Finding time for read alouds is the next trick in cultivating loving reading great books together. In my previous post, I talked about Sitting Still for Family Read Alouds. Sometimes a big key to getting kids to sit still is choosing the right time for read alouds.
I have tried many variations on times during the day to read aloud, so I'll share each one and the benefits and drawbacks associated with that time of day. I will share the times in order of how I implemented them, not according to chronological times of day just so you can see my progression in cultivating time for reading.
Night Time for Read Alouds
Even before we started homeschooling, we read books at night from the earliest years of our kids lives. This seems like a common time many families have found success in reading aloud. It's amazing how many books you can get through with just one chapter a night. With an average of 15 chapters, reading every weekday night could result in 15-16 books in a year (and that's allowing four weeks off during the year).
~ Helps kids calm down before bed
~ Doesn't take time out of core subjects for homeschool
~ If Dad is home at night, he can be a part of the fun
~ Kids might fall asleep before you're done, making for a peaceful evening for you!
~ Kids often fall asleep while your reading - thus missing the book
~ Need to have a routine in order to ensure it happens.
~ If the reader is sleepy, the book becomes harder to listen to
After Lunch Read Alouds
I have to admit that homeschooling with little people can be exhausting. When I first started reading aloud after lunch, it was partly for my own sanity. I loved the books we were reading, so my soul was being nourished, and many times my girls fell asleep while we read. A quick siesta in the afternoon, and everyone (including mom) was happy.
~ Everyone is naturally content after lunch and ready for a quiet break
~ You still have time in the morning to get the big subjects out of the way
~ Less outside events vying for your time after lunch
~ If you have really littles, you can put them down for a nap and then read
~ Can be a sleepy time for mommy too
~ If you're using nap time for others, is this the best way to spend it?
~ You have to be diligent in the morning to rest in reading in the afternoon
Car Time for Read Alouds
I am a huge fan of audio books. In the last couple of years I have subscribed to audible and we have loved collecting so many lovely books. The library also has an amazing selection of books on CD to listen borrow. If you're having trouble getting kids to sit still and listen, then strap them to a chair and use your travel time to listen to books. One year, our church drive was around 45 minutes one way. This became one of our family's favorite times for listening.
~ Efficient use of time - two birds, one stone
~ You get to listen too
~ Readers of audio books are professionals and make books come to life
~ Miss out on conversations during the car rides
~ You don't get to make the voices of the characters yourself (one of my all time favorite things to do)
~ Can't slow down to discuss or clarify or edit (yes, sometimes I summarize a scary or mature portion of a story to fit the needs of my listeners)
I first heard about Morning Time from Cindy Rollens at a Circe Institute conference. It is a sweet gathering time for families at the beginning of the day to have devotionals, read books, and enjoy learning together. Recently, Sarah Mackenzie has included this practice in her book Teaching From Rest which has the idea of "Morning Time" buzzing around homeschool circles.
- Pam Barnhill shares her morning time ideas on Ed Snapshots
- Misty Winkler lays her plans all out for you (she even includes a video to see morning time in action) on Simply Convivial
- Sara Dennis offers her take on morning time on Classically Homeschooling
- Mary Prather gets her morning time organized with a simple basket on Homegrown Learners
These are just a few resources to help get you going with morning time if that would be a blessing to your family.
~ First things first - if you make time for read alouds a priority, then do it first and it will always happen!
~ It's a sweet way to start the day together
~ Gathers all of your students for a memorable time together
~ The rest of the school work is still there when you get started
~ Not everyone gets going at the same rate in the morning
~ So many good things to add to this routine...it can eat up a lot of time if you're not careful
Time for Read Alouds
There are so many wonderful options for incorporating time for read alouds into your day. We've used a little bit of all of the above times. Currently we still read aloud a bit right after lunch, and then we take advantage of longer drives to listen to audio books. What I'm trying to say is that there is no "one right time" to read aloud. Find a rhythm that works for your family and run with it. It may change in a year when all of your kids grow a little, but that's okay too. Read together. Savor books. Enjoy!
This is the second post in my Read Aloud series. Be sure to catch the whole series:
- Family Read Alouds - Will You Sit Still? - Monday
- Finding Time for Read Alouds - Today
- Where Do I Find Good Books to Read Aloud? - Thursday
- Strauss Read Aloud History: The Good, the Fab, and the Delightful - Friday
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.