10 Mind Expanding Questions to Ask While Reading Out Loud

timmy_paReading out loud to our sons is great for bonding and enjoying common experiences. We know it develops vocabulary, increases listening skills, facilitates bonding and so much more.

But did you know you can supercharge his “mind expansion” by asking the right questions? Here are 10 questions to ask your child during or after reading a book which will help develop and grow not only his vocabulary and listening skills, but also help expand his mind.

  1. Using the cover art, the teaser text, the inside flap and introduction, what do you think this book will be about? What led you to that conclusion?
  2. How is the author telling us this story, from what or whose point of view?
  3. What do we know about the main character and why do we know this about him/her?
  4. Is the author setting us up to think something might happen, and if so, what in his writing leads you to believe that?
  5. What mistakes and what wise choices has the main character made and are they deserving of criticism or respect?
  6. What does the author mean when he/she uses a certain word/phrase/sentence? Why do you think the author use this word/phrase/sentence instead of some other description, explanation, etc.?
  7. How is the world the book characters lives in different from my world?
  8. How would you solve the problem the characters find themselves in?
  9. What was the plot of this book and how is this book different from other books we have read in this genre?
  10. Why do you think the author chose to tell this story, does the author have a bias or strong opinion that is coming through in the book?

Keep these questions handy and use them. But beware, your child might start thinking more independently and much deeper than his peers. This may cause problems with his teacher who may try keeping him quiet during book discussion time!

Meet J Arthur Moore

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Author J. Arthur Moore standing in his home by many of the books he read as a child.

J. Arthur Moore, husband, father, grandfather, teacher, historian, model train set collector, book collector, helpful neighbor, photography enthusiast, and author!

After contacting Mr. Moore (Joel) and asking him if he could send me some information so I can highlight his “boy” books on our site he invited me to his home. I have to admit, I really enjoyed my morning with Joel. As fellow educators we had loads to talk about, not the least of which was our love for getting boys to read.

Joel was a gracious host. He is a retired History teacher but still has a real passion for getting kids into knowing about and understanding history so it will come as no surprise that his 6 books all combine great stories that are engaging and filled with researched history.

While at his house Joel showed me volume after volume of manuals and books compiled from first hand accounts of the civil war. I am pretty sure you could wallpaper a house with the maps and letters he has accumulated. All of which went into providing details to assure accurate historical fiction. But don’t let that scare you from getting his books. They are very fun to read and mostly teach history “on the sly.” Joel has a particular interest in the boys who fought during the civil war. I was shocked when he shared that more than 250,000 boys, aged 17 and under fought in the Civil War.

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J. Arthur Moore even has books his father and grandfather read.

Joel also combined another of his beloved hobbies with his books. He enjoys photography and all of the pictures in his books are his own. One thing I realized about Joel, he treasures relationships. He spoke of several relationships with his children, grandchildren and even neighbors. He also spoke of several former students that he still keeps up with. So it should come as no surprise that the pictures of the book characters are all individuals that are in some way or form involved with Joel personally.

Along with being an author Joel also runs a few websites and speaks to audiences about his books and also about the boys of the civil war.

Joel was kind enough to give me copies of his 6 books. I asked him if Boys Reading Club could use the books for giveaways after they were reviewed and he said he would be thrilled for us to do that! So keep an eye out for multiple book giveaways coming May 2015!

Here are Author J. Arthur Moore’s books, all of which are great for boys middle school and up. However, they are great books for a father and elementary son to read together. I know both generations would bond over the moving struggles of the main characters.

UPDATE: Blake’s Story, Revenge and Forgiveness is now out in a second full color edition. It has also been awarded the bronze medal for fiction-historic-era/period from the Readers’ Favorite book competition.

Also, if  you would like an autographed copy, books can be purchased directly from Joel by contacting him through the website www.acrossthevalleytodarkness.com.

The first 4 books are a novel in four parts called Journey Into Darkness. They are available as separate books or as one large novel.

On the Eve of Conflict – Readers learn about the Civil War while following 10 year old Southern boy, Duane Kinkade’s experiences. With his father away, Duane, his mother, dog Pounder and friend Jamie must survive a difficult winter. In the spring Duane sets out in search of his father.

