Why Read-Aloud Time Should Be a Priority in Your Homeschool

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“A family, a class, or any group that reads aloud has a sense of communion as they share together ideas and human experiences.”

-Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, For the Children’s Sake

Our family loves to read. Every single room in our house — yes, even the bathroom — has books in it. There’s just something life-giving about a home where books are read and enjoyed.

Why Read-Aloud Time Should Be a Priority in Your Homeschool - By Keri

Back when I was a mom of one child, I would spend hours each day reading with my daughter. Then, another baby came and another, and while we still find time each day to read aloud, other “priorities” have certainly pushed our reading time to the back burner.

This summer I read a great book that inspired me to make some changes in how we homeschool, specifically in how we approach reading and literature. That book is Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home & School.

Macaulay’s book is Charlotte Mason-inspired and has really motivated me to be intentional in reading aloud to my children every day.

Why Reading Aloud is Important

“Literature is the human heart of education.”

-Charlotte Mason

Growing up in a home where my mother read to me, I remember the conversations we engaged in, the many questions I asked, her responses and the closeness we shared snuggled up together. Because of the positive experience that reading together was for me, I became a voracious reader, teaching myself to read at the age of 4 and later becoming an English instructor at the university where I received my Master’s in English Literature/Composition.

Books have a way of taking us to places we could never go and exposing us to people we might never meet. When we read books aloud to our children on a regular basis, we inspire in them a love of learning that will follow them throughout their entire lives, even beyond school-age.

Books not only entertain and inform, they also:

  • arouse curiosity
  • inspire ideas
  • build vocabulary
  • create bonds
  • teach compassion
  • plant in the child a desire to read
  • expose interests

Regardless of their age, when we read aloud to our children, we provide them with a positive reading role model. According to Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, “when we read to a child, we’re sending a pleasure message to the child’s brain” (Why Read Aloud?). The child associates reading with pleasure and just as he may desire an ice cream sundae, he will also begin to want you to read more and more frequently to him. Then, one day, he will start reading on his own and never want to stop!

Yet, if you’re like me, finding the time to read aloud is a challenge. I admit that in our house it often gets lost in the shuffle of fixing snacks, doing laundry, running errands, and finishing school work. Most often, read aloud time is before naps or bed times.

Making read-aloud time a daily priority was one of my goals for our homeschool this year. As our oldest (age 5.5) is now reading independently, I’ve seen how valuable reading aloud has been to her progress in this area. We have read to her since she was a baby, and now she reads well above her grade level. I attribute that largely to the amount of time we spent reading from birth.

Charlotte Mason believed that a child’s education should be largely self-education. We all want our children to become life-long learners. How do we achieve that? It starts by reading to our children.

“Self-education begins with listening to carefully chosen books read out loud to the child every day.”

-Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, For the Children’s Sake

When we read aloud to our children, we expose them to new ideas, new places and people and different ways of living. Reading aloud is a communal activity in which the whole family can participate. According to Charlotte Mason, “the best thought the world possesses is stored in books [therefore,] we must open books to children, the best books” (Towards a Philosophy of Education).

I would encourage you, if you aren’t setting aside time each day to read aloud to your kids, to make it a priority. If you aspire to have children who are life-long learners, then reading good literature should be a central part of your homeschool. 

“Literature is an important and central part of education. Make sure that the habit of reading is established. Make time for reading at home and at school. It is the base of education.”

-Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, For the Children’s Sake

Is read-aloud time a priority in your homeschool? What are your favorite books to read? 

Reading can be fun, but it can also be challenging for some students. We have a reading Pinterest board where you’re sure to find some great ideas for your readers!

Follow Misty Leask’s board Homeschool : Reading on Pinterest.

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