Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Key to Schooling: Reading

I've posted about home educating before and my view point of it.
It's so much more then reading, writing, arithmetic.
It's training kids for life.

But today I want to focus on Reading.

Staring Phonics: We start phonics with our kids around age 4. We use a book called The Reading Lesson. It comes with a Computer Game that reinforces the lesson. 

Once our kids get a good portion of the way into the Reading Lesson (maybe about 1/3 of the way through), we start to get them onto little readers at their level. Something easy so that they can feel the accomplishment of FINISHING A BOOK! YAY!!!

We use Bob's Books:

These Rod and Staff "Stepping Forward Series" Readers:

Some Level 1 or 2 of I Can Read books:

We also invest in a pack of readers from Heart of Dakota that will continue to challenge their reading level. This pack is our goal for the 6 year olds to read through this year. I'm using it as a gage as to exactly where they are at. They need to complete all of these books this year, however, they are free to supplement as many other books in-between as they want... These books include a Bible at their level (which they've already read through completely)

Then it includes several readers that get progressively more challenging. This ciriculum tries to focus on readers that are educational. Many are biographies or science based readers. Some examples that my kids are reading this year are:

We LOVE to provide our kids with reading material!

Use Your Local Library: We try to go to the library ever 1-2 weeks and the kids browse the reader section and fill a bag with whatever level reader they're on of whatever books their interested in. I always sneak in a few non-fiction books for them to read such as "George Washington" or "All About Turtles" or "Bones". I sit with them and let them read me the books they're not so interested in reading. This way I can laugh at parts that are humorous and show them that I am having a good time reading this book with them. This encourages them that non-fiction books can be fun too!

Honestly, my children have learned more from reading books on their own then they have from the years we went through Science books together.

Our library also has Summer Reading Programs for kids. They received little booklets that had lists of activities they could accomplish for prizes. They've read for hours and hours earning time to check off the boxes for prizes. They've tried new things like origami, writing a letter and mailing it, and reading certain books they normally wouldn't. In fact, our whole family is going to the State Fair tomorrow because Ahavah won tickets through the Summer Reading Program at the Library. 

Benefits of Reading to Siblings: Elias LOVES batman books. He picks all the Batman readers the library has on their shelves. I have his older siblings read them to him. They're learning to read, he's learning to listen and also learning to love books,  and the beginner reader (Hayven) is learning to read words by sight since she's listening to her older sister read them fluently. Haven's fluency in reading has dramatically increased since listening to her older sisters read books and following along with them.

I've learned that getting our kids excited about reading by providing them with what they're interested in reading is KEY to having them become successful readers.

Long-Term Benefits: Once they are a little older, I will be able to hand them a science book or a history book and they will be able to read it and comprehend it because they've practiced so much on books they loved.

Dealing with the Uninterested Reader: Hayven will often get frustrated when she's not in the mood to read. I don't try to force her to read too much if she's not interested. I do enforce a minimum of 2 pages for her age in The Reading Lesson on our reading days. But when she does desire to read, she'll knock out 4-5 pages willingly! 

I also noticed if I can show her that she is able to read a book and keep the books at her level available to her, it encourages her instead of discourages her. She needs a lot of praise. She needs that accomplishment of finishing a book even if the books is simply, "This is Bob. Bob is a cat. Bob can run. Go, Bob, Go! The End." Her eyes light up and her heart is filled with joy when she finishes a book! Then she wants to read it over and then venture onto other books!

Limiting Screens Breeds Happy Readers: Because we limit how much television our children are able to watch, our kids naturally turn to books for entertainment. They'll sit for hours in the living room paging through book after book. Even our 3 year old loves to look through Super Hero books for an hour span. His imagination is following the epic battles of Batman and Robin.

We save movies for Monday nights, Friday nights, sleep overs with Friends and the occasional busy day when things just need to slow down.

Reading is the Foundation of learning.
I'm amazed at the statistics in our country of how many kids graduate and are illiterate. 
My husband and I have decided if there is ONE THING we do academically with our kids, it will be to read. 
If they can read, they can learn. 
They can pick up a history book, a science book, a mechanic book, a car manual, a cook book, or a how-to book and teach themselves to do anything. 

Not to mention, they'll be able to pick up the Bible and find all the answers to life and godliness. Any issue they face in their life, they'll be able to pick up God's Word and find the wisdom they need. 

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