Just over a year ago I discovered the Read Aloud Revival. At that time I didn’t really read much to my kids. I mean, we read a book or two at bedtime and whatever library books they brought home. But there was no designated reading time in our home or homeschool (which really is the same thing).
After listening to a few of her podcasts, I knew I had to make some changes. Slowly, I started to develop a short 15-minute reading routine into our morning that has since evolved into nearly two hours each day of reading.
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We started slow, with just a chapter of one book and then a couple pages of our science. It was like pulling teeth in the beginning. They didn’t know what to do while I read. They didn’t know how to be quiet and just listen. They were full of
reasons excuses why this wasn’t going to work.
It was only through consistency and determination that after a couple months of frustration and meltdowns, we have evolved into a true read aloud family. Now the kids look forward to and love our read aloud time. Every day, right after breakfast clean up they all head out to the family room, find something quiet to do, and wait for me to start reading.
I’m currently reading to an 18-month-old, a preschooler, two first graders, and a freshman. *Little disclaimer here* The youngest doesn’t always cooperate. Our read aloud time, like our family dynamic, is always in a state of change. But our willingness and ability to adapt to those changes helps us remain true to our favorite part of the day.
When he was a tiny baby, we read while I nursed him or he napped. But now we have to save his nap time for when we do our table time, so he’s right there with us while I read.
Does the freshman really listen to our read alouds?
Yes! Admittingly she is often sitting next to me doing some reading of her own or some math, but she too takes part in our read aloud time. How she can focus on her work and listen to me read is beyond me. I sure couldn’t do it! But somehow she does.
Even as a teen, she enjoys read aloud time. I’ve caught her on several occasions taking up our books and reading aloud to the kids. It’s really just become something we do, a way of life. Instead of watching tv, we read.
What do the kids do while I read aloud?
All kinds of things! Here’s a list of their current favorite things to do while I read:
- paint with watercolors
- play with the homemade playdough they helped mommy make
- color or draw with basic colored pencils or crayons
- play with reusable sticker books
- play quiet games like Othello
- Snap Circuits (my 7-year-old loves these!)
What do we read?
We read the designated read alouds, our science, and our history from the curriculum package. We also throw in whatever picture books the kids have chosen from our own home library. Because our read aloud time has grown to nearly two hours each day, we are able to read a plethora of books.
*Another disclaimer* Not every day goes the way I’d like it to. Sometimes they just wake up grumpy, or I have a killer headache, or whatever else life might throw at us and we don’t get to read everything that day.
That’s totally okay!
One of the greatest perks of homeschooling is that we decide when we are finished. We can always pick back up where we left off the next day.
Do the kids have favorites?
Absolutely. One of their favorite read alouds was Henry Huggins. After we finished that one I ended up buying the others in Henry’s series so we could read more about him, his dog Ribsy, and his crazy neighbor Beezus. We just added in the next one in the series with what we were already reading and kept on truckin!
Is read aloud time only me reading to the kids?
Not at all! Now, this part of our read aloud time changes day to day. Sometimes I have one kid read to me at the beginning and then the other one reads at the end. Or maybe someone is really taking their time with breakfast so while they finish eating, I’ll have the other one read to me.
Really, it varies a lot. However, I do make a point of having both of my first graders read to me each school day. Generally, they read from their readers or a Dr. Seuss book (which I totally think of as readers.)