Reading Isn't a Passive Activity
© Beverley Paine, 2004
Reading is a bit like watching television; it can be a passive or active activity. Nothing is worse than four or five zombies glued to their chairs in an eerily lit blue room... I love the TV remote control because I can mute the adverts and chat about what we're watching. We are critical viewers of television. Sometimes we do the same for the adverts, mute one but not another, so we can discuss the merits and effectiveness of the various elements used in promoting the product.
It's a good idea when reading aloud to pause if a child has a question, or looks puzzled, or if you want to clarify something in the text, or feel the need to discuss something. I've sat in on reading sessions where everyone has to be silent and listen, and watched children fall away, sneak off to play, or whose eyes have glazed over as they drift into a private fantasy... It seems such a waste. Involve the children. Let the children hear your own interest in the plot and character's predicaments. If the action is scary, sound scared. If the information is amazing sound amazed. Read with emotion and expression. Before you turn the page ask the children what they think will happen next. Get them to tell you about the pictures. It doesn't matter if the book is fairy story or an elaborate picture book on how cars work - you'll be amazed at how much a child can tell you. Let them exercise their imaginations, and then turn the page to see what the author thought.
Another invaluable tip for reading aloud is to make eye contact. You are a performer and your child is your audience. Hold his attention by making eye contact often. If you need to drag your finger along the line you are reading to keep place, do so. It will make the child feel okay about keeping place with his fingers too.
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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 three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment 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. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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