One of the main parts of our homeschool day is reading. My girls love to read and to be read to. And I love to read to them. Reading is one of the best ways to develop language skills, both written and oral. The art of writing a sentence, telling a story and comprehending what is told all come from being read to from an early age. Here are some tips that I have picked up about reading to children that have really paid off for us.
Read at least two hours a day. I know that sounds like a lot, at least to me it did. I could not imagine spending that much time reading when we had so much more to do with our school work. However, now it often doesn't seem like enough. We always read at breakfast and lunch and if daddy is working late, we read a dinner as well.
Go above and beyond. I always choose books that are above my children's reading level. I don't pick books with popular characters like Dora and Elmo for read aloud. Those books do exist in our home but they are for one on one time when a child gets to pick a favorite book. When I read to the girls as a group, I always choose something that would be a bit of a challenge even to my oldest to read on her own.
Read it again. One of our favorite book series is Little House On The Prairie. My girls beg me to re-read those books over again and I always do. They learn something new each time.
Require them to listen. I make sure all my girls sit and listen while I read. They are allowed to color or work on a craft during this time if they are finished with their meal but they are not allowed to wander off or choose to skip listening.
Ask Questions. Each day I ask re-cap questions about what we read the day before. Often I just allow them to tell the story back to me without any specific questions.
Instill a love of reading. Once your child can read on his or her own, take them to the library and book store often. If you have a reluctant reader, don't start off with difficult or classic books they might not go for, let them choose what they enjoy and build from there. Have them tell you what they read or write what they recall in a book report.
Teach them to read aloud. Have your children read to you or to each other. Encourage reading aloud as much as your encourage them reading to themselves.
Incorporate other subjects. If reading seems to take up too much of your school day, incorporate other subjects into their reading. Instead of dry and boring text books, have them read "living books" about various times in history or about science topics they are studying. It is much easier for a child to recall information told in story form than bland statistics listed in a standard school text.
Reading is the true basis for education. If a child can read and has good comprehension, he or she can learn anything.