Do you want regular-read aloud times to be a part of your family culture? It is an essential for the homeschooling family, but is also a wonderful part of any family’s regular routines. However, without practice and forethought, read-aloud time can easily become a battle instead of a blessing. Here are eight tips for meaningful and fun read-aloud times.
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Build a Habit
Read aloud time is a wonderful thing, but can take time to establish. Consider these ideas for getting started successfully:
- Pick one or two set times that you read aloud together. Ours are during mealtimes and before bed. It doesn’t have to happen every night, but making it a basic part of the routine will help the kids know what to expect and what their part is in it.
- Start small with one or two books and build up from there. Kids need to build up their “sitting muscles” too! Set an alarm to start early enough so that the rest of the bedtime routines can be done on time.
- If the kids can’t hold still, try allowing them to quietly draw or play with blocks while listening. Here’s a post from The Unlikely Homeschool with handiwork ideas kids can do during read aloud time.
- If a child is being particularly disruptive, excuse them to a room/chair away from the group until they can come back and listen quietly. Initially, read aloud time may be a necessary character training opportunity. That’s not a bad thing!
Interacting with a book is much more fun than passively listening to it. This is true especially for picture books, but applies to all types. Here are some ways to invite your kids to participate:
- Explore the pictures and characters, asking questions and encouraging observations.
- Let them take turns turning pages.
- For rhythmic or rhyming books, let them chime in and read the easy parts with you.
- Allow a beginning reader to read the odd pages while you read the even ones.
- Let them make silly voices or help you come up with some for the characters.
- Have them act out parts of more familiar bedtime stories.
- Continue the conversation later, pointing out things that remind of you of the story.
Choose Good Books
Finding great books to read enriches the experience. Make a list of your own favorites from childhood, ask friends and librarians for recommendations, and let your kids help pick out books at the library. There are also scores of book lists available for whatever genre, age range, or style you might be looking for. Here are a few to get you started:
- Exodus Books (my favorite!) lists and recommendations, as well as their annual summer reading program lists.
- Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt
- Books Children Love: A Guide to the Best Children’s Literature by Elizabeth Laraway Wilson and Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
- The Book Tree: A Christian Reference for Children’s Literature by
- Books That Build Character: A Guide to Teaching Your Child Moral Values Through Stories by William Kilpatrick, et al
Make Regular Library Trips
Not only will regular library trips help you stock up on good books often, your kids can become familiar with using the library and where different types of books are located. If the thought of taking all the kids overwhelms you, try taking one at a time. Show them how to find the books they want, where the audiobooks are, how to ask a librarian for a particular type of book, and so on. Take advantage of read aloud times at the library too!
Note: These days, it’s good to make sure you’re at least skimming the books before your child reads them or you take them home in case they contain content that doesn’t match your family’s values. I also recommend doing at least cursory research for any books your older kids will be reading independently. Plugged In Online is a good resource, or you can find some Facebook groups for Christian parent book reviews.
Put Books Everywhere
Have little reading hot spots all over the place so that your kids can easily grab one when the fancy strikes. We have baskets and bookshelves all around the house as well as book display shelves. Here are a few ideas for strategic book hot spots:
- Near big chars and couches
- In the toy area/room
- In bedrooms
- In hallways
- In the car
- Under coffee tables
- In the bathroom (for potty trainers… wipe occasionally with sanitizer!)
Keep a Reading Log
Making a record of reading progress is especially motivating for early readers, but you can do it for pre-readers as well. We have done a simple grid printed and taped onto our wall. When we finished a half hour of reading time, the youngers put a sticker in a square. When 50 squares were filled in, they got a special treat or a at-home pizza party.
Another grid tracks the 6-year old’s personal reading progress, and he must read 3 books aloud to get a sticker. Written logs are also good for older children, recording the title and author of the book and when it’s completed.
Make it Fun
Make read aloud time fun and engaging!
- Use funny voices for different characters
- Make sound effects to go along with the story
- Occasionally pick different places to read, like in the back yard, at a park, snuggled in bed, or in the sandbox.
