I am always looking for fun ways to sneak in learning, especially when that learning involves literature! As a child, I remember enjoying illustrated classics, abridged versions of classic books with illustrations, years before I was able to read the real-deal. Today, my kids enjoy illustrated classics, too. We have survived many a road trip thanks to abridged classic audiobooks.
Now, I am a reader. I have read many of the classics as a teen and adult and there is nothing better than the original story. The original contains the author’s voice, vocabulary, details, and imagery. That said, my children cannot enjoy these classics now. At 7, 5, and 4-years-old, the language is too difficult and they do not have the attention span, nor the desire, to muddle through until they understand. In time, they will, but they can’t right now.
Just as the book is always better than the movie, the classic is always better than the illustrated/abridged/graphic version. Still, as a lover of books and learning, I can see a place for abridged and illustrated classics. I believe that you can use illustrated classics as learning tools, including the following ways:
- Abridged/illustrated classics can be a great way to introduce young children to classic literature.
- These books can be a great way to engage the reluctant reader, and those for whom reading is a struggle.
- Abridged classics/audiobooks are fantastic tools for English language learners.
- The abridged classics on audiobook are a wonderful way to pass the time in the car or during quiet time.
With abridged classics, my kids are able to enjoy classic stories in a simplified manner that is engaging yet not overwhelming. The simplified version provides a baseline from which we can grow; in time, we can enjoy the actual classics and my children will have a foundation that will help them to understand more complicated storylines and language.
Our favorite illustrated classics
There are several series of illustrated classics that our family enjoys. First, we love all things Usborne. I know I’ve gushed about this before, but my children have yet to meet an Usborne book that they did not love. Usborne has a collection of illustrated classics that my children know and love.
Another series we love is the Classic Starts series. Many of the Classic Starts books include audiobooks and we love to listen to these during quiet time or on long car rides.
And then there are the Great Illustrated Classics. These are the illustrated classics that I enjoyed, many moons ago. I always smile when I see one of my kiddos with his or her nose in one of these.
Using abridged classics in your homeschool
A perfect example of this would be our Brave Writer project focusing on Fairy Tales, or our map skills unit study. Currently, we are enjoying a Shakespeare mini-unit. The possibilities are endless, folks!
Making the leap from the abridged version to the original
I love to read great books with my little poppies. At 7, 5, and 4-years-old, we have enjoyed many wonderful books together. There is something magical about a read aloud, and I cannot wait until we can enjoy unabridged classics together.
Soon, we plan to read classics – the actual, original classics – at home. I have no doubt that my little bibliophiles will adore them. My hope is that these early days of reading and discussing illustrated classics will help their enjoyment and understanding of the classics I adore.
Do you need an Usborne fix? Or, do you want to earn FREE BOOKS before the holidays?
For those who are unaware, Usborne no longer sells on Amazon. This is the reason why I decided to become an Usborne consultant earlier this year. If you are looking to add some Usborne to your bookshelves, I’m happy to help. Whether you want to order online or host a FB party and earn free books, I’m your girl. Send me a message, either here at MLP or via my Usborne site.
Now, it’s your turn. Tell me: Have you incorporated abridged classics into your homeschool routine? Share here.
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool and GeekMom. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Scary Mommy. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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