Parents have a responsibility to ensure that their children get the best education possible. Fundamental amongst the preliminaries of education is language. Language is the basis of all communication and doing it correctly requires training. Therefore, talking to the child in proper meaningful sentences is the first step. Similarly, reading books out loud to your child helps building language skills, even before the child can speak. When you go about you daily chores, explain what your doing to him/her e.g. ‘I’m now chopping the onions’, ‘I’m going to the cereals aisle to buy some Corn Flakes’. Encourage the child to speak by asking questions ‘What am I doing now?‘, ‘What do I need to bake a cake?’ etc.
This builds a verbal foundation in the child’s mind, which, in later life will help him/her to think, to plan, to explain and articulate their ideas. It helps the child understand that language is organized in words, phrases, clauses and sentences. You must read and re-read over and over again to the child because repetition builds literacy. These early years are crucial in making or breaking the habit of reading. Therefore it is important that this early reading experience is enjoyable, it should be full of excitement and curiosity.
What follows is a suggested reading list for children ages 5-9. In the early stages the books should be read to the child and then discussed informally. When the child can read by him/herself the informal discussion should continue regardless.
Verna Aardena, Who’s In Rabbit’s House?
Joy Adamson, Born Free
Aesop, Aesop’s Fables
Joan Aiken, The Kingdom Under the Sea and Other Stories
Lloyd Alexander, The Book of Three
Tony Allan, The Time Traveller Book of Pharaoh’s and Pyramids
Hans Christian Andersen, Andersen’s Fairy Tales
Stanley and Janice Berenstain, The Big Honey Hunt
Heywood Broun, The Fifty-First Dragon
Marcia Brown, Stone Soup
Anne Civardi, The Time Traveller Book of Viking Raiders
Carlo Collodi, The Adventures of Pinochio
Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; James and the Giant Peach; The Enormous Crocodile; The Magic Finger
Walter De La Mare, Tales Told Again
Charlotte Dixon, ‘Ali Baba and the Fourty Thieves’ in Tales from the Arabian Nights
Louise Fatio, The Happy Lion
Rumer Godden, The Mousewife
Syd Hoff, Danny and the Dinosaur
Rudyard Kipling, Just So Stories
Andrew Lang, The Blue Fairy Book
Edward Lear, The Complete Nonsense Book
Hugh Lofting, The Story of Doctor Doolittle
A. A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh
Philippa Pearce, Tom’s Midnight Garden
Charles Perrault, Puss in Boots; Cinderella
Beatrix Potter, The Complete Tales of Peter Rabbit
Felix Salten, Bambi
Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child’s Garden of Verses
Frank R. Stockton, The Best Short Stories of Frank Stockton
Adrien Stoutenburg, American Tall Tales
Leo Tolstoy, Fables and Fairy Tales
Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook
Yoshika Uchida, Magic Listening Cap; More Folk Tales from Japan
Clyde Watson, Father Fox’s Pennyrhymes
Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
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Three hours with Mortimer Adler on one DVD. A must for libraries and classroom teaching the art of reading.
I cannot exaggerate how instructive these programs are–we are so sure that you will agree, if you are not completely satisfied, we will refund your donation.
Please go here to see a clip and learn more:
Assalamu alaykum Mawlana,
I pray you and family are well, ameen. Jazakallahu khayran for this. These are some of the things we need a lot of guidance on from our Ulama. I pray we will see some of your insight and research on homeschooling on this blog, and in particular am STRONGLY feeling a need for something on the effects of television on intellectual/social capacities of children.
As salamu alaykum
The above blog may be of interest to you. It’s written by a parent who seems to be homeschooling his children successfully.
There are pictures of his family, but you can just ignore these
Although I have not read many of the books on the list, of the one’s that I had encountered as a child, I can imagine that they’d be most conducive to the development of the minds of children.
Mushfiq, I believe Shaykh Hamza Yusuf has written or at least spoken about the subject.
P.S. I am sorry for dragging on our brief correspondence, but I do not wish to impose myself upon you, and so was wondering whether you might find yourself less busy sometime so that I might visit at the As-Suffa Institute.