by Sheila Carroll
What if there was one simple thing you could do to ensure your child would read well and enjoy reading?
What if that thing didn’t cost a penny?
Would you be interested?
One of the most valuable activities in our home is reading often and at length from good books, “living” books, chosen carefully for their literary value—interesting, educational and pleasurable to read.
I remember my grandmother baby-sitting me often when I was quite young due to my mother’s on-going health problems. Each night, Grandma would read one of the Beatrix Potter books to me. Those moments curled up, warm under the covers with Grandma sitting on a chair beside the guest bed reading delightful stories about Peter Rabbit, Tom Kitten, and Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle are some of the warmest and fondest memories I hold dear from my childhood. Years later when reading those books to my own children, it evoked happiness in the deepest part of my being.
I started reading aloud to my children when they were just days old. I know they couldn’t understand what I was reading yet, but I knew that the love and care communicated to them by being held in my arms as I read softly to them was a gift beyond measure. By the time my children were about three-years-old, they were all able to sit and listen to chapter books like Charlotte’s Web or A.A. Milne’s classic Winnie-the-Pooh series.
For a list of twaddle-free literature by grade level, go to: Debi’s Twaddle-free Reading List
I continued reading aloud to my children for as long as they were living in my home. If my children ever have children, I hope to be able to read to my grandbabies someday, as well.
Once my kiddos were reading fluently on their own, they did their school work from their own books, but we still continued our family read aloud times just for the fun of it. I think all the reading aloud in our home did wonders for our family. It served as a treasured family activity, a foundation for a love for great literature in the children, a means for developing a stronger command of the language, and an avenue for increasing listening skills.
Reading aloud was always a cornerstone of our family time and homeschooling adventures.
Just my humble thoughts — following a quarter century of homeschooling — for what it’s worth.
The tremendous pleasure that comes from reading Shakespeare was spoiled for generations of high school students who were forced to go through Julius Caesar, Hamlet or Macbeth scene by scene, to look up all the new words and to study all the scholarly footnotes. As a result, they never really read the play. By the time they got to the end they had forgotten the beginning and lost sight of the whole. Instead of being forced to take this pedantic approach, they should have been encouraged to read the play in one sitting and discuss what they got out of that first quick reading. Then they would have been ready to study the play carefully, for they would have understood enough of it to be able to learn more.
–excerpted from “How to Read a Hard Book” by Mortimer J. Adler
To read the complete article, go to: http://classicalhomeschooling.com/classical-homeschooling-third-issue/how-to-read-a-hard-book/
Living Books = books that are well-written and engaging–they absorb the reader–the narrative and characters “come alive”; living books are the opposite of cold, dry textbooks.
Twaddle = dumbed down literature; absence of meaning
This list of recommended reading is now included in the new book, A Twaddle-Free Education: An Introduction to Charlotte Mason’s Timeless Educational Ideas.
Finding living books for studies in government, American history, and general literature is relatively easy. But finding living Science books has been more of a challenge for many modern day Charlotte Mason educators. Continue reading