Up From Corinth – Now 11, Duane finds himself at the battle of Shiloh. There he comes face to face with the harsh realities of the Civil war. After some hardships he finds himself in the care of the Union Army with his identity being concealed by a surgeon and his young ward who befriend him. Finally as spring comes he begins a trek back to the Confederate Army.

Across the Valley to Darkness – Now 12, Duane finds himself in more difficulty. A rapid chain of events carries him from capture along a snowy road by a renegade band of Union cavalry to near death in a blizzard in the mountains of eastern Tennessee, to Lee’s Army of Norther Virginia in its winter camp around Fredericksburg.

Toward the End of the Search – Turning 13, Duane reunites with his Union friends after the battle of Gettysburg. He witnesses several war campaigns. A letter about his pa sends the veteran of 2 and a half years of war heading home.

All 4 of the above books are also available in one volume  Journey Into Darkness

Other books by J Arthur Moore:

Summer of Two Worlds – Born of pioneer parents, prairie orphaned at three, he was adopted by a Sioux warrior. Among the Sioux he was know as Prairie Cub. The name Michael was all he had of his ancestry. He lived the life of a Sioux warrior’s son until his twelfth summer. When the course of history doomed the Indians’s way of life, his father, Thunder Eagle, realizing his son’s white heritage gave him a chance for a future, sent his son back into the white man’s world.

Blake’s Story, Revenge and Forgiveness – Co written by J. Arthur Moore’s grandson, Bryson B. Brodzinski.

Bitter over his father’s death at Shiloh Blake sneaks away from family and friends to get revenge on the Union Army. What he finds will change his life forever.

Here is a video trailer for the updated version of Joel and his grandson’s book:

You can learn more about these books and J. Arthur Moore at these websites:

UpFromCorinth.com

AccrossTheValleyToDarkness

If you are near the Philadelphia, PA area and would like to contact the author about coming to speak or do a book signing, or if you want to drop him a note email me and I will give you his contact information.

Author of 6 historically accurate books for boys. Enjoy and grow in reading and learn history! Learn more at BoysRead.Club

10 Free eBooks for Late Elementary and Middle School Boys

Some boys are voracious readers. It is not that you mind paying for books, after all authors have to eat too. But if your son reads a book every day or so, that can get expensive!

So here at Boys Reading Club we set out to find some great eBooks you can download for free. All you will need is an e-reader device, a tablet or even a smartphone.

10 Great Books for Boys You Can Download for Free (if you hover over the book and see a price, that is likely for the printed version. Click on the title and you will go to Amazon and then look for the free kindle version.)

With a tablet, e-reader or phone you can download and read e-books. But did you know that many e-books can be downloaded for free? Here is a list of 10 free e-books we think boys will find worth reading. As most of the books are available as kindle versions you can use a computer kindle reader.

Editor’s Note: It has been reported that clicking on the book jackets may bring you to the printed editions which of course will cost money. Keep searching – both on Amazon and on Guetenberg – you should be able to find all of the following books as ebooks for free!

 

  1. The Red Badge of Courage http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/73 or Amazon 

for ages 6th grade and up, deals with the theme of war and has battle scenes.
The Red Badge of Courage is a war novel by American author Stephen Crane (1871–1900). Taking place during the American Civil War, the story is about a young private of the Union Army, Henry Fleming, who flees from the field of battle. Overcome with shame, he longs for a wound, a “red badge of courage,” to counteract his cowardice. When his regiment once again faces the enemy, Henry acts as standard-bearer. (Wikipedia)

  1. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 

For ages 5th grade and above, deals with some rebellion, smoking, and cursing.
This book by Mark Twain is an 1876 novel about a young boy growing up along the Mississippi River. The story is set in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, inspired by Hannibal, Missouri, where Twain lived

  1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Tom Sawyer’s Comrade 

For ages 8th grade and up, deals with some content and expletives that may concern some parents.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (or, in more recent editions, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in the United Kingdom in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Commonly named among the Great American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written throughout in vernacular English, characterized by local color regionalism. It is told in the first person by Huckleberry “Huck” Finn, a friend of Tom Sawyer and narrator of two other Twain novels (Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective). It is a direct sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. (Wikipedia)

  1. Treasure Island 

For late elementary and up, but also a great read-a-loud book for elementary. Can be scary at times.
Treasure Island is an adventure novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, narrating a tale of “buccaneers and buried gold”. First published as a book on 14 November 1883 by Cassell & Co., it was originally serialized in the children’s magazine Young Folks between 1881 and 1882 under the title Treasure Island or, the mutiny of the Hispaniola with Stevenson adopting the pseudonym Captain George North.

