Tricking my kids into reading the good stuff

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Written by contributor Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy

My kids will happily read just about anything–unless it’s assigned reading. 

And if I make the further mistake to try to sell them on it? Well, forget about it. They won’t touch that book for years.

(Am I the only one?)

This used to upset me–as a parent, a teacher, and a curriculum director.

Of course, I could make them just read the book, and they’d do it. But you know what? We’ve worked hard to foster a love of learning in our kids. Instead of forcing them to begrudgingly read, I’ve decided to play to my strengths–and to theirs.

Because my kids will read just about anything–happily, and of their own initiative–if they think it’s their own idea. We’ve found a few ways to take advantage of that.
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On waiting for reading readiness

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Contributor Amida writes for Journey into Unschooling. She didn’t read fluently until she was seven but ended up with a degree in English.

One of the first goals I had in homeschooling was to teach my child to read. As a first-time homeschooler (and  mom), I was excited, ambitious, and determined. Before my son turned one, I had amassed an impressive collection of classic and bestseller children’s books.

I read Horton Hatches the Egg in the middle of the night while breastfeeding. I sang Mother Goose rhymes throughout the day and read Green Eggs and Ham and The Little Engine That Could every single night. I made a flannel board and decorated it with a colorful felt alphabet and coconut tree ala Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

My refrigerator was covered with magnetic letters and, at one point, I even had flashcards taped on all the furniture. It was, I admit, over the top and looking back, borderline obsessive. But my son did learn to read at three and by the time he hit kindergarten, he was already way beyond grade level.

By my second child, I had calmed down considerably. I did continue to read to him and introduced the same phonics lessons, but I was definitely not as compulsive as before. And I waited until he was five to start. Still, after some intense practice, he “caught up” one magical summer and was reading at grade level by the time he started school again in the fall.

Then my third child, a girl, came along.

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Let them read!

Written by contributor Jena Borah of Yarns of the Heart

A note from Jamie: Sign up to receive blog updates from Simple Homeschool and get my new ebook, Secrets of a Successful Homeschool Mom FREE! Click here for details.

Did you know the best way to help your kids become better readers is to let them read what they want? Research supports it, my reading professors echoed it, and in fact, The Illinois Reading Council Journal published two articles on the topic this quarter.

The secret to this simple teaching method is intrinsic motivation. If students want to read the material, they spend more time and try harder, figuring out ways to understand. As a result, they invent comprehension strategies that are personally meaningful and the information is more likely to stick with them.
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How to avoid summer setback

Written by contributor Jena Borah of Yarns of the Heart

Do you know about summer setback? Education researchers say a child can lose up to two months of reading achievement between May and August. If this happens every summer, children can lose up to a year and a half between 1st and 6th grade (Cooper et al., 1996).

Why? Because their home lives are not full of books and enriching experiences. Whatever learning momentum they had gained during the school year comes to a screeching halt. When I heard that, I was amazed! We homeschoolers never stop learning.
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