When I was young, I vividly remember Captain Kangaroo reading Caps for Sale on television. I loved it.
When he was young, my husband John read the picture book Make Way for Ducklings. He loved it.
When my children were young, John read them picture books from the library every night. Some quickly became favorites, like Miss Nelson Is Missing (with an incredible twist at the end), the beautiful books of Tomie dePaola, or the intricate drawings of Caldecott-winner Peter Spier. Our children loved these books.
Read-Aloud time was a favorite part of our daily routine.
Fast-forward a few decades.
When my daughter had young sons, she went to look for good picture books. She told me in dismay, "There are so few good ones!" Some had poor writing, or ugly illustrations, or too many "noise" words (what parent wants to read "Boom!" over and over again?), or did not hold her sons' attention.
Would it be possible to build a program for young children, not because they need "school," but because even young children love good books, and good books can be hard to find?
Would it be possible to build a collection that is a good value and reasonably priced, so that parents can afford it and the children have the books always available? If they don't have to be returned to the library, the children could look at them every day for years.
Oh, and, ideally, could that collection include some stories of cultural literacy? After all, children should know about the Gingerbread Man, Cinderella, Goldilocks, and Chicken Little.
That was what I went looking for: excellent, beloved books, for a good value, with plenty of cultural literacy.
And I think this collection meets, and, really, exceeds, my hopes. The 19 books in this program include the complete text of more than 70 popular picture books, some in compilations, and some as individual titles. (After all, one book with 12 titles in it is far more affordable than 12 separate books.)
Besides that, we have 34 fairy tales and 77 nursery rhymes.
And I can use "educational-ese" to make this sound impressive: Your children will increase their vocabulary, gain important pre-reading skills, expand their cultural literacy, enjoy beautiful illustrations, increase their attention span, improve their listening ability, and develop key motor skills.
And that is true.
But, really, no 3-year-old needs "school" to "develop key motor skills."
Three-year-olds need time with their parents, reading and enjoying great books.
And with Sonlight's Preschool program, your home library will have a wonderful collection of books that your children will return to again and again through the years.
Unique among Sonlight's programs, this one doesn't have a daily schedule. Instead, the stories and activities are listed by trimester for you to check off as you enjoy them. If your children want to read one story several times in a row – go for it! Reread your favorites as often as you like, and, with the checklist, you'll know you haven't missed any.