it exactly as you have. If it is questionable in your mind, then skip it. I did it often.


  1. Kendra Fletcher


    We have had to do some heavy editing over the years. I have married people, given boyfriends or girlfriends the title of “just friends”, and skipped whole chapters I didn’t think some of my kiddos were ready to tackle yet. It works for us!


  2. Spacebunny

    Edit as you see fit – they can always read the “unabridged” version if they choose when they are older.

    If you are looking for books to read to them – the five year old is old enough for Narnia, my kids started reading them aloud to us at four and half and thoroughly enjoyed them.

  3. Janice Miersma

    I have frequently done some on-the-spot editing, but we also want to teach our children to confront the evil that is in the world. If we sanitize books too much, as they get older they will find out, and will perhaps have doubts about our trustworthiness. One of the purposes of reading aloud with our children is to teach them how to recognize and confront the sin that is in the world from a safe place. I don’t recall the age my children were when we read Wind in the Willows, but I believe, at some point I explained what the author was doing here and its roots in paganism. At the same time, the book, like the Chronicles of Narnia, is fantasy and should be explained and evaluated as such. As your question pertained to very young children, I would certainly agree with skipping the entire section.


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