Friday, September 12, 2014

Oregon Trail Books for Elementary Kids

Here's the rough draft of Syd's book report on A My America: A Perfect Place: Joshua's Oregon Trail Diary, Book Two:

After Syd had finished, she read it to me sentence by sentence and watched me rewrite it by hand, standardizing the spelling, grammar, and punctuation and putting it into paragraphs as I wrote. We didn't work through any more edits than that, as I was so pleased with the detail in her plot summary. She and I can talk through writing an introduction and contextualizing her information another time.

This week spells the end of our pioneer unit study. With some unit studies, I've had trouble finding enough resources to suit (History of Video Games and History of Drama unit studies, I'm looking at you!), but there were loads and loads and LOADS of resources to use in studying frontier and pioneer history. Here are some of our favorites:


I should note that while Syd read the first two fictional trail diaries and the picture books, and listened to the Jim Weiss recording and the Little House books, Will read ALL of these independently. Assigned reading is an especially effective way for Will to learn, since she's such an avid reader, and having her read these "extra" books is one of my favorite ways of leveling the same subject for two different grades.

One flaw, however, that I have just noticed as I'm recording what we read, is that our list is very, very historical fiction-heavy. The problem is that there are just so many wonderful titles in historical fiction concerning frontier history and the Oregon trail that whenever I was faced with the choice of giving a child a non-fiction book or one of these living histories, I always chose the living history.

Ah, well. There will be plenty time for fact-based research the next time our interests cycle around to the pioneers.

On a related note, I have pre-ordered this book--


--and I could not be more excited to read it in November! I hear it's going to be quite dishy...

2 comments:

Tina said...

Where did you get the Jim Weiss audios of the Little House series? Emma and I have been interested in listening/read this series for a little while, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

julie said...

Oh, I WISH that Jim Weiss had recorded the Little House books! He has a separate recording of short stories set in pioneer times.

I don't really like the vocal artist who does read the Little House books, Cherry Jones, but the kids don't seem to mind her and I got more used to her style as the books progressed. The recording company would have been better served, however, by hiring actual singers to do the songs, rather than requiring poor Ms. Jones to struggle through them; every time a song started up on the audiobooks, Matt and I would just look at each other and wince.

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