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Read aloud reading lists and independent reading

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Can some of you share how you handle reading aloud in your homes? How long do you read, how you choose books and do you log them? The teaching the trivium book by the bluedorns suggest two hours of daily read aloud! I know reading aloud in hands down the best way to develop vocabulary, literacy and a love for reading. Tell me your thoughts! I read aloud and also use audible for audio books.




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We used mainly Sonlight, and when I read all Bible, history, science, and lit. read-alouds to my kids in middle to upper elementary, it was probably 2 hours--maybe 2.5 sometimes. I remember the last year I read that much, my voice started getting hoarse--even with the readings broken up. It was never that high in K-3 though--more like 1 or 1.5 then. I do think it's great for kids--but I also think that doing something is more important than trying to hit an arbitrary guideline set by someone else. 


We typically started with Bible (10-20 minutes for young ones, 15-30 as they got older--and when they got older, we all took turns reading out of the Bible). Science and history were each about 10-20 minutes for early elementary, and then 30 and as high as 45 minutes by upper elementary. We usually did history after Bible, then some seat-work, and science either just before or after lunch. I always did lit. read-alouds at night--so the reading time was broken up. It also made our school day seem shorter--and the kids never really thought of lit. read-alouds as school--just something fun we did. 


I think audio books are great too (we used some, and also a lot of fun things like Adventures in Odyssey--my kids loved those and got a lot of history from them). I do agree that read-alouds are great for developing vocabulary, literacy, a love for reading--and also great family times, good discussions about character issues, and a good way to learn about different people, places, times, etc...


We treasured reading aloud so much that I read to my kids through high school. They read all their lit, history, science etc..., but we kept Bible time, and we kept a night-time lit-reading time. It was a great way for me to work in harder books that might have been a stretch for them, or to work in books that I wanted to experience together and discuss together. 


As far as choosing them--as I said, I used a lot of Sonlight, which has readers and read-alouds chosen for you. I also re-read favorites from my childhood, sequels to books we loved, and sometimes books people raved about on here or the Sonlight board. I also looked through other lit-based curricula, and sometimes chose books from there (Winter Promise, Diana Waring, Bright Ideas Press--Illuminations, My Father's World....)


I did not keep a log until high school.

Edited by MerryAtHope
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I read at lunch while they eat and for a while after lunch. 

I read whenever we have time in the afternoon. Not predictable or consistent, but adds up to a lot.

Dh and I both read to them some at night. Occasionally Dd read to Ds. She does great voices! 

Audiobooks for the car, about 2 per month. SOTW and novels.


Lunch reading is usually a novel and after lunch is usually science or history or biography.

Evening varies widely from picture books to novels. 


I usually start the year with a list of RAs for science and history that I want to do. I add novels as we go along. 

I use lists from Sonlight, Veritas, Honey for a Child's Heart (and other booklist books), Redeemed Reader, WTM, and suggestions from here.


I think what RA looks like varies tremendously with the age of your kids, the size of your family and all the other variables that make each homeschooling family unique. 

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My kids are all little, so it is really, really, frustratingly difficult to read aloud (or, honestly, do anything else) without someone being loud, disruptive, screaming, etc.  I still read aloud, but I keep my expectations short and manageable.


I read aloud for about 15-20 minutes from a novel while the kids eat breakfast.  I choose books from various literature reading lists; sometimes they correspond to our history study.  I use the iPad to record these read aloud sessions (including all the interruptions and shenanigans) so the kids can listen to them whenever they want.  I try to choose books that we can get through in 8-10 days because after that we all lose steam.


At mid-morning snack the toddler and preschooler each choose a picture book for me to read...that takes 10-15 minutes of reading total.  And then I read for 15ish minutes to the older boys as part of "school" - either SOTW or science mostly.


The toddler gets read to 5-10 minutes before naptime and bedtime.  DH reads to the older boys together for about 20 minutes before bed.


All the kids also have the option of listening to audiobooks (either professional or the recordings of me reading at breakfast) during independent play times, rest times and while they fall asleep.  My 7 and 2 year olds aren't too interested in that, but my 5 year old listens to stories for several hours a day.



