Hooked on Twaddle

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  • eviesmomma

    I’m going to be hs’ing my kids at the end of the school year, so I’m pretty new to all things CM. My 9 yo loves reading, and my 5 yo loves to be read to. We’ve always had reading time on the couch together before bed, and recently I’ve been switching from reading things like Green Eggs and Ham or I Stink or Bad Kitty and Uncle Murray…lol. We’ve rented out a book of Beatrix Potter, a collection of Winnie the Pooh Stories, and a collection of Robert Louis Stevenson poetry.

    My 9yo girl is fine with it, although she will ask on every page what a certain word means, etc. My 5 yo boy, however, hems and haws about it with big sighs, saying these books are boring. “Can we be done now?” “I want to go to sleep” etc.  He has some sensory issues and has a hard time focusing anyway, but he always likes bedtime books usually.

    I look at the Early Years Read Alouds list, and if I for instance tried to read him the Little House on the Prarie books…lol, well, it would not be fun. We have the Carl the dog books, and he likes those, but there aren’t any words. Pokey Little Puppy was too boring for him, etc.

    Anyway, how do I wean these kids off of twaddle and onto good books? Is there just an adjustment period? My ds would much rather read about transformers or bakugans. My dd is also not up to the reading level for some of the books listed for her age, but she doesn’t mind learninig them. Going from reading about Bad Kitty’s antics to reading about Mr. Fox and Tommy Brock’s apoplectic snoring etc.,  just has us all a little uneasy…lol. Even I have a hard time explaining to them what in the world some of the Stevenson poetry is about! I guess I just need some assurance this is normal, maybe some tips? Have I damaged us all for life!? LOL


    That will be a big change for all of you, but a great adventure!  You haven’t damaged anyone:)  My kids have never been to public school, but still manage to gravitate towards twaddle books in the library.  My son (7) loves to find transformer books,etc.   I have decided to let him get a couple of those as long as he’s reading his other books too, that aren’t twaddle. I know a lot of people like Little House books, and Winnie the Pooh, but my kids were very unimpressed with those:)  So I backed off and chose other ones they like.  I’m sure others will have more experienced suggestions but here are some we’ve enjoyed.  For your 5 yr old, have you read the Henry and Mudge series by Cynthia Rylant?  I consider it “mild” twaddle.  It might be a good transition into non-twaddle books.  My son (and daughter) also really liked the Billy and Blaze series by C.W.Anderson.  They enjoyed Mr. Popper’s Penguins too.  Maybe you will just need to find more action books that are good for your son, like St. George and the Dragon, or maybe even the Narnia series?   I also find it so helpful on this forum to go to the bookfinder link, then choose the grade level for your child, and type Leisure Reading into the subject line.  You could do that for your daughter, only choose a grade level lower if that would help her.  Hope you get more ideas too!  Have fun and don’t worry, they will get used to it:) 

    Rachel White

    Have you tried Winnie the Pooh as audio book? My children didn’t like them until they were read by someone who can capture the characters, then they read them themselves after that. I recommend this version, unabridged by Peter Dennis, that is also authorized by by Christopher Robin:

    for download:http://christianaudio.com/winnie-the-pooh-a-a-milne

    or :http://www.amazon.com/Winnie-Pooh-Milnes-Pooh-Classics/dp/0786182407

    If they still d like them, at least enjoy them for yourself!

    Also, the Little House may not be appreciated by him till he’s 7.



    My children are eing me schooled for the first time this year, o they’ve seen plent of twaddle up to now. We are currently reading the Chronicles of Narmia series. They all love it. I always hear, “one more chapter, please.” that is from my daighter and both boys. It has been great.


    I’m sorry. That was supposed to say that my children are being homeschooled for the first time this year. 🙂


    Several years ago we had been a family that ate typical American food…McD’s, chips for snack foods, etc.  I began researching “real food” and began making the change.  Oh man…you would have thought I was killing them!  Except for my cinnamon rolls, they griped and complained.  But I stuck to my guns.  We recently got back from a vacation where we had to eat out most of the time.  You should have heard them complaining about the food.  “They call these eggs??  Don’t they know what real butter tastes like?” 

    So what does this have to do with twaddle vs. living books?  Everything.  When we’re used to junk food, we may rebel in the beginning about making the switch to real food.  But our bodies eventually begin to crave it instead.  When our minds are used to twaddle instead of “real books,”  our minds will begin to crave them instead.  Just keep going.  Not to say they can never read a transformer book (and not to say we don’t still have carry out pizza on occasion.)  It’s just not the main diet.



    I’m homeschooling 4 of our 6 children right now (2 young adults) and of these 4, I have two who would prefer more twaddly books if I allowed it. One of them has processing issues and so the vocabulary is an issue, and both are very visual learners so the switch to text only books was difficult. I’ve found several things have helped. With Littlest (8), in particular, we’ve made a slower switch from picture books to text only, and I’m making sure to still read him a picture book each day, in addition to a chapter book.

