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The Importance of Reading

grandmother readingWe believe that so much of what we call “Language Arts” is much easier learned in the context of actual language.Not only will your children learn all the separate components of language, but they will also see how real words operate in real-life writing.

In our family, we use “real” books to reinforce much of what we are teaching.  We also use some worksheets, especially for the invaluable skills that all children must master and are best learned through repeated drill.We use worksheets (homemade or purchased) to drill the following areas:

  • Phonics and spelling rules
  • Spelling of common words in our language
  • Some aspects of grammar, word usage, and mechanics
  • Beginning handwriting and cursive
  • Evaluation of writing

So while we believe that memorization and drill is important, the majority of our emphasis will be on showing you, the Mom, how to use the books your children are already reading to teach the skills of language arts.  We believe you can use purchased textbooks from major curriculum suppliers to good advantage; however, if learning is to be lifelong, you’ll need to work to develop that love in your children.

What kinds of books do we need?

To avoid having you purchase more books than your budget can afford, we want to encourage you to build your own personal family library, as you have the money, the space, and the desire.For our family, when we tell people that we homeschool, we find that they often drop off boxes and bags full of books on our doorstep.Extended family is usually thrilled to purchase books as gifts for our home library.I love to look through various homeschooling catalogs, and I’m continually adding new books to my “wish list.”Of course, I always have the option of borrowing books from other families or the public library.My biggest dilemma is finding room for all the books we have!

However, when I’ve debated buying a packaged, literature-based curriculum, I never seem to have those “necessary” resources on my shelves!So I’m faced with having to buy even more books and make even more room for book storage – of course, all the while, spending money I really don’t have.

So our goal has been to let you choose the books you want to use for your family.We encourage you to look at curriculum companies for suggestions, since they often do a fabulous job choosing and describing books.Below you’ll find a possible list of sources for good books, although we’re sure it just touches the tip of the ice burg of available books.

  • (We welcome you to add your comments below with additional suggestions.

Please choose books from each of these categories to be read daily to, with, and by your children:

  • Poetry – we love to repeat the same poem several days in a row so that we almost have it memorized!
  • Chapter Books (fiction, historical fiction, etc.) – read a chapter or sometimes half a chapter each day.
  • Biographies – lives of famous people, heroes, missionaries, and occasionally, even “bad guys”, to be read a chapter or so each day.
  • Non-Fiction Books – especially valuable for students to read on their own, in areas of their interest and/or need, and to report on to you.

We encourage you to read aloud each day to your children, from the time they are very small to at least 5th or 6th grade – and longer, if you have time and everyone continues to love the time together.

Independent reading by your children should begin as soon as they can read.For younger children, give them very easy books since they are still in the “decoding” stage of reading.By third or fourth grade, depending on the children, you’ll notice that they can begin to read for information and retain almost all of what they read.Continue to require independent reading daily all the way through the end of high school.Sometimes they should read aloud to you, using good pronunciation and expression, but much of this reading will be done quietly, maybe on their bed or curled up on the couch.

We have developed a form on which you can record all the books that you read as a family.You are free to print or photocopy this form as often as you’d like, for your own family’s personal use.

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Comments

  1. Anne,
    I can’t get to the form for recording books that we read. Is it me, or is there a problem?
    Thank you so much for all your encouragement! I would enjoy a list of some of your favorites or top priorities books if you have one. Some of our children (16,14,and 13) have been so blessed with the book Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris. It encouraged them to do some hard things that have had a real impact on their lives.
    Blessings,
    Ruth

  2. Hi

    The link for the form doesnt work 🙂

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