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    #237066 - 03/10/17 06:15 PM Book review for appropriate content?
    sanne Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/30/16
    Posts: 289
    My 9 year old gave me a list of books he wants to read. How do I screen them for content without reading them? Are there any good website out there?

    His list is
    Ivanhoe
    The Great Gatsby
    Jane Eyre
    The Lady With the Dog
    The Waves
    The Bear
    As I Lay Dying

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    #237068 - 03/10/17 10:23 PM Re: Book review for appropriate content? [Re: sanne]
    RoyalBlue Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 03/03/16
    Posts: 23
    I use common sense media a lot, but I only found two titles from your list there:

    https://www.commonsensemedia.org/book-reviews/the-great-gatsby
    https://www.commonsensemedia.org/book-reviews/jane-eyre

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    #237069 - 03/10/17 11:02 PM Re: Book review for appropriate content? [Re: sanne]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4959
    You've received great advice above. Online study aids such as Cliff Notes and spark notes may also help a parent pre-screen a book for content.

    Cliff Notes summary of Ivanhoe.

    Cliff Notes summary of Great Gatsby.

    Cliff Notes summary of Jane Eyre.

    Spark Notes summary of The Lady With the Dog.

    Spark Notes summary of The Waves.

    enotes summary of The Bear and Spark Notes summary of The Bear.

    Cliff Notes summary of As I Lay Dying. This book may be disturbing for a nine-year-old... and may require a lot of guiding conversation with a parent.


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    #237073 - 03/11/17 09:25 AM Re: Book review for appropriate content? [Re: sanne]
    sunnyday Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/08/14
    Posts: 86
    Most of those are classics, and if the child is willing to tackle them, I'd probably be willing to have the hard conversations they provoked. But on the flip side, the Common Sense Media reviews reminded me that I'd also want to be reading along -- I prefer to guide my kids' exposure to old-fashioned social constructs like the casual racism and sexism that is sometimes prevalent in older novels.

    I'm trying to get my kids into Oliver Twist and Robinson Crusoe and not having a lot of luck, given that the themes aren't science fiction or fantasy. wink It's terrific that your guy is interested in novels that are so driven by character.

    What's his recent reading before this?

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    #237078 - 03/11/17 11:11 AM Re: Book review for appropriate content? [Re: sanne]
    sanne Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/30/16
    Posts: 289
    Recent reading is nonfiction / academic. (Edited to add: and poetry. He loves poetry and has been reading haiku anthologies lately.) We have not approached literature in the past. He has read most fo the children's classics, Harry Potter series, Series of Unfortunate Events,etc, but that was several years ago. His reading level is college level, his ability to extract from texts is college level (he took college placement test already). His ability to find and discuss themes is nonexistent because we haven't done it.

    I looked at the links Indigo and RoyalBlue posted (THANK YOU!) and WOW, not sure I want him reading that stuff. Jane Eyre, The Bear, and The Waves seem less objectionable than the others.

    He got the idea to read these books from watching Great Courses "The Art of Reading", part 1. I have the AP Lit & Comp reading list, I'll start screening those books for him too. smirk


    Edited by sanne (03/11/17 11:13 AM)

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    #237084 - 03/11/17 03:03 PM Re: Book review for appropriate content? [Re: sanne]
    sunnyday Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/08/14
    Posts: 86
    Mine aren't quite there yet -- at 8 and 10, their lexiles are in the 1000s and 1200s respectively, but their stamina doesn't hold when it comes to doing more than a few dozen pages at that level.

    But even as a college-educated adult with a high IQ, I find that it takes building up to get to the point of being able to keep focus on a long book with complex sentence structure, arcane vocabulary, and intricate plot. So I'd just kind of keep that in mind, that the skill of sticking with and unpacking a complicated piece is different from the skill of reading a few sentences of a certain complexity. The thing that has only become apparent to me in the past few years is that this skill is definitely something one can build progressively! It's like weight-lifting or distance running: you can't jump straight in to a marathon, there's some intermediate steps -- even if you're in shape to start with. wink

    Happily, I recently rediscovered my bookmark of this amazing thread about progressively building reading levels...you might find it interesting, too. http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/...llenging-works/

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    #237085 - 03/11/17 04:35 PM Re: Book review for appropriate content? [Re: sanne]
    sanne Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/30/16
    Posts: 289
    Thank you!

    My son wants to learn to read historic writing styles fluently..... only because of his competitive nature. He adores vocabulary. LOL He has ADHD and tends to skip/sim more than read. He will have to re-learn to read, essentially.

