Reading is one of the highest priorities in my home school. If a child can read, they are equipped with a tool to learn anything they desire. That's easier said than done sometimes. My three children all have had a different journey to a love of savoring great books.
The first found reading easy, but took many years to decide books were worth his time. The second jumped into reading with both feet at four, and she's never been without a book ever since. With my youngest, we worked on the physical decoding of words for about six years before she tiptoed into the realm of readers.
Even though each path was unique, one thing I found that worked for all three was giving them a say in what they read. Let me be clear: I'm not a fan of a great majority of what is being currently peddled as children's literature these days. What I offer my kids is choice with limits.
Giving them a little bit of say with something that can be so stressful goes a long way towards building readers for life. When they are interested in the subject, they'll be more eager to press on through the struggle until reading becomes enjoyable.
This year I have two additional budding readers joining my home school, therefore I'm going to be spending many hours listening to reading. Thankfully, my mom is a great help in this area. It's a wonderful thing to have an active homeschooling Nana!
Set Aside Options
For the assigned reading during the day, I set aside a few books from which my budding readers may choose. You don't need too many. Teaching is an art, so I'll adjust their selections throughout the year as I work to continue to grow their joy of reading.
You need a good balance between reading about what they enjoy as well as introducing them to new subject matter that might expand their horizons. I also like to look for a balance between books that are easy to read, and ones that will challenge them a bit.
What I don't want them to do is dread reading to me. It will take a bit of artistry to encourage them to love our reading time together. Here's my plan:
Reader #1: The Disinterested Boy
My first budding reader is very similar to my oldest son. He is a capable reader, yet he'd rather be building something out of legos, or experimenting with snap circuits than being tied down by a book. My plan is to give him books that inspire him to continue to foster his love of engineering. I've thrown in a couple of fun ones just for variety. Here's what's on his shelf:
- The Story of Inventions
- Archimedes and the Door of Science
- Castle Diary
- Who was Leonardo da Vinci?
- Who was William Shakespeare?
- Who was Isaac Newton?
- Knights of the Kitchen Table
- Henry Huggins
- Mr. Popper's Penguins
Reader #2: The Tentative Reader
My second budding reader has just finally decided reading is a pretty fun thing to do. She's had great success with audio books, but it's only been within the last six months that she's picked up books and read them on her own. It's very exciting. I've put a few challenges in her pile, but mostly books that will be easy for her to read to me.
- Nate the Great
- Bears on Hemlock Mountain
- The Mouse and the Motorcycle
- The Adventures of Jerry Muskrat
- The Adventures of Buster Bear
- Old Mother West Wind
- Mother West Wind's Neighbors
- The Adventures of Bobby Raccoon
Reader #3: The Passionate Reader
My final reader, while a couple of years younger than the others, is the most enthusiastic of my three budding readers. Since she's such a strong reader, my goal with her is to cultivate a taste for quality literature. I can't wait to discover some of these lovely stories with her!
- The Hundred Dresses
- Rainbow Garden
- Spunky's Diary
- Doll Hospital: Tatiana Comes to America
- The Courage of Sarah Noble
- Sarah, Plain and Tall
- The Fairy's Mistake
- Cinderellis and the Glass Hill
- Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep
- The Princess Test
How do you encourage your young readers to keep growing?
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.