I think, as homeschoolers, it’s so easy to get caught up in reading. Do you agree? We want our children to be fantastic readers and so we purchase reading curricula and we focus on reading development and performance because, ultimately, we want our children to be able to read and enjoy all of the great books out there.
But, it’s important to read those great books now, too!
Do you feel overwhelmed by the thought of adding just one more thing to your already busy homeschool schedule? I understand, I do, but I’m here to tell you that working literature into your homeschool routine can be fairly easy with a little bit of planning. Truly, all you need is a good book and some time to read aloud.
Why read aloud?
One easy way to add literature to your homeschool routine is by reading aloud. The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease is hands-down my favorite parenting book. I give it as a gift to every new mother in my life, and I include it with baby shower gifts every chance I get. I feel that if every parent and educator read this book, the word would change for the better.
Reading aloud is crucial, and it will help your children learn to read. Put simply, reading is a skill. Like any skill, one must practice the skill and work to become better at it. One needs to be motivated to work hard at something. Children need to want to read. What motivates children to read? Living in a home that values the written word, where print is readily available in various forms, where parents are seen reading often, and where children are frequently read to. It is important to read aloud to children even when they can read on their own. It is important to keep reading to them until they leave for college. Reading aloud to children every single day is arguably the best thing you can do to help your children later in life!
Now that we’ve covered the why, let’s talk about the how.
5 Easy Ways to Sneak in Literature
Meal times are a perfect opportunity to sneak in some read aloud time. After all, you have a truly captive audience!
Do you want to know what I do? I took a lesson from Brave Writer and I now have a stack of books that I keep in a kitchen cabinet. The stack contains a variety of different selections, from short stories to poetry to nonfiction to living math books. Each morning at breakfast, I pick the top book and I read from it while my children are eating. This not only allows for some learning, but it also maintains a certain level of peace at the breakfast table. It’s hard to bicker when you’re eating and listening!
In the Car
As with meal times, you have a captive audience when you are in the car. Why not forego the music for an audiobook? My children love to listen to Story of the World, Greek Mythology, and classic books while in the car. I happily give up my car tunes because I love that learning is happening while we are in transit.
I know this one seems so obvious, but often we are so tired at the end of the day that we don’t feel up to reading that next chapter. Let me tell you, my children are so much calmer and ready for sleep after they have snuggled up and listened to a good read aloud. This is a perfect time to work on a classic, too! If your children are too young for the unabridged versions, why not dabble in illustrated classics? My children love these books:
Sometimes, when life is especially busy, it can help to add an incentive. Tell your child that when you finish Anne of Green Gables together, you will hunker down with popcorn and watch the PBS series. I love to end our books and unit studies with a related film or documentary because I think it provides nice closure and it is a wonderful way to create warm family memories.
Make it Fun
You love your book club, am I right, homeschool mamas? Why not share the fun with your entire family? Put simply, if reading is an enjoyable activity, your children will want to do it more. One super-easy way to make reading fun is to start a Family Book Club.
With a little planning, it’s easy to sneak literature into your day. Any time you read to your child, you are building your child’s reading skills. It’s a win-win!
Now it’s your turn. Tell me, do you have trouble squeezing in literature? What strategies have you found helpful? Share here!