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One of the best ways you can help a child become good in language arts (which carries over to all of his school work–since all school work involves reading, comprehending, organizing, etc.) is to help him become a good reader.
Over the past month, I have focused on teaching reading, reading aloud, reading instruction, phonics, and more.
It has been said that when a banker or a counterfeit money “agent” learns about counterfeit money, he or she begins by learning what the real thing looks like.
I use this same approach to teach about sentences, clauses, and phrases in my language arts and writing books (Character Quality Language Arts and Meaningful Composition): teach the students what a real sentence looks like—and then teach what are not real sentences.
I teach what a sentence contains using a simple acronym: CAVES
Tips for Using Word Cards in Reading Instruction
1) Don’t use word cards with words the student has never encountered. Word cards are for practicing words used in instruction, not for long lists of words never encountered before.
An Introduction to Readability Levels
I began homeschooling over thirty years ago when Ray and I taught my younger sister (who was in eighth grade at the time) in our home. During my first several years of homeschooling, I used early readers when my children were first learning to read, but I did not care for “readers” for older children. I always felt that abridged or excerpted stories were inferior—and that children should read whole books.
After two years of creating, conspiring, and co-writing, my writing assistant (Zac Kieser) and I have finished our Twice-Told Tales–Classic Stories With Spin-Off Versions for Read Aloud or Read Alone Fun. Just in time for Christmas gift giving and second semester classroom use! So what exactly is a “Twice-Told Tale”? And what is a book containing twenty of them? Let’s start with the Classic Tale first…..
It’s winter! That means snuggling under a fleece, matching sweatsuits on, and reading all day. (Okay, you don’t have to do the matching sweatsuits…but trust me, your kids will remember that when they are adults….um…..I’ve been told!)
I have a lot of material at the blog about reading aloud to your kids—unit studies, morning read aloud, Bible time, story time, family read aloud, and more. We did them all…nearly every day for twenty-five years….and I wouldn’t trade those hours for anything!
But there are logistics…especially if you are trying to do this with a large family…multiple ages and interests, etc.
Thirty-four years ago with a one-year-old toddler in tow, my husband and I
began homeschooling my younger sister (Lisa) 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 had 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
One of the great things about teaching children in a homeschool or one-on-one setting is that we can easily see when readiness simply isn’t there. And one of the greatest benefits is that we can wait for the child’s readiness to be there before moving on. (Sweet babies…let’s be patient with them!)
Patience is often hard for a homeschooling mom. We are prone to comparisons. We are prone to worry. We are prone to low self confidence when our kids aren’t learning quickly.
“I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.” ~Anna Quindlen, “Enough Bookshelves”
During my graduate studies (in Reading Specialist) at Ball State University, I did a master’s thesis about children who learn to read without any reading instruction. That is, the kids just suddenly started reading books without ever having phonics lessons, basal readers, or other “formal instruction.” It was a challenging thesis simply because there is so little data about it because of our “early school attendance age.” Seldom does a child learn to read “naturally” before age six or seven, and with kids going to school at age five (and often beginning reading instruction in kindergarten), the research was sparse concerning these “instruction-less” readers.
School is well underway for most homeschoolers—and there are lots of kinks to work out here and there. That is fine. Just solve one problem and then move on to another. Tackle the thing that is the most bothersome, then the next most bothersome.
Don’t do everything at once. And don’t expect perfection!
There are a lot of things that you can do to solve reading problems…here are my top several tips, but most of these tips are spread out in the blog posts, products, audios, and videos that I have listed below for a sort of “reading round up” for you. Hope this helps your reading struggles!
Be sure to contact me with questions—I can answer you via a blog post, a freebie product (!), video, or audio! I love to help homeschoolers!!