Take Time to Read Aloud to Your Children

All ICS families can do this one thing every day…
Before coming to ICS last fall, our family homeschooled since my oldest daughter was 4 years old and we were stationed overseas in Japan. She is now 16 and a 10th grader at ICHS. After 12 years of homeschooling, and then finally making the decision to send our three children to school, now we find ourselves doing school at home again! I guess God knew I wasn’t done with homeschooling after all! Although my 9th and 10th graders will have plenty of guided schoolwork to complete each day thanks to online apps like Google Classroom, my 5th grader is a little more challenging when it comes to keeping him engaged in learning for any extended amount of time each day.

In addition to what your students’ teachers will send home, I would like to share one thing you can easily do each day to enrich your learning-from-home experience. It is truly the one thing that I have enjoyed the most about homeschooling…

…reading out loud to my kids!

That’s right, just pick a good book and read a little from it each day. For our family, we always started our school day this way. It was usually after my youngest and I had had breakfast, my middle son was just waking up and having his breakfast, and my oldest daughter would come into the living room, wrapped in her blanket, looking like something out of a scary movie.

The beauty of reading aloud is that parents can read to all their children at the same time no matter the ages of the kids or the age range. I read to my elementary aged kids while my toddler played with cars nearby. I read to my pre-teens while my kindergartner played with Lego bricks. I continued to read even while my older two were in middle school. While I read I allowed my kids to do anything they wanted in the same room as long as it was quiet and they were not reading another book (ha!). My daughter would often be working on a puzzle or a craft, my younger son, usually Lego bricks, and my middle son would just sit and listen.

So, what kinds of books did we read? We homeschooled using a literature-rich Christian curriculum which carefully selects books which containing real/realistic characters, solid character development, intriguing plots, content that adds to the reader’s cultural literacy, are emotionally compelling, are beautifully written, and are re-readable. The books I read out loud were sometimes fiction (Homer Price, Henry Huggins, The Boxcar Children, Charlotte’s Web, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz); historical fiction (The Great Turkey Walk, Number the Stars, The War That Saved My Life, The Sign of the Beaver); biographies (Freedom Train, the Christian Heroes series); true stories (Bruchko may have been my all-time favorite read aloud); and mysteries (Under the Egg, The Second Mrs. Gioconda). The list goes on….

Your kids may not take to sitting and listening to you read aloud right away. If your family does not already read aloud together it may take a few days for them to get used to it. I would suggest reading one chapter a day for starters, depending on the length of the chapters. But from my experience, once we got going in a new book, my kids did not want me to stop reading each day! You could do this in the mornings, while they are eating lunch, or even at night before bed. Mom or Dad or Grandma and Grandpa could take turns. No matter how you choose to do this I am confident your family will be enriched through this experience.

Where can you start? Since the public libraries are closed right now through the end of March, try looking for a free digital version of a good book online. You can still download eBooks and audiobooks to Kindles using the public library sites with your library card! Also, try asking friends if you could borrow a book from their collection. I have shared a list of books below from the curriculum we used. I am happy to recommend additional book lists and I am willing to share my own library with you! I have 2 bookshelves full of books we used while homeschooling preschool through middle school. Let me know which book you would like to borrow and I’ll leave it at my door for you to come by and pick it up! Feel free to email me at malia.mcleod@icsva.org if you have any questions.

List of Book Recommendations:

  1. Little Britches
  2. The Phantom Tollbooth
  3. Where the Red Fern Grows
  4. The Great Turkey Walk
  5. Homer Price
  6. The Boxcar Children
  7. The Story of Doctor Dolittle
  8. Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
  9. Mr. Popper’s Penguins
  10. Henry Huggins
  11. The Year of Miss Agnes
  12. Gladys Aylward
  13. The Sign of the Beaver
  14. Bruchko
  15. Freedom Train
  16. The Second Mrs. Gioconda
  17. Banner in the Sky
  18. Number the Stars
  19. Under the Egg
  20. The War That Saved My Life

Happy reading and welcome to schooling at home!!!

Malia McLeod
3rd Grade TA and Recess Supervisor