Traditionally considered a coming-of-age story, Treasure Island is a tale noted for its atmosphere, characters and action, and also as a wry commentary on the ambiguity of morality – as seen in Long John Silver – unusual for children’s literature. It is one of the most frequently dramatized of all novels. The influence of Treasure Island on popular perceptions of pirates is enormous, including such elements as treasure maps marked with an “X”, schooners, the Black Spot, tropical islands, and one-legged seamen bearing parrots on their shoulders. (Wikipedia)

  1. Window Boy 

Ages middle school and up. Deals with difficulties of being in middle school in a wheel chair.
Window Boy is a 2008 novel written by Andrea White, author of Golden Spur Award winning, and Texas Bluebonnet Award nominated novel, Surviving Antarctica. The book is about a boy with Cerebral Palsy who has an imaginary friend, Winston Churchill. (Wikipedia)

  1. The Call of the Wild

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/215

Ages middle school and up. Dogs die and some intense situations.
The Call of the Wild is a novel by Jack London published in 1903. The story is set in the Yukon during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush—a period in which strong sled dogs were in high demand. The novel’s central character is a dog named Buck, a domesticated dog living at a ranch in the Santa Clara Valley of California as the story opens. Stolen from his home and sold into service as sled dog in Alaska, he reverts to a wild state. Buck is forced to fight in order to dominate other dogs in a harsh climate. Eventually he sheds the veneer of civilization, relying on primordial instincts and learned experience to emerge as a leader in the wild.

London lived for most of a year in the Yukon collecting material for the book. The story was serialized in the Saturday Evening Post in the summer of 1903; a month later it was released in book form. The novel’s great popularity and success made a reputation for London. Much of its appeal derives from the simplicity of this tale of survival. As early as 1908 the story was adapted to film and it has since seen several more cinematic adaptations. (Wikipedia)

  1. White Fang 

Ages 10 and up.
White Fang is a novel by American author Jack London (1876–1916) — and the name of the book’s eponymous character, a wild wolfdog. First serialized in Outing magazine, it was published in 1906. The story takes place in Yukon Territory, Canada, during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush and details White Fang’s journey to domestication. It is a companion novel (and a thematic mirror) to London’s best-known work, The Call of the Wild, which is about a kidnapped, domesticated dog embracing his wild ancestry to survive and thrive in the wild.

Much of White Fang is written from the viewpoint of the titular canine character, enabling London to explore how animals view their world and how they view humans. White Fang examines the violent world of wild animals and the equally violent world of humans. The book also explores complex themes including morality and redemption. (Wikipedia)

  1. The Trumpet of the Swan

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/17697

Ages 3rd grade and up, though written at a 5th grade level.
The Trumpet of the Swan is a children’s novel by E.B. White published in 1970. It tells the story of Louis (pronounced “LOO-ee” by the author in the audiobook), a Trumpeter Swan born without a voice and trying to overcome it by learning to play a trumpet, always trying to impress a beautiful swan named Serena. (Wikipedia)

  1. The Three Musketeers 

Age late middle school to high school
The Three Musketeers is a novel by Alexandre Dumas

Set in the 17th century, it recounts the adventures of a young man named d’Artagnan after he leaves home to travel to Paris, to join the Musketeers of the Guard. D’Artagnan is not one of the musketeers of the title; those being his friends Athos, Porthos and Aramis, inseparable friends who live by the motto “all for one, one for all” (“tous pour un, un pour tous”), a motto which is first put forth by d’Artagnan.

  1. The Boy Scouts’ First Camp Fire or, Scouting with the Silver Fox Patrol 

Age late elementary and up
About a group of 8 boys who join the boys scouts and go on their first campout.

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If you would like to look for more free eBooks here are some great sites to use.
amazon.com – simply search for “free books” or “free classics” then when you find a book you like, scroll down to see what others have purchased, chances are much of those books will also be free.

Another great place to look is gutenberg.org. They do not always have good descriptions, but they have thousands of free books.

Don’t forget about your library. Many libraries now participate in eBook lending programs. Next time you are in the library ask them if they have such a lending program.

If you know of some great free eBooks boys will enjoy let us know below.

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