In my mind, learning to read is the most important thing a person needs to learn. Once someone can read well, he can find books to learn anything else in the entire world – history, mathematics, politics, science … everything.
I feel very fortunate to like reading myself and that my husband likes to read also. I remember talking to a neighbor once several years ago when the subject of books came up. She said, “Oh, I hate to read! Always have. None of my kids like reading either.”
Honestly, she was the first adult I’d ever heard say that she hates reading, and I found it very sad. What a life to live … never enjoying books and all the places they can take you!
When it comes to teaching our children to read, so many things play a role in the success and timing of learning to read.
- Reading Aloud
- Reading Frequently
- Each Child’s Unique Timetable
Since Jon and I both truly enjoying reading and often talk to one another about the books we’ve read, I believe we’ve set up an atmosphere that makes reading desirable. The kids have always seen us enjoy reading, and that interest and pleasure is contagious.
We’ve also read books to the children from the time they were babies – both picture books and longer novels, such as the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilders, Hank the Cowdog series by John Erickson, and Tales from Dust River Gulch by Tim Davis. Even as toddlers, the boys would happily listen to these stories, which means that they’ve become very familiar with all the fun and interesting people and places that they can find within the pages of a book.
Reading is part of our family relationship – it’s something that we do together often, almost everyday. As Nick, James, and Robert have gotten older, the books we read together have matured. I often pick out books now based on whatever topic we’re studying in school. Check out the left-hand sidebar to see what we’re reading together right now.
Titles we’ve found to be great family read-alouds include the Childhood of Famous Americans series and Landmark Books. I can usually pick these up at our local library, though I’d love to have the complete collection of both series for our home library!
Over the years, I’ve discovered repeatedly that allowing a child to learn at his own unique pace works out much better in the long run. Each child has an internal timetable that determines when he’ll be emotionally ready and mature enough to read on his own. For some kids, this may happen at age five; for others, the readiness may not arrive until age 12 or later.
It bears repeating and emphasizing that the age at which a child learns to read is absolutely no indication of his overall intelligence. I’ve even read that children who read later often end up more successful than their early reading counterparts. (Of course, I don’t think that means young children shouldn’t be allowed to explore reading if they show readiness for it.)
The key, in my humble opinion, is not to pick any particular age at which it is “right” for a child to be reading. Accept each child for where he is at any given time and have patience to allow him to reach the next level in his own time.
This is where I think a positive atmosphere and frequently reading aloud to children becomes even more important. Children who are daily surrounded by the joys of books will naturally start to desire to read for themselves.
What is your family reading this week?
Browse the Virtual Curriculum Fair this week to see what other homeschoolers have to say about Playing with Words: The Language Arts.
- On Learning to Spell by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
- Playing with Words: the Language Arts by Christa Darr @ Fairfield Corner Academy
- Reading and Beyond: Language Arts in Our Homeschool by Laura O in AK @ Day by Day in Our World
- Language Arts that Work for Us by Melissa @ Grace Christian School
- Learning Language at Our House by Jessica @ Modest Mama
- Virtual Curriculum Fair: Language Arts by Christine T. @ Our Homeschool Reviews
- The Learning of Language by Dawn @ tractors & tire swings
- Reading and Spelling: Modifying the Magic by Pam @ Pam and Everyday Snapshots
- An In Depth Look at All About Spelling by Missouri Mama @ Ozark Ramblings
- Virtual Curriculum Fair: Let’s Talk About Words by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter
- Why We Love Classical Conversations Essentials (and how I know that is not a complete sentence!) by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun
- Virtual Curriculum Fair—Playing with Words: the Language Arts by Angie @ Petra School
- Whole Language vs. Phonics by Christine @ Crunchy Country Catholic
- It’s All About the Art of Language by Brenda Emmett @ Garden of Learning
- Watching Movies for Language Arts Class by Debbie @ Debbie’s Digest
- Only 5 Spelling Tests a Year! (Can we do that?) by LP @ justpitchingmytent
- Playing with Words by Chrissy @ Learning is an Adventure
- Language Art at Our House by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
- Virtual Curriculum Fair Week One Playing with Words: the Language Arts by Leah Courtney @ The Courtney Six Homeschool Blog
- Playing with Words, the Language Arts by Cindy @ For One Another
- Heart of Dakota- The Fine Details part 1- Language Arts by Lynn @ Ladybug Chronicles
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