Friday, May 31, 2013

7QT: Q&A

Sarah asked, "What is Junior Classics Literature?" Here you go, little mama...
Junior Classics Literature {affiliate link}
Starting in about 2nd or 3rd grade, whenever my kids are reading proficiently on their own, they start using these books for their literature study. Heavy on the literature, light on the "study". Basically, it's just a matter of exposing them to a lot of different kinds of great stories. We don't worry about book reports. We do a little discussion when they come to tell me about something exciting or something irritating they read. But "literature study" for the younger grades has always been very laid back around here.

Sadly, I believe they are out of print. I purchased mine as a set from Amazon many years ago, but you can purchase them individually {affiliate linkto acquire them a little at a time. I think mine are a 1948 edition. I don't know if other editions have all the same stories or not.

Bigboy's favorite so far has been book #2 Stories of Wonder and Magic. This book has many great and wonderful stories including The Magic Fishbone by Charles Dickens, Prince Rabbit by A. A. Milne, The Light Princess by George Macdonald, Aladdin from Arabian Nights, How Boots Befooled the King by Howard Pyle and various stories from Hans Christian Anderson. Most are short stories although in some other books there are excerpts from novels. All of my kids have read these books. Usually averaging 2 books per year (sometimes 3), these books comprise their "literature study" for 2nd or 3rd-6th grade. Light on the study mind you, heavy on the literature. They either read for a set number of minutes or a set number of pages per day with the option of finishing a story if it captivates their attention and they don't want to wait.

Not all of them have loved every book. The Professor slogged his way through the third book, Myths and Legends (because he really isn't a fan of mythology) and then was rewarded with Hero Tales (above) which he loved. But the point was, he had to read the myths and legends. He has always been a great reader but likes to stick to his comfort zone. These books forced allowed and encouraged him to expand that comfort zone. And sometimes, reading the excerpts inspired him go off and read the whole novel... Gulliver's Travels for example.

Mind you, these are not "readers". The books do not start out at an easy reading level and get progressively harder. That why I count them as literature study, not "reading". These books are for kids who are reading on their own or else could be used as a read aloud resource. I admit that we don't do a ton of read alouds. My husband has done more of them with the kids than I have. They enjoy audio books and they enjoy reading to each other, but they have also very much enjoyed reading on their own. What I love is that the stories come from great works of literature but are very child appropriate. Here are some shots of the table of contents of a couple of the books.
 #1 Fairy Tales and Fables
 #3 Myths and Legends
#5 Stories that Never Grow Old
You'll notice that the Lamb version of Midsummer Night's Dream is in this book. I know there are some people who believe that a story version of a classic such as this isn't a good idea. Just wait until the child can read the real thing. I think these people believe that exposing them to a story version will diminish their desire to read the real thing someday. I've found that these versions almost always lead to a greater interest in the original work.

Tracy asked about the figures on The Professor's shoulder. Hmmmmm... how to explain this? Well, he has a summer job. He is going to work as a camp assistant for a group that teaches engineering principles using LEGO. So basically, he's getting paid to help kids build with LEGO. Seriously! It's like every LEGO fanboy's dream job! Well, he had to submit a picture for the company roster and they said he could include a favorite LEGO or two. He chose his two favorite minifies to sit in his shoulders.

It wasn't until after we submitted it that I realized it looked a little like this:
Yeah, riiiiiiiiiight!
Oh well, they did say it could be a fun picture!


  1. Love that photo of your young man. I can see a little bit of all your kids in his face!

  2. THANK YOU!!! :) oh my, another set of books I simply must have...

  3. Luckily I got my mom's set when she was giving us our old books a few years back. I always loved the Junior Classics! Etsy has copies, too. "The Light Princess" is one of my favorites, even now.

  4. Just bought the whole set on eBay for less than $40. 😍

    1. That was supposed to end with a smiley face!!! :)

  5. thanks for the great tip. i remember reading a similar set as a girl.

  6. Good thing I'm going through my shelves this week for an upcoming curriculum swap, because I just bought that set, thanks to you and Sarah's note that they were on ebay! :) Dh is so totally going to just shake his head, because just yesterday I was bemoaning our lack of shelf space...

    And what an awesome job your son has!!

  7. I just had my mom looking through all her bookshelves and sure enough she still has this set! :) They are in my youngest brother's bedroom (which was my room many years ago). They were from my grandmother (Dad's mom) who was always purchasing old book sets for us! I think I need to start looking for a set for my kiddos... they would probably really enjoy them!

  8. Ha, now I know! Not that I was losing sleep over it or anything. Dream job! I can see something like that in my son's future.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and yourself!