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Amy Lou Jenkins is the award-winning author of Every Natural Fact: Five Seasons of Open-Air Parenting

"If you combined the lyricism of Annie Dillard, the vision of Aldo Leopold, and the gentle but tough-minded optimism of Frank McCourt, you might come close to Amy Lou Jenkins.Tom Bissell author of The Father of All Things 

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To Kill A Mockingbird Family
 Read-Aloud Project



  This project is complete, but please do use the resources of this page to enjoy reading To Kill a Mockingbird.  
A project to encourage family reading and to collect information about the impact of reading literature aloud.

When you plan your summer activities this year, plan to include time to read aloud a classic in literature.  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

When:  Summer 2004  (Complete by Aug 31, 2004)

Who:  For families with students in Middle School (Age approximately 11-15) although we gladly accept participation from older children.  If families also have younger children who want to participate, please review the text prior to be certain that your child is prepared for the subject matter.  

Why:  As children grow it’s common for reading aloud together to cease. Children in this age group are solidifying their own ideologies.  Family exploration of literature is not only a wonderful way to share experiences, it is a way to communicate family values.  As children enter adolescence the project also offers parents the opportunity to focus on their listening skills and reinforce their willingness to listen.  

Why this Book: One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has earned many distinctions since its original publication in 1960. It won the Pulitzer Prize, has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, and has been made into an enormously popular movie. In 1999, librarians across the country gave the book the highest of honors by voting it the best novel of the twentieth century. The main characters are a young girl and boy in early adolescence, a character for every child to relate to.  In addition, this is an enjoyable book with only two main story lines.

What might be the arguments against reading this book?  To Kill a Mockingbird has been banned by some library systems and schools because of controversy in how it dealt with racial issues.  Some object to the portrayal of white southern prejudice, or believe the portrayal of the black as stereo-typical.  The book contains an assault that is mildly referred to as sexual, although most adults will understand that rape is alluded to.  The “N” word is used.  Plenty of controversy is also good for discussion.  

Overview :  As a family, choose how you will read the book aloud—you can also do this as you go.  To Kill a Mockingbird is written at about a 9th grade level, so younger children may find the text challenging to read aloud and prefer not to be readers.  Children may want to begin the reading and then turn the book to a parent after a page, or when they are ready. Whoever wants to read, should be able to do some of the reading.

Note:  Some families are reading the book on car trips--(Turn off the car DVD, or read the book on the way there, watch the movie on the way home!)

Read -Aloud Guidelines
 (The short version: Read the book aloud, complete and return the survey)

* Start whenever your family is ready, and planned so you will have time to complete the text prior to the end of August.

* Please read regularly so you don’t lose connection to the text.

* Build time for discussion into reading sessions at least three different times, if you need help with discussion topics a guide is provided.

* Let each participant who wants to read be a reader.

* Do your best to have conversations be equal in terms of the amount of time each family member spends talking. If you are generally a talker, try harder to spend time listening.  If you tend to have little to say, try to talk more than usual.  
* Each member must commit to respecting the others opinions and agree not argue or yell.  If you do not find any differences of opinion, perhaps everyone isn’t being open.
* After you’ve read the book, we ask each participant, not just each family (children and parents) to complete a  Response Form.  Parents may assist children, but the words should be the childrens’.

Thank-You for being a part of increasing knowledge about literature and families.



Don't buy the movie until you've read the book!  But then by all means DO!

Mockingbird Resource Links

Voice Nation:

About Harper Lee and the Novel   http://mockingbir




Disclaimer The links and material contained on this site  are  believed to be accurate at the time posted, but is provided to users "AS IS" without any express or implied warranty as to availability, reliability, merchantability, non-infringement, accuracy, completeness, timeliness, fitness for a particular purpose or otherwise.

All page contents are under copyright  by Amy L Jenkins, 2004.  Permission granted to reprint for educational uses and to promote this project. No permission is granted for proprietary use of content.