I was recently asked what my “educational expectations” would be with a five year old. Now, this fall marks our thirtieth year of homeschooling. Through the years, we have ebbed and flowed with the trends of homeschooling just like all other long-term homeschoolers. However, there are some things that have always stayed the same for us:
Donna Reish, author of fifty language arts and writing curriculum books, answers a reader’s questions about preparing a preschooler to learn to read. Based on Donna’s graduate thesis about natural readers (children who learn to read with no instruction at all), this audio answers questions about what reading readiness is and what to do while waiting for it, what characteristics are common in homes of natural readers, the outcomes of creating a natural reader’s environment in your home, and more. Donna also gives twenty tips for teaching letters and sounds.
Thirty-one years ago with a one-year-old toddler in tow, my husband and I
began homeschooling my younger sister who was in eighth grade at the time.
It was definitely homeschooling out of necessity due to some problems that
she was having at school with bullying and meanness because of her
moderately mentally handicapped condition. I did not know much about
homeschooling. I did read Dr. Raymond Moore’s books, and I knew that they
coincided perfectly with the teaching in my elementary education degree and
my master’s work in reading education (in terms of how children learn).
However, to say that I knew what I was getting myself into would be a great
So basically I did whatever Dr. Raymond Moore suggested, whatever we learned
about in any books we read, whatever we learned at the Gregg Harris
homeschooling workshop, and, eventually, what we were taught at homeschool
conventions and parenting seminars. Our curriculum writer at the time, Dr.
Raymond Moore (“Growing Kids God’s Way”) recommended reading aloud quite
frequently even during Lisa’s eighth-grade year. Likewise, Mr. Harris said
the same thing in The Christian Homeschooling Workshops. So we came home and
did just they said to do!
My first two children, Joshua now thirty-two and Kayla following three years
after, were auditory sponges. They made reading aloud such a joy, that we
quite literally spent three to five hours every single day five or six days
a week reading aloud. We broke up our reading throughout the day and
evening, and we even called it by various names, like subject reading in
the morning. This is what we called what people now call unit studies.
Joshua liked to call it subject reading because it made him feel like he was
really doing school at a young age! In the afternoon, we had storytime.
Various times of the day we had Bible and character time. And of course
bedtime stories and more. Some days we would have a “read all day” day in
which we would make sack lunches and not leave the sofa for five or six
solid hours. Other days we had such silly times as
“matching-green-sweat-suits-read-aloud” time! (Don’t laugh at me….that
really makes me smile!)
I had read Jim Trelease’s *”Read Aloud Handbook,” plus had learned about read
aloud benefits from the aforementioned seminars and books, but I couldn’t
begin to anticipate the huge impact those early years of reading aloud would
have on those children and on our future children. We grew to love reading
aloud so much that quite literally, I have read aloud at least a couple of
hours every day for my first twenty-five years of parenting!
What about those benefits? Well, all of my children were eager to learn to
read. They had such warm feelings of being read to that they could not wait
to learn to read themselves. They have all become strong readers. They all
love learning as a result of that early reading. For my dyslexic children
and my late readers, reading aloud became invaluable. It built up their
background of experience and their listening comprehension dramatically.
Then when each one did learn to read, he or she brought that background of
experience and auditory comprehension with them into their reading
experiences, and they had amazing comprehension immediately upon learning to
“read” (decode words).
Educational benefits aside, reading aloud has given me the warmest, fondest
memories than a mother could ever ask for. There’s a place in my heart, a
little corner of my heart, called the read aloud corner. It is warm. It is
filled with good memories. Of snuggling with mama on the couch. Of rocking
with mommy with books in her big chair. Of squeezing four, five, or six of
us in mommy and daddy’s bed with a stack of books two feet tall. Isn’t it
amazing to think of the benefits that homeschooling makes available to us?
*affiliate link 🙂
Donna Reish, curriculum author and parenting/homeschool speaker, answers readers’ questions about bringing an elementary student up to grade level in reading during the summer. In this episode, Donna helps parents learn what to focus on in bringing their child to reading fluency, including terminology, phonics programs, reader selections, and steps in helping children learn to read during the summer school break. She has many links to help parents find the phonics program, readers, and methods that will work best for them and their children.
Click here to download the printable handout.
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Does your public library have a “customs collection” service? The Fort Wayne, IN public library system does, and it is amazing. If you aren’t aware of this, I suggest calling your library and asking about it–especially if you teach using unit studies of any kind.
This homeschool benefit is especially important to me. When I first learned about homeschooling, I happened to be in my very last semester at Ball State University studying elementary education. I read four books by Dr. Raymond Moore as I was
graduating and finishing up my degree. (I was given these books by someone
in my church.)