Reading Aloud with Joy, a few tips
The other night my four year old granddaughter begged me to read to her. I didn't have my reading glasses on, hence my initial reluctance, but by way of compromise I suggested she picks a book with large letters. She ran off to the shelf happily only to come back with one with small letters, which all looked like Chinese characters to me. I explained a little more clearly (I hoped!) and back she went, coming back with six more books, all of them suitable for my not so efficient eyes.
So how can we make it just as much fun for ourselves, to help motivate us to want to do it (over and again!)
Quality reading time together isn't just about you plodding through the text: it includes asking your child questions, pointing at and talking about the pictures and images, wondering aloud where the story might be heading, reacting to what you've read, personalising it, and so on. It's an opportunity to start a discussion (if the child wants). Last week we talked about the morals of ther version of Jack and the Beanstalk after I had read it and what would happen to us if we'd done what Jack had: stolen the giant's property and then killed him. We didn't dwell on this for long, because another story had to be read, but it was a little less boring for me.
Think about what engages you when you're listening to someone read. The same monotonous tone soon lulls us to a sleepy state. It's much better if the person varies their tone, or uses accents for funny voices for different characters. If they vary the pace to match the action all the better as it helps to create tension and anticipation.
Don't be afraid to play with the story and make a game out of reading it with your children. Some children love correcting us if we change the character's name or say the wrong one or include a different ending or part to the story. If it is a favourite story they'll know what it should be. Start with outrageous or ridiculous words that definitely don't belong in that story. Why not try telling the story instead of reading it, using the pictures as a guide if it is a picture book, making up your own story.
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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
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