The Importance of Reading Aloud To Your Kids

The Importance of Reading Aloud

​When I was in graduate school I learned all the reasons why reading aloud to students is so important.  Aside from the obvious, the benefits of reading aloud extends to students beyond the pre-reading stage, and even all the way up through high school.

When I did start teaching I took an inservice based upon the teaching of Jim Trelease and his book The Read Aloud Handbook. I knew intuitively that what he said about literacy was correct and I implemented many of his strategies with great success for my students.  I highly recommend his book.  It is one that you will never give away or sell because you will refer to it throughout your homeschooling years.

We love reading aloud so much that we do it as often as we can.  It is important also to read silently to a sibling, a parent or a buddy, but some of our most treasured moments in our homeschool are when I am reading aloud to my kids.

Students whose parents and/or teachers read aloud to them on a consistent basis become better readers.  Kids who are read-aloud to develop many skills important to literacy and these are only a few:
listening comprehension
reading comprehension
vocabulary building
reading fluency
proper pronunciation
grammar
and much, much more

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Teaching Children About Family Finance

teaching children about family finance
Image via Pexels

It’s the essential life skill that our children, no matter what they end up doing in life, are always going to need. But good money management is still something a lot of parents shy away from discussing, fearing that the subject is too adult. Learning about personal finance can be done in an age appropriate way, and is a valuable series of lessons to teach kids as part of your portfolio of lessons.

We face a situation today where many children bloom into young adults and go off to college or get their first job still not properly understanding the basics of money and how to create a budget. No wonder that the average household is now thousands in debt and not accustomed to being smart with their cash. You can make a change by adopting an open, honest approach to money with your children and involving them in simple lessons about how to spend, save and budget….

Lead By Example

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Looking for a Solid Homeschool Spelling and Reading Curriculum?

Homeschool reading and spelling curriculum

Looking for the perfect hands-on spelling (and reading) program? Who isn’t? Here’s my review of the spelling and phonics curriculum called All About Spelling. Before I begin I’d like to tell you a story:

When I was in graduate school there was an ongoing debate among educators regarding what was then called “whole language” which basically meant the teaching of literacy using sight words; immersing kids in print-rich environments; labeling common items around the room and/or home; reading lots of good, quality literature while pointing to the words as we read, and often using “big books”, etc. Sounds like all the things that common sense would warrant, right?  But where does the teaching of phonics fit in to this poetic scenario?Ah.  Thus the debate.

How Much Phonics Do You Need to Teach?

There were people on either side of this debate of course, and the pendulum would swing one way or another over the next 15+ years as I began my career and watched this debate continue.

Where do I stand? On the fence.  Sort of.

Any good teacher knows that one size never fits all and that a combination of teaching methods is often best.  That’s where I fell into this debate.  If I had to join a rank, I’d join the “whole language” crowd, however, I knew that to efficaciously teach reading and spelling to my students I’d have to use some sort of phonics program.

What if My Children are Natural Spellers and Good Readers Already?

Enter the homeschool.  My girls were natural readers.  They’re the kind of kids that one might say learned to read on their own with no instruction from me.  Is this true?  No.  This is never true.  My children were immersed in a literate environment from the moment they were born. They were immersed in the print-rich environment I speak of, they watched me point to words as we read even when they were still considered babies. They learned to read early and they understood how print works because of the environment.

Since I know that reading and writing go so hand in hand, I did not dissuade my girls from “writing” whenever they wanted to.  Because of all that, they were both competent writers early on, and pretty good spellers. My youngest published her first book just before her 16th birthday and studied at The Author Conservatory during her senior year. She’s working on her next book as I edit this post.

But I wanted more for my girls. I wanted them to know the “whys” of the English language. I wanted them to be able to decode words and spell words and understand the underlying workings of spelling.

Is Teaching Phonics Boring?

Simply, I wanted a good curriculum that would teach my girls the way letters, sounds, and phonemes work. I was not looking for a “teach your child to read” curriculum and I definitely did not want a spelling program which had my girls write over and over and over again a list of words in a notebook. All About Learning Press also has a wonderful reading program and I can assure you that neither one of these are boring for you, the teacher, or your students.

All About Spelling incorporates lots of hands-on activities, along with more focused, contracting experiences like writing, but also includes listening for the auditory learner. Any time a child can manipulate and play with words, the learning deepens.

This program is not only for early readers and writers. It begins at level 1, good for beginning writers or those new to the English language but also continues toward high school.  This program has also received kudos for helping students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

The Story Behind the Curriculum

Read about why Marie Ripple created this amazing program in the first place. I think you’ll love her story, and I know your kids will love using the program.

 

 

 

Top Three Things to Help Avoid Homeschool Burnout

top three things to help avoid homeschool burnout

I don’t know about you, but I need all the tips I can get for how to avoid homeschool burnout. By the end of December, and again around the beginning of May, you can stick me with a fork because I’m done.

I’m tired.

I’m worn out from all the curricular AND extracurricular activities. I’m barely hanging on, and the words you’ll hear most often from my mouth those days are, “just skip it!” My homeschooling mojo has left the building. My inspiration lies wet and soggy somewhere underneath a pile of once shiny-new ideas.

I need a pick-me-up, and a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino with almond milk just won’t do. I’m experiencing homeschool burnout.

I’ve been through this before. Many times. And I can help you get through your own version of homeschool burnout

Here are three things that have helped me most: (in order)

Stop Feeling Guilty

I know you feel it. You can’t deny it. We homeschool moms are the ones who begin each year with our polished new ideas, mission statements, clean schedules, new resolutions and high hopes. When we get to May and are reminded of all the ways in which our ideas didn’t pan out, we feel awful. It’s to be expected. But guilt (or remorse or regret) just don’t serve us. Throw those feelings away and replace them with a mind open to learning why those ideas didn’t pan out. For me, it’s usually because of one of these three things: (more…)

Why You Need New Year’s Resolutions for Your Homeschool

why you need new year's resolutions for your homeschool

Why do you need New Year’s resolutions for your homeschool? I’ll be honest: I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. In fact, several years ago I resolved not to participate in the seemingly pointless, tradition of sharing with friends all the ways I was going to make my life better in the coming year.

What a set up for failure, right?

I mean, all these ads and sales for healthy foods, supplements, weight loss products, exercise equipment is enough to prove that resolutions don’t last; otherwise all these things would be in your face all year long.

But today I’m not talking about exercise and diet resolutions; I’m talking about resolutions for your homeschool and why you need them.

Are there changes you’d like to make? Things you’d like to do differently? Do your kids have ideas about what they’d like to add to their schooling? Now is the time to regroup, recharge and resolve! Making New Year’s resolutions for your homeschool is important and here’s why: (more…)

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