Saturday, April 30, 2011

Read Aloud Challenge

I am joining in on the Reading Aloud Challenge made by Debra@Footprints in the Butter this week. I hope to keep this up in the weeks ahead. The need to read aloud to my children more goes right along with the theme of the graduate class I am working on right now (for renewing my teaching certification which makes homeschooling easier in my state). The class is called Motivating Readers

The fact is that research shows that students who come from print-rich environments are far better readers (up to three grade-levels ahead) than their peers who do not come from homes where reading is valued and accessible. Wow. What a difference books can make...

In my opinion, what is one of the best ways you can show your kids you value reading? By reading to them. A lot. Often. Enthusiastically. Consistently. 

And you really ought to read GOOD books, ones you loved as a child, classics from the past, books that show the value of relationships and family and God (that is not stated in my class as it is from a secular's just my opinion). 

Did you know that you can read to your children books that are far above their abilities to read on their own? They can understand what they are listening to at a higher level than what they are able  to read. Reading them books that are rich in vocabulary, descriptions, characterization, and moral quality can only enrich their lives and their development. 

Snuggling with you on the couch, laughing over a funny part, crying over a sad part, and appreciating a good book TOGETHER is something that can only serve to deepen your relationship and their relationships with their siblings, don't you agree?

These things are all things I know, and tell people all the time. It is something I did well and consistently with my two oldest, and have many fond memories of doing with them over the years. Unfortunately, it is also something I have to admit I have been a bit more slack about over the past year or so. I am not feeling so good about this.

SO, having seen Debra's challenge to herself to do better, I am also taking up this banner and going to endeavor to read more books, more often, more consistently to my kids. I will post the books once a week, so I am accountable at least to myself, for the benefit of my kids

I am also going to include (at the bottom of the post), the books I am reading in my personal reading time, as well as the books Tex is reading in his, as my Motivating Readers class also stresses the importance of teachers (which in a homeschool is YOU, or me) being models of reading enthusiasm. 

"Research suggests that teachers who love reading and are avid readers themselves have students who have higher reading achievement than do students of teachers who rarely read." Lundberg and Linnakyla

Did you get that? If your kids see you valuing books, they will value them, too. It's a weighty responsibility we carry, but one I would not give up.

This month Tex is embarking on a reading challenge I have given him. It is to read fifty new (to him) books by September 1st. They have to be of certain genres (except for about eight free choice books). This is a means I am employing to widen his interests. As you can see by his reading choices below, he is firmly entrenched in his usual penchant for fantasy, We will give him a break this week since he had surgery and felt so poorly until today. Next week, however, we'll have to see about stretching his reading wings a bit...

If you'd like copies of the reading log I am using with him for this challenge, you can download it at my homeschool-for-free site. I am offering Tex a day trip to Barnes and Noble and a gift card to purchase a decaf latte and a new book if he meets the challenge. Another thing the MR class encourages, is that if you want your students to work for intrinsic motivators, then if you use rewards (and it is occasionally okay to do so), they should be as close to the task you are having them complete as possible...such as rewarding reading with a book, a trip to the library for more books, or extra reading time at night.

All that said, here is our short list of books 
I read out loud to the kids this week:
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
A childhood favorite of mine...It was wonderful reading this with
the kids because it brought back some precious memories.
Hubby had never read it and I even caught him listening in.
My mom took over one night and read to the kids how children
used to have to be absolutely quiet and still on Sundays. It
was quite a treat to hear how shocked and amazed my kids were!

Andi's Indian Summer by Susan Marlow
A delightful Christian book for youngsters which I will be reviewing next week...

 These are the three books Ladybug read aloud to 
various people this week:

One thing the class suggests, is that to boost reading confidence, you can have developing readers read books that are somewhat easy for them to younger children. Then they will be able to be successful and "an expert" to someone else. This helps them want to read more. They can still read the challenging stuff at other times.

These are the books Cowboy read aloud 
to various people this week:

These are the books Tex read (to himself) this week 

These are part of a six-book series by Donita K. Paul, a Christian author.
Tex has been immersed in these all week. Apparently, what I used to call
"the Zone" has now be re-termed as "the Flow" in teaching circles. LOL.

These are the books I have been reading for my class this week. They are also on my April reading list (see my right sidebar) and are quite good, though they do pertain more to public schools than to homeschools.

I hope you will consider joining Debra@Footprints in the Butter next week for her Reading Aloud Challenge.



Also posted at What My Child is Reading
another great reading link-up.



A Thoughtful Spot said...

Debra's challenge has really helped me think about what we are going to read each week, and plan it out so that it is easier to implement. Welcome!

Debra said...

Wow, Heather, now this was inspirational! There is a reason Tess made me start adding a linky, LOL. It was because I desperately needed encouragement like this post!

Thank you, and it is great to have you checking in too! Having a few people challenging themselves, for the good of their kids, helps me to be consistent.

And hopefully it is paying dividends for everyone participating.

Marie said...

I loved your post...lots of good encouragement.
I'm impressed that you read Little House in one week...great job!! Glad you're joing the read aloud challenge!!

Lisa @ Our Country Road said...

Oh I love Little House in the Big Woods-great choice!

Jackie Higgins said...

Great post! I heartily agree about snuggling with kids and sharing emotions and lessons learned through books. After teaching first grade struggling readers, I can definitely tell the kids who "got" that and those who did not get it. Although the best teachers try to replace that in the classroom through shared reading- but that can never replace what parents can provide. Great encouragement and tips!

Heather said...

Thanks for the inspirational comments, Ladies. I am thrilled to be doing this, too. I needed it.

And Marie, we read LH in the BW over the last three weeks, but I wasn't posting about this then, so I am not so amazing after all...LOL.



Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Thank you very much for joining WMCIR with such an inspirational post. I only have one child, and I am delighted that she loves books so much. I totally agree that her love for books comes from watching role models - us. Not surprisingly, she also loves computer, but so far she is not allowed to access it at will :)

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