Reading aloud to my children is an essential part of our homeschooling. Through reading aloud:
- I am able to introduce my children to new ideas, cultures, and places.
- We can immerse ourselves in other loving households, in the triumph of overcoming struggles and challenges, and in the wondrous fantasy of fairy realms.
- Our family is able to have some of our most important discussions, leading to the foundation of good character, integrity, responsibility, and kindness in our children.
10 Tips for Successful Read-AloudsWe read aloud the vast majority of days, and often more than once per day. Throughout our 8+ years of reading aloud, I have learned multiple ways of ensuring that our read-aloud time is a success.
- Do something active BEFORE reading aloud - This very important strategy helps to ensure that the children will be able and willing to sit and listen during read-aloud time. Having physical activity before reading is especially important for high-movement children. In our household, we will often take a walk or bike ride before reading aloud. I, myself, tend to feel best when I am active, so on days when I am feeling a little stir-crazy during reading time, I may also do gentle stretching or walking while I am reading a chapter book aloud.
- Do NOT make read-aloud time into a requirement - Forcing children to listen during read-aloud time is a sure way to make them resent it. Allow children the freedom to participate, or not. But also, be willing to read fun books that are easily engaging for children, especially in the early years of reading aloud. With the right books, it is easy to capture a child's attention.
- Allow and encourage quiet activities during read-aloud time - When reading books with color, draw, work on simple sewing projects, or work on their letters to grandma (which they dictate to me beforehand, and I type and print out so they can trace the letters). In our family, I find it works best to not allow activities such as Legos, playing with cars, or playing with figurines while we read aloud, as those activities are likely to involve conversation which disrupts the reading.
- Take time to pause during the reading to discuss or answer questions - Although it can sometimes go against my "get it done" mentality, taking the time to encourage discussions during our read-aloud time has proved to be one of the most important aspects in making read-aloud time valuable. Our discussions include things such as:
- When characters make poor choices or have tough decisions to make, my children and I will talk about what they could do in similar situations.
- When we encounter new places in our reading, I will take the time to get out our globe or maps to show the location of the new place in relation to where we live.
- When we read about new animals, insects, or plants, we will look them up in the encyclopedia or on the iPad so the children are better able to visualize what they are hearing about.
Do you have any tips to share for read-aloud success?
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