Trivium Pursuit

Do I have to read books in chronological order?

Our children are ages 8 and 11. Thank you for the “What to do…before age 10” article. I am trying to adapt a more loose structure for our 8-year-old (but finding it difficult to break from the format of traditional schooling!).

My question is in regard to your recent blog post about “good literature.” We are studying history chronologically and I often hesitate to read books from another time period than the period we are currently studying. We are focusing on the Middle Ages right now and are currently reading Our Island Story and Marco Polo as read alouds. We have already read Pyle’s Robin Hood, Greene’s King Arthur, The Little Duke and The Door in the Wall. We just finished Little Britches as well (oh my!, it took a while to calm our daughter after the ending to that one!). I hesitated to read Little Britches but found our children loved it (as did I). Do you recommend simply reading great books regardless of chronology? Will children intrinsically “piece it all together”? I have several books I want to read to them from early American History but keep waiting as we should cover that time period next year. What do you think? Thank you. Janine

I would both read books from the time period you are studying and books that you just happen to want to read even though they are not in your current time period study. The goal is to develop a love for the study of history (and a love of reading) and perhaps too rigid of a reading schedule will not help reach that goal. When you read aloud any book, you will want to record that time period on your family time line and locate on your globe the setting of the book. If the book is not in your current time period study, you will simply mention that to the children as you mark it on the time line. They can understand and it won’t confuse them.

By the way, other books you might want to read for the Middle Ages time period are two more by Howard Pyle — Men of Iron and Otto of the Silver Hand. You can get them as unabridged books on tape from Blackstone Audiobooks.

2 Responses to “Do I have to read books in chronological order?”

  1. Wayne S. Walker Says:

    I certainly second the suggestions for Pyle’s “Otto of the Silver Hand” and “Men of Iron.” We did them as family read-alouds and both our boys loved them.

  2. educator Says:

    That was good advice about adding it to a timeline. I also like to read related books to see how different policies effected the people, and that sometimes takes a bit of jumping around on the timeline.