    Schooling decisions are always in limbo, one semester at a time, but if he stays homeschooling, my plan is to spend a couple years reading and unpacking literature and then get AP Lit & Comp course materials. Getting a 4 or 5 on AP lit & Comp is a shoe-in for the local community college.

    For you and your readers, you might enjoy vocabulary.com's list feature. Click on "Lists" and search for the book your kids would be reading next. You'll find vocabulary lists, practice and even spelling tests. You can make your own word lists too! We've used them for spelling tests, prepping for books, and I use it just for playing. They have GRE word lists with the most amazing words! ❤. LInk for example: https://www.vocabulary.com/lists/333622

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    #237086 - 03/11/17 04:59 PM Re: Book review for appropriate content? [Re: sanne]
    Peony2 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 10/02/14
    Posts: 21
    Why does he want to read these books -- because he wants to read something meaty, something "smart people read" or some "real literature for adults"? Is he trying to get prepared for a college course? Or is something about these particular books really appealing to him? Sometimes a book, even a book apparently "unsuitable", can really speak to someone, so I'm hesitant to say never -- but I'd be pretty dubious about most of the listed books (except Ivanhoe), and I'd also advise against the majority of AP Lit books for a nine-year-old. Too many have themes that at a minimum aren't going to speak to, and may just confuse or upset a nine-year-old, and be discouraging, rather than encouraging a love of reading and development of understanding and reading skills.

    I'd prefer to take that ambition and energy and love of reading and direct it towards books that will speak to and promote the kid's understanding. Of course, it depends on your kid. But in my opinion, typical reading lists for adults or later high school students (so AP Lit lists, for instance) are very poorly suited for many super-bright, strong-reader young kids.

    I started to make a list of authors or books I or my kids read around age 9 or 10, but my list turns out to overlap so much with the list at that welltrainedmind thread sunnyday already mentioned (see the post by Hive Mind Queen Bee -- list starting with Alice in Wonderland) that I'll instead recommend you look there.

    The OP asked for resources to help with screening books: As already mentioned upthread, CommonSenseMedia is quite informative when they happen to have a review of the book you're considering. Study aids such as CliffNotes do tend to be available for a lot of books assigned as high school or college reading, which would be quicker than reading the books. But my advice is even quicker: stay away from AP Lit reading lists or most of what's on intro college course reading lists when you want a good choice for a nine-year-old. The exceptions, when you can find them, are wonderful; but in general, those sorts of late-high-school/early-college reading lists nowadays slant towards the emotionally wrenching: while they have intellectual challenge and literary merit, they're rarely going to pitched right emotionally or thematically for bright but very young readers.

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    #237087 - 03/11/17 05:47 PM Re: Book review for appropriate content? [Re: sanne]
    sanne Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/30/16
    Posts: 289
    Peony2, his motivation is acceleration. He wants to go to community college. :gulp: He has a pretty good idea of what that means because I took classes last semester and he did his online schoolwork on campus with me. My teachers let him attend my classes semi-regularly.

    This school year he starte with local distrcit's virtual charter school where he was grade skipped to 7th grade - a formality after subject acceleration...in every subject. This got him access to high school classes. He was utterly disappointed in high school classes. Too easy. He quit. I pulled him out to homeschool. He jumped deep into electives and now is attempting AP biology and Algebra 2, plus electives. His motivation is finding depth (novelty?) and starting college. He took college placement test for english last summer and scored in the top 2/3 of incoming students for grammar/comprehension, he bombed the writing part though.

    I'm okay with him taking single community college classes as soon as I'm confident it's not throwing money away. If he can handle prepping for AP tests, he can probably handle a college class.

    I don't know. He LOVES english and it's his strongest **and weakest** area. Asynchrony is hard. He hates that people hear what math he's in and thinks he is a math savant. Math is his weakest subject and he does not enjoy it. I don't know how to get him over-the-hump in english.

    He seems to either not understand the emotional content or ignore it. He also loves opera and I was worried about how much suicide and infidelity is in opera. Totally over his head. :relief: I wonder and worry that learning to "unpack" literature might make the emotional accessible and distressing.

    I am reading the well trained mind link and taking notes!!

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    #237089 - 03/11/17 06:46 PM Re: Book review for appropriate content? [Re: sanne]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4959
    If interested in looking at parent-recommended reading lists for gifted kids, have you noticed the Recommended Resources forum has threads on book recommendations by age... including Book Recommendations: age 9-12?

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