Edited by wendyroo
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  • We read aloud for about 30 minutes during morning time (this is when we read history, which both my girls do together, and also when we read just fun, illustrated short books about any topic--science, storybooks, fairytales, etc.).
  • We read quietly to ourselves for 30 minutes each day after lunch. This is the time the girls can read whatever they want; I just insist that it is a book with paragraphs of text. (So, no catalogs or comic books at this time. It must be a book that has chunks of text long enough to strengthen fluency.) But this is when they can read "fun" books of their choosing, such as Magic Tree House or Emily Windsnap or an animal encyclopedia, etc. (My girls love this time, and so do I! We all snuggle up on the couch with our own books and read to ourselves. I set the microwave timer for 30 minutes. The only talking allowed is if they need help sounding out a word. I plan to slowly extend the time to an hour or more as the girls get older.) 
  • The girls each do some reading aloud to me during their language arts school time. This is just built into their writing curricula and I like it because I can monitor their progress. But the readings here are short--usually they're just reading a passage or short book. 
  • They listen to audiobooks from the library (on CD) in their rooms constantly, when they are doing chores, playing, knitting, doing puzzles, etc. We also often listen to an audiobook during breakfast and lunch. 
  • I read aloud to them at bedtime (both of them together) every night. We read one or two chapters a night. This is always a book I choose--typically a classic novel that I want to "give" to them. Right now we are working our way through the Little House series and we are on book five. (Note: they are often doing something quiet with their hands while I read, such as knitting, cross stitch, coloring, etc.)


As for logging the books, I keep a running list for each girl (which I use at my county reviews). In the language arts section of that list, I have three categories: 

  1. Books I read aloud to them
  2. Books they read independently, to themselves
  3. Audiobooks they listened to

Then in the subject sections of that list, I list the books I read aloud during morning time (history titles in the history section, science titles in the science section, etc.). 


Writing that all out, it probably seems complicated, but I promise it isn't, in practice! If you do nothing else, just read a chapter or two aloud to your kids at bedtime every night and you are good! 

Edited by EKT
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  • 2 months later...

We do "Storytime" at bedtime... It usually ends up being about 45 minutes, and consists of 1 short picture book, a chapter in each of the chapter books we are currently reading (right now we are working our way through Narnia and the Jungle Book... sometimes we do Magic Treehouse, abridged classics, Roald Dahl Books, etc...), and a section or chapter in a children's Bible.


We also listen to audio books from the library while we are in the car...


For the 1st grader and Pre-K kiddo, our school day starts with 15-20 minutes of independent reading, has a section of read aloud history (story of the world) or science (books about animals), and some more independent reading in the afternoon.

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Different seasons, different ways: preschool through mid elementary we did an hour or more of bedtime reading from a variety of books. This is also where my kids learned to read without curricula. We just learned the sounds and pointed to them as we read, practiced from early readers, etc. long before they were ready to sit down and do schoolwork. We read from poetry, nursery rhymes, Dr. Seuss, board books they picked out at the library, to books about the seasons and weather and dinosaurs, to books about characters they liked like the Berenstain Bears. Just anything and everything. And lots of it.


I also read at naptime back then, but that was just usually a quick Dr. Seuss to get them to lie down.


As they transitioned into school age we added chapter books like E.B. White books and memorized poetry in the night readings and when we had time to kill. I kept a book in the car. If we got somewhere early, we read a bit until it was time to go in. If we needed to wait in waiting rooms, more time for reading aloud. We went to library storytimes to hear others read aloud. They had mandatory rest periods in the afternoons and they listened to books on CDs. We listen to books on CDs on long car rides.  I can remember once reading Plato's Republic to my then 2 yr old when she was having a tantrum while out because that was all I had on me that I was reading to myself. It calmed her. She loved to be read to so much. :)


As the bedtime readings got shorter, I needed to move read alouds to daytime. For several years I read from a literature selection over lunch. I read things like the King Arthur stories and the Little House on the Prairie books and Greek mythology. And they read to themselves during rest time and at bedtime. I also read an hour or so several times a week from Story of the World for history alongwith lots of supplementary readings from its booklists and probably from Science books too.


Now my kids are middle and high school. Our read aloud times are mostly in the afternoon during the toddler's naptime. We do about an hour a day. Currently we are reading a Hero Tales book which contains short stories about Christian heroes from history. We are reading a few spreads a day from a book on Ancient Egypt. Each page containing info about different aspects of their society. Then we are reading a chapter or two from a novel set in Ancient Egypt. It's fun because it seems like whatever we read in the non fiction book comes up in that day's chapter in the fiction book. And lastly, we are reading a history book about Ancient Hebrews. That is this week anyway. Then I read to the toddler at bedtime and naptime, though I don't get that hour in with her at night that I used to with the others when they were small very often.


At other times we read about art or artists and poetry and picture books that moved me for whatever reason that go along with our studies. But we always have a history book going of some kind, and usually a novel, plus other things.


Sometimes we get a chapter or two in over the weekend. And we still do one to two books on CD per school year plus take in a play or two.


Edited by 2_girls_mommy
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Oh, and I don't log all of that! I log their independent reading, and the important novels covered whether audio book, read aloud by me, or by themselves. But I don't even try to log all of the small books we read or all of the books we read bits and pieces of or stacks of library books. I just log what was covered in general. Science: read about volcanoes. Did definitions, built model, made notebook page. I do not list all of the books on volcanoes and stories with volcanos in them that we read along the way.

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