Teaching Children's Literature

“A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.” ~C.S. Lewis

Books That Mattered

Little House on the Prairie Books

I still remember opening the Christmas package from my great aunt that contained the entire series of Little House on the Prairie books.  My great aunt was a school teacher in a one-room school house and loved to talk about books with me.  This was a special gift and she knew that I would be instantly hooked when I read these books.  I can still picture the yellow cardboard box which held all nine books and the perfect spot on the bookshelf next to my bed where I put them.  I also remember how much I loved the shiny award that was on the front of Little Town on the Prairie.

I was proud to have the whole series of books.  I felt accomplished as a reader when I had finished the series.  This memory enables me to recognize the power of a series of books for students.  I notice the excitement displayed by my students when they learn there are multiple Nate the Great, Flat Stanley, or Amelia Bedelia books to read or even a picture books series such as Pete the Cat.  They are motivated to read several books in the series which allows for opportunities to compare books and characters within the series.

I recall these Little House on the Prairie books so vividly because not only did I read them, but I also pretended being a teacher with them.  I would line up my stuffed animals and read the book aloud to the animals.  What foreshadowing to my career today.  These books mattered because they motivated me to read and they were part of the groundwork toward me becoming a teacher.  I hope my students feel this passionate and motivated about reading the books to which they are being exposed at school and at home.

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5 comments on “Books That Mattered

  1. kristinconradi
    May 23, 2013

    I’m a huge fan of the Little House series as well. I even owned a bonnet… we used to play Little House all the time. Great post!

    • melissapncsu
      May 24, 2013

      I was Laura Ingalls Wilder for Halloween in the fourth grade. I thought it was very fitting that Montana also was LIW for Halloween one year; she asked before she even knew that I had done the same thing. We read through several books in the series as night time read alouds. Fun times!

  2. mrsgourdin
    May 23, 2013

    I’m curious if the Little House series dates us? Do kids still read these? I got the boxed set when I was 9, and I was thrilled. I think it is because the t.v. show was so popular. I wonder if it still has the same effect on kids who didn’t grow up with the show. I would always picture the characters in the book to look just like those in the show. I bet reading them without knowledge of the show would completely change the visualization that occurs with the stories. Would this be a good thing, or a bad thing? It was a good show!

    • melissapncsu
      May 24, 2013

      My fifth grade students read them in literature circles. A few of them had seen the TV show. After reading one book in class, I noticed that several students checked additional books in the series out from the library. However, they were not reading them on their own before then.

  3. brittanylaube
    May 26, 2013

    I agree that a series of books can be so powerful. I have read many of the Strega Nona books to my class and each time they are excited to learn more about the silly things that Big Anthony will do. When I was little I loved Strega Nona, and as I got older I loved the A Wrinkle in Time series and the Harry Potter series.

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This entry was posted on May 23, 2013 by in Books That Matter.

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