Thursday, November 10, 2005

Narnia Update and Thoughts on Recorded Books

In the last week I finished reading “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis aloud to my older son. He is in a homeschool book discussion group which is discussing this book. We meet weekly and they talk about only two or three chapters at a time. I think this is a good socialization opportunity. It is the first time he is in direct contact with a teacher having only academic content. It is the most ‘classroom-like’ experience he has had so far. This is being led by a father of a homeschooled child and is being offered for free. He loves participating in this discussion and he also loves the book.

We then listened to “The Horse and His Boy” on audio book while in the car, while making homemade bread together, and while making art. We finished that story.

We borrowed the cassette audio book of “Prince Caspian” from a library but it was defective and we couldn’t listen to it two days ago when we tried as the cassette was worn out. How disappointing that was! However, I borrowed a CD version from another library yesterday and we will begin that today, while driving in the car to do something to help one of our sick relatives.

We also borrowed the BBC version of the movie “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” from the library and watched half of it last night, as a family. It is fun to see it acted out but the costuming is not great. The beavers are ridiculous looking and actually it is distracting. We stopped at the beaver part of the movie.

While fast forwarding through commercials on a TiVo-recorded show, I saw the commercial for Disney’s version of “The Lion…” which comes out on December 18, 2005. The special effects and costuming and the scenery/location were gorgeous. I can’t wait to see that version.

We plan to work our way through the entire Chronicles of Narnia series. At the rate we are going we should be done in one week.

I will say that I prefer reading the book aloud because that way I am not missing things. Sometimes when we are listening to the audio book while driving I have to concentrate on driving or my mind drifts away from the story, so I miss parts. I find it hard to listen to audio books for long periods of time. I guess this is the proof that I am primarily a visual learner. I remind myself that for other people, this drifting off must occur while reading. I do drift off while reading, sometimes, but it is easy to go back and re-read the missed parts, unlike listening to audio books (when others are listening with me).

My husband asked my older son whether he prefers to read or hear audio books and my son replied he likes to listen to the stories better because he can do other things while listening. I think it is great that he can make art or make LEGO creations and listen 100% attentively. My husband wants him to read more and he suggested to me that I cut off the audio books, but I nixed that idea. The issue is not that I am avoiding reading aloud, but it is that instead of listening to nothing (while in the house playing or making art or baking together), or instead of listening to music in the car, we are all listening to the recorded book. I see this as more exposure to books and literature and I feel this is better than restricting listening to recorded books.

When we listen to recorded books, it is done as a family on a regular player and it is a shared experience. It is not done on a portable player with my son in his own little world. He also doesn’t listen to recorded books alone, it is initiated by me.

I did break down a few months ago and bought portable CD players at Target for $9.99, for my children. I figured this way my younger son could listen to music by himself while the rest of us listen to long recorded books s in the car. My younger son doesn’t have the patience to always listen to long recorded books (for example one Harry Potter we listened to was 27 hours long). My younger son has decided on his own to listen in on the stories and to complain rather than use his portable CD player.

1 comment:

Trish said...


I received the entire hard-cover set a couple of The Chronicles of Narnia years ago from my brother & s-i-l. Recently, I took the opportunity to read each one at bedtime to my son until we read through each and every one.

We both enjoyed it so much and it was great to have characters reappear in the different books. Some nights, it was difficult to stop and have "lights out" on time!

I always prefer reading aloud so as not to miss anything just as you said and it was worth it!

As for the Disney movie, I will probably skip it. With a series such as this great work of C.S. Lewis' I am not hopeful that any movie would be able to do it justice (and they couldn't include everything) and I'd be left disappointed---yet again by another---movie.