5 Days of Raising Readers: Be Together

Tl;dr To raise a reader, you have to be together.
5 days raising readers reading aloud
Every parent seems to know instinctively that children need us to read to them. It just makes sense: they don’t come out of the womb with reading glasses on and asking for Dickens. (Which, frankly, it would be terrifying if they did.)

So, of course we have to read to our children.

Board books to babies.

Picture books when they’re old enough not to tear the pages.

Easy, phonics books with new readers.

Chapter books as they get older. (And yes, it’s OK to read above their grade level.)

We introduce them to poetry.

And we introduce them to Shakespeare. (Try this: How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig.)

We introduce them to myths and legends. Odysseus, Thor, Zeus…they’re not just in comic books.

We introduce heroes and pioneers and presidents and talking animals who don’t exist but, wow, we wish they did.

Don’t think of reading aloud as a bedtime only activity.

Read something with breakfast. And read aloud again at lunch.

Read from magazines.

Choose a family read aloud that the whole family reads together.

If a family member finishes supper before the rest of the family, let that person read aloud until the others finish.

(Our family uses this time for devotional type reading. We keep these selections in the dining room for this purpose.)

Don’t think that you’re limited to only yourself reading aloud.

(My voice is tired just thinking about it.) Use books on C.D. or mp3. Have a “quiet time” in the afternoon for listening to a book.

We still enforce this most days: one hour when the little ones are napping and older ones must be in their room listening to a story on CD. (They aren’t required to sleep, just to be quietly listening. Handcrafts like crochet or drawing are allowed during this time.)

See this post from my friend Mystie about this resource: Read-Aloud Cop Out: Audio Books in the Homeschool.

Encourage your children to read to each other. Older siblings can read to the younger.

Beginning readers might like to read to the baby of the family, or a pet. (Our library actually has a therapy dog that comes once a month for this reason. Beginning or struggling readers enjoy reading to this receptive audience.)

Some of our favorite read alouds just to get you started:

The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. This series is a beloved classic for a reason. We have several favorites that we’ve re-read multiple times.

Stuart Little by E. B. White. This one is a standalone by the author of Charlotte’s Web (another favorite read aloud). This book is charming. If you’ve only seen the movie, you don’t know what you’ve missed.

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. This is a three book series.

My third daughter absolutely loved these books. The chapters are short, making this one a good choice for children graduating from listening to picture book to listening to chapter books.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater. Another standalone that is far superior to the recent movie.
The Borrowersby Mary Norton. This is a series. And here I have to be honest: we started these as read-alouds but then my oldest two daughters got impatient with that pace and galloped through the rest of the series on their own.
Heidiby Johanna Spryri. We actually own two different translations of this one and yes, we’ve read through both.
Tales from Shakespeareby Charles and Mary Lamb. These stories were our children’s first introduction to Shakespeare. We chose to start with the comedies.

A Few Favorite books on CD:

The Secret Garden
A Little Princess
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. Generally a favorite with the younger set.
The Chronicles of Narnia Complete 7 Volume CD Box Set (Unabridged) A favorite for nearly all my children. (And they also love The Chronicles of Narnia: Radio Theatre [Full Cast Drama])

And there are so many more. We’ve borrowed many of these audio books from the library, but we’ve also purchased them as we’ve found them. (At library sales and used book stores.)

Spend some time together tonight and read something you’ll all enjoy.

To see the previous or later post(s) in this series: 5 Days of Raising Readers


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