Some of my fondest memories from our families homeschool years were when the kids and I were reading a good book together (or rather, I was reading it aloud to them). I remember getting all choked up in the touching story of an orphan called “Freckles”, and laughing with the kids while reading “Mr. Popper’s Penguins.” Our read-aloud time together was the highlight of each day.
One of the most important things you can do for your kids is to read aloud to them from when they are babies all the way until they won’t let you anymore!
In fact, one of the greatest ways to build literacy is to read aloud to your children. The National Center for Education Statistics found that children whose parents read to them tended to become better readers, and they performed better in school!
“The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children,” (from a Commission on Reading report)
The benefits of reading aloud to your children:
- It helps with language & speech development
- It expands vocabulary and helps kids learn pronunciation of words
- It develops curiosity, imagination & creativity
- It increases their attention span
- It hones their listening skills
- It builds literacy skills
- Plus, it’s a great bonding time between children and parents!!
Truly all ages benefit from reading out loud!
Experts recommend that you read aloud to your child as soon as he or she is born because children form so much of their intelligence potential during the early years of their life.
Reading aloud even helps older children! It helps them understand grammar and correct sentence structure better. If your older child enjoys listening to you read aloud, keep doing it!
The only caveat:
You should choose GOOD literature! Read books that will edify them and help them grow in character and in their understanding of what makes good literature. Is the plot interesting and clear? Are the characters fully developed and intriguing? Is the book well-written and full of good vocabulary to expand their knowledge or is it full of silliness and twaddle (as Charlotte Mason would say!)?
Is the plot interesting and clear? Are the characters fully developed and intriguing? Is the book well-written and full of good vocabulary to expand their knowledge or is it full of silliness and twaddle (as Charlotte Mason would say!)?
Choose literature that has characters who exemplify godly character and are people that your child can emulate or learn from.
Here are a few books that have lists of great literature:
“All Through the Ages” – This is considered the ultimate book list, it includes 20 different booklists all-in-one, all for around $30 available at Heppner Legacy Homeschool Store. The other great thing about this book is that the lists are organized by historical time period, and by their age appropriateness, so you can use the list to help in choosing books to go along with your history curriculum as well.
“Honey for a Child’s Heart” by Gladys Hunt, recently revised and lists books for children ages 0-12 for a little over $9.00 on Amazon.
“Books Children Love” by Elizabeth Laraway Wilson, another recently revised comprehensive guide to the best children’s literature for $22.00 on Amazon.
I also recently found a website written by Sarah Mackenzie called “The Read Aloud Revival” that I want to recommend. Sarah’s currently got a 31-day challenge to help get you started. Go to https://amongstlovelythings.com/ to find out more!
If you don’t already read aloud to your children, make a resolution to start in 2017! It’s one of the best things you can do for them.
If you don’t like to read, then consider getting books on CD for your kids to listen to, and listen right along with them.
Here are a few read-alouds that we enjoyed:
The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos This is one of the best Bibles to read aloud to children because it’s written so a child from ages 4-12 can understand it, while staying close to the original scriptures.
“Mike Mulligan and His Steamshovel” by Virginia Lee Burton. A great picture book about a man and his steam shovel that teaches about friendship and hard work.
“ Billy and Blaze” by C.W. Anderson. A series of books that tell of the adventures of a boy and his horse. These are picture books, so great for younger children. Each story has a lesson to be learned.“Christian Heros: Then and Now” by Janet and Geoff Benge. A series of stories about Christians who have made a huge impact around the world. These stories are very engaging and will definitely impact your life.
Miller Family Series by Mildred A. Martin. These are character building stories written by an Amish Mennonite author.
“A Little Princess” by Francis Hodgson Burnett. The story of a little princess who is orphaned while living in a boarding school. Boys and girls will enjoy this story.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater. A funny story of a painter who has a houseful of penguins.
The Borrowers by Mary Norton. A series of stories about little people who live under the floor of an old English manor.
“Little House on the Prairie” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The chronicles of Laura Ingalls Wilder as she grew up on the Western frontier. Boys and girls enjoy this story and there’s a unit study book called the Prairie Primer that you can use along with it to make it a full curriculum for children grades 3-6.
The Indian and the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks. A series of books in which a little boy’s toy Indians and Cowboys come alive.
My Side of the Mountain Trilogy by Jean Craighead George. A series of books about a boy who goes out and lives alone on a mountain and the adventures that he has. Especially popular with boys.
Freckles by Gene Stratton-Porter. The story of an orphan from Chicago who ends up working for a lumber company and falls in love. Any books by Gene Stratton-Porter are wonderful!
Make this read aloud time a great family bonding time and wait in anticipation to see the benefits!