The leading reason I selected our core curriculum is due to the superb literature woven into the program. I highly subscribe to the philosophy that we write what we read. And just like with any other influence in our lives, the better the literature, the better the lesson.
Transforming our reluctant reader
So, each of my charming students (both kids, that is) have readers that graduate with difficulty throughout the year. The story selections are phenomenal. Anna began the year as a reluctant reader. She would declare her disdain for the written word and protest at the suggestion of reading. While it had been her mantra for quite some time, she had a subtle change of heart as our school year settled in. Nothing was forced, it was simply offered. Her reading selections that were part of her curricula were interesting to her. She had been stuck reading books that bored her. The basic stories that were previously provided for her skill level were of no interest. There was not enough plot or any interesting description.
Finally she was given some great historical fiction that drew her right in at her level and she hasn't looked back. Not once have we had to debate about her readers. She happily picks them up and often reads ahead. And it's because of the depth of literature offered.
In addition to the individual readers, our program has a history read aloud we do together in the evenings. David usually takes over with this and I often find all three snuggled together intently listening for the next page.
One recent read aloud was the missionary story of Gladys Aylward. She was a determined woman who passionately felt her calling was to serve in China. Her story is a moving testimony of the impact one person can have when their heart has a calling. I don't mind sharing that I caught my dear sweet, but very strong and manly husband crack his voice at the conclusion of the story. He was so moved by her perseverance in seemingly hopeless circumstances.
Can the movie possibly be as good as the book?
The Inn of Six Happinesses is a movie staring Ingrid Bergman that is loosely based on this story. Saturday night, we lit a fire and snuggled in to watch the flick. Too many times to count someone disappointingly declared "this did not happen" and wondered how there could be so many inconsistencies with the written story (starting with the title --"There are EIGHT happinesses!")?! As with most Hollywood depictions of great literature, the story was greatly modified and lost some things along the way.
The Ah-Ha Moment
It was certainly worth it to see our read aloud on the screen in spite of the departure from the original story. I was tickled as all get out that a lesson I have been sharing over and over was finally realized. Movies are never as good as the book. And they saw this first hand. It was beyond their reasoning that the movie didn't accurately depict Gladys's story as it left out so many of the details that truly exhibit her determination and passion.
I think it's safe to say movies - when inspired from a book - have been dethroned in our home. A good read is always better!
P.S. Incidentally there was a quote from the movie that spoke to me as I was sitting with my fresh new notebook on New Year's Day, planning our 2011. Advice was given to Gladys that "A life that is planned is closed. It can be endured but not lived." I put down my pen and snuggled in a bit tighter. Hollywood or not, I like that.
Image and more about Gladys here.