- Try simple extension activities after reading the book, such as pretending to be an animal from the story, acting out some of the scenes, making up songs to narrate the story, doing a craft, cooking a special dish, or drawing a picture.
Focus on Variety
My kids enjoy reading some of the same stories over and over, and I’m (usually) happy to do that for them. However, read aloud time is a perfect opportunity to spice things up and expose them to different types of literature.
- Picture books
- Wordless books
- Chapter books
- Fairy tales
- Age-appropriate biographies
- Stories from around the world
It is worth the time and effort to make read-alouds a big part of your family life. They are educational, create great bonding times, and can make memories that last a lifetime.
If you have regular read-aloud times at your house, what do you do to make them successful?
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This Post Has 63 Comments
Rosilind Jukic17 Aug 2014
Awesome ideas here!! I love this post – I will be referring back to it often!
Mary Happymommy18 Aug 2014
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Tara18 Aug 2014
If I won, it would give me the opportunity to stock up on gluten-free baking products for our new gf lifestyle.
Sharon18 Aug 2014
We will be able to buy some new, much needed curriculum.
Bethany B.18 Aug 2014
This would be such an amazing blessing for our homeschool. Like many families, we are on a tight budget and this would allow us to get some supplies, lots more books and add more field trips to our calendar. It would be amazing to win…
Maggie18 Aug 2014
my family would be greatly blessed by this give-away as we are expecting our 6th baby and a lot of the money pool is going towards that little blessing! It would mean getting a lot of the “optional” materials that we decided to pass on this year 🙂
Becky Salter18 Aug 2014
This giveaway will bless my family by providing some “meat” to our curriculum. Right now, with piecing together what I can find free online, I’m struggling. And our budget is tight enough the next few months I’m not sure when we’re going to be able to buy the things on my wish list. This will definitely take care of my wish list, plus some.
Danielle18 Aug 2014
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Crystal C.18 Aug 2014
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Michelle18 Aug 2014
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Jamie S.18 Aug 2014
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Deanna18 Aug 2014
As a newer homeschooling Mom, I’m so excited to start this journey with my oldest who is four. We’re taking it slow, playing, crafting, reading, and working on setting a Biblical foundation. With a 1.5 yr old and one on the way, this would be so nice during a season of many added expenses. Thanks for offering this!
Tina18 Aug 2014
Money is tight. My husband is retiring from the Marines. Not sure what God has in store for us yet.
Kimberly S. Young18 Aug 2014
If we win, the money will help cover curriculum cost. That money was taken from our house fund. We are a growing family, number six is on the way, with a small, in need of repairs house.
Victoria18 Aug 2014
Wow great giveaway! We would clear the backlog of b0oks on our wishlist!
Tosha Estermyer18 Aug 2014
We used to do read alouds but have gotten away from it the past year. Really re-kindled my desire to start back up again!
Kat18 Aug 2014
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Edie Sanchez18 Aug 2014
Homeschool supplies, for sure!
Julie18 Aug 2014
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Molly Cash18 Aug 2014
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Martha Huber18 Aug 2014
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tamara18 Aug 2014
I am a single mom.
Colleen18 Aug 2014
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A W18 Aug 2014
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Ann Riffle18 Aug 2014
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Emily M.18 Aug 2014
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Debra G18 Aug 2014
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Lesley M18 Aug 2014
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Kristi Jo18 Aug 2014
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Bridget18 Aug 2014
I am starting college myself, so no money for curriculum for the kids. Making due with online resources and some ingenuity, but BOY would it be helpful to be able to buy some curriculum for some areas.
Shelly Smith18 Aug 2014
We are homeschooling our three boys, and between the grocery budget and school curriculum, any little bit will help!! 🙂 Thank you!
Angelue18 Aug 2014
I give my girls (3 and 5) book themed color sheets to color as they listen.