    There are many lovely picture books at the library that you may not find on the list but are still wonderful. Many have good meaty text, but the pictures may hold the child’s attention a bit longer as they become accustumed to a different type of story. I don’t know whether this is CM philosophy or not, but it’s a must for my two youngest as they transition. We’re reading fairy tales from a treasury we own – many are available at the library as well – one per night for youngest. Again, the text is not twaddly – we’ve found a number of classic fairy tales – but the lovely paintings help hold Littlest’s attention. We also have found many wonderful classics in volumes like these:



    There are more great beginning suggestions here, and I recognize many favorites:


    For books without pictures, I’ve found those with a bit more action as opposed to dialogue were best at first for these two; Pinnocchio, Homer Price, Charlotte’s Web. Keep your readings short – no more than 15 miutes at first – and remember that you don’t need to finish a chapter, just choose a point to leave off until tomorrow. I’ve also found that if the children have something to do with their hands, they’re actually able to attend better. This might be coloring, playing with a small toy in their lap, drawing a picture of what they are hearing about, etc. I do pause every once in a while (every few pages) and ask Littlest to tell me a bit about the story, so I can be sure he’s tuning in. Wonderful that your daughter is asking what a word means! I have been working very hard with my youngest to get him to do that, and finally he is – makes such a difference when they know what you’re talking about, LOL.

    I know making a change is hard at first, but keep going, you will all adjust and you will have such fun once you find the right place to start with them! They will get used to it and begin to really enjoy it before too long.




    Christine Kaiser

    I was/am in the same situation and like the comparison by RobinP made above. Every child is different, one may jump right in it and enjoy the change and with the other child it seems like endless torture with only little progress. But taste buds will change over time, sometimes just faster or slower then others. I started HS my DD last August, she went to a school with twaddle only books before. A lot of ladies here and on other boards recommended to start with Aesop Fables for Children, they are very short and make a very good narration practise. We are finally at a point, where she enjoys Aesop Fables for Children and makes first attempts to narrate! I was doubting what I was doing a lot over the last few month but I am confident her taste is changing and keep a long term educational goal. I still let have books here and there that are twaddle, because I don’t want to take away the joy of books and reading. Hang in there and have Faith!Smile

    My boys (7 and 4) didn’t like Winnie the Pooh (and neither did I – boy how guilty I have felt about that, ha! And we did try an audio version!) or Beatrix Potter or a lot of that stuff either. I would recommend the Billy and Blaze books. Also they like books by Clyde Robert Bulla. And I totally second the idea about really good picture books like St. George and the Dragon (boys liked that one too!). I have to say, ds7 does not get Aesop’s at this point. I love book lists – one I would really recommend is Read for the Heart by Sarah Clarkson. I also like to use the Truthquest Guides even though those are just for history. Don’t feel bad if they are’t into all the books. There really are so many good books out there – you just have to keep digging!


    Wow! Thank you all SO much for your ideas!! I’ve made an order at the library with a lot of your suggestions. I’m sure my ds will thank you! I guess for some reason I was thinking picture books were more twaddley, so it’s good to hear they are okay. Thank you also amama5 for the bookfinder idea – what a help! It’s good to know I am on the right track.


    My son’s probably would have me still reading to them if it wasn’t for more Twaddly type books. I have recently taken the twaddle out of their book shelf. However, they like, “Hank the cowdog” series and “Geronio mouse Stilton”at our library. I have limited the twaddle but I am grateful for a few books because they want to read everything now. So even if it isn’t the best thing for them they are reading harder books. They wouldn’t have been doing that if it wasn’t for some Twaddle. I was so happy to see my son pick a science book over twaddle at the thrift shop. 🙂 So, I havent’ ruined them totally. Well, at least not yet. 🙂 LOL… Anyway, I figure there is stuff I like to read and have a passion towards. They too will be drawn to a certain type of book. My father in-law loved westerns. I would never read one, I find them extremely boring. So, I guess you have to see what type book he likes.   He probably likes action packed books. Maybe you can find a real mystery type book. Maybe he is like my father-in-law. Maybe you can find an action packed true western story.  Something that can hold his attention threw out the whole book.  I think my kids first liked the “Miller’s” stories. It told a short story but held their attention.   Good luck and blessings removing the twaddle!    


    I usually just lurk here for advice, as I’m rather new to all this myself, but I love the fun reading books and have a rambunctious six year old. He really likes Margaret Mahy’s The Great Piratical Rumbustification & The Librarian and the Robbers (two stories in one volume) and How Tom Beat Captain Najork and His Hired Sportsmen by Russell Hoban. They have pictures and adventurous stories and combine a good deal of silliness with reasonably advanced vocabulary.

    I think the books on CD advice is good, too. I think my son would listen to almost anything in the car rather than have to keep himself entertained. It might be a good way to get them used to the more complex language.


    Have you tried any of the Bethlehm Books?  The website is great in that if you click on “Age Interest”, and the books are divided by age and readability level.   http://www.bethlehembooks.com/


    Some other good books our younger kids (currently boy age 6 and girl age 8) have enjoyed are…


    Trailblazer Books http://www.trailblazerbooks.com/Frame-1.html


    Kildee House by Rutherford Montgomery

    Mountain Born by Elizabeth Yates

    Understood Betsy (our dd prefered this, but ds did not)

    Gentle Ben

    Mr. Popper’s Penguins

    Ginger Pye

    The Wheel on the School

    Thornton Burgess books

    Clyde Robert Bulla books

    Follow My Leader

    A Triumph for Flavius

    Boy of the Pyramids

    Among the ….. People series by Clara Dillingham Pierson


    Our ds did like the Little House books and Winnie the Pooh.  Have you tried the Sonlight book lists?  We’ve drawn many favorites from this list.  


    I agree with RobinP and the others in that you may need to start slow, but eventually they will see the difference for themselves and start to crave good books. 




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