Deanna S18 Aug 2014
We were recently hit financially with car repairs, root canal, etc, and this would be an amazing blessing!!! Thank you for the opportunity and thank you for doing this to bless someone!
sarahelisabeth19 Aug 2014
We love read aloud time. My other tip is to start young especially with wriggly boys!
Karen @ Candid Diversions19 Aug 2014
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Thanks for the chance’
Wendy @ Simplicity Breeds Happiness19 Aug 2014
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Heather19 Aug 2014
$500 would be a huge blessing to our family of 8. There are always curriculum items that could be beneficial for 1 or more of my kiddos that we just can’t afford. And thank you for the lovely article. Great ideas!
Shelley W19 Aug 2014
Winning this giveaway would be amazing. We have large medical bills that leave us with no money for all of the math curriculum we’d like or for much in the way of field trips.
Gloria Benson20 Aug 2014
This money would be a great start for my daughter who is now homeschooling her family.
Solducky20 Aug 2014
It would allow us to buy quality art supplies, some lessons, and some museum memberships!
Lesley20 Aug 2014
The prize will be a blessing that allows me to finish purchasing curriculum items and books for our six children for this new school year. Thank you for offering a wonderful giveaway.
Faiza21 Aug 2014
We are to homeschooling and would use it towards supplies and organizing our school. Thanks for the opportunity.
Donna21 Aug 2014
We are struggling financially for this school year.
Amy21 Aug 2014
Winning the giveaway would greatly bless us! We are only in our second year of homeschooling our 6 children ages 2 -13. That would help us buy so many books!!
Rebecca Lake21 Aug 2014
If I won I would use the money to buy Oak Meadow’s first grade curriculum for a friend who is homeschooling for the first time. She really wants to use the program for her daughter but they can’t afford it right now.
Christi Simmons21 Aug 2014
Winning this would bless us in o many ways. It would greatly help us purchase new supplies and allow more time teaching rather than working to buy new things. We are in desperate need of newer supplies.
Patricia22 Aug 2014
I would buy one year subscription to Audible, the next levels in various curricula, a long list of books currently on my Amazon wish list, and some local homeschooling programs. This would be so awesome. Thanks for the opportunity
Jennifer B22 Aug 2014
We are a new homeschooling family, and I didn’t realize all of the expenses to set up a classroom! This would help buy curriculum, books, and supplies!
marisol roman24 Aug 2014
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lisa24 Aug 2014
Little guy was diagnosed with kidney cancer this spring so finances have gotten a bit tight around here. He is doing great and we already started first grade but supplies are always needed!!
Jennifer R.24 Aug 2014
Money has been so tight this past year and the money would greatly help out buying curriculum for our 4 kids. There are definitely lots of books on our list that this would help us buy, plus some extra manipulatives. What a great blessing this would be!
Kristi Cramer24 Aug 2014
Every little bit helps!
stacy24 Aug 2014
This will help me to purchase all the supplies necessary for homeschool without worrying about taking to much from or budget and not being able to have a little extra for or field trips we take a few times a year
Tanya Morales24 Aug 2014
We would put the money toward musical instruments for our homeschool. Thank you for the opportunity!
Kala24 Aug 2014
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Lydia H24 Aug 2014
Husband is between jobs (this it NOT a bad thing…we’re trying to get a business launched) but have $0 in the budget for any school material, at least for another 2 months. It’d be great to be able to buy the items I’ve been adding to my wish list.
Molly24 Aug 2014
I still need to buy our math and English!
Sarah24 Aug 2014
The money from this will help pay for my son’s violin class. He loves it so much but the cost does add up!
~Amanda24 Aug 2014
We have 6 children and finances are often stretched tight. However, God is good and we always get through. We could get some great materials and books that would otherwise not be bought. 🙂
Thanks for the opportunity.
Melanie Borst24 Aug 2014
Winning would be a blessing by allowing for more field trips and would also allow us to purchase some effective teaching items for our unit studies.
Rachael Carrillo24 Aug 2014
I would purchase curriculum for my kids.
Hilliary lee24 Aug 2014
We would be able to afford field trips
Jill24 Aug 2014
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