Everybody knows reading to your children is a good thing. But it really wasn’t until I started into homeschooling that I began to hear about the benefits of reading to your children, not from Little Critter or Dr. Seuss books, (though books like those certainly have their place,) but from chapter books, including those that may seem above-level for your kids.
The more I thought about it, the more I loved the concept! If you can introduce children to good books at a young age, it only makes sense that you will challenge their minds, spark their imagination, deepen their interest in reading and writing, and increase their vocabulary, all at the same time. What could be better?
But what I didn’t know was what daily Read Aloud time was supposed to look like!
I knew a lot of homeschooling moms read aloud for 30-60 minutes per day! That sounded great, but most of the books I was interested in reading didn’t even have pictures! Were my children supposed to sit there with hands in their laps, perfectly still, perfectly quiet, just listening to me all that time? Surely that was unrealistic.
But could they listen while working on other things? It didn’t seem feasible for them to work on other schoolwork while I read and I didn’t want them playing video games or wrestling or using the time for Nerf gun target practice.
Using our hands, however, can actually help us process and recall information better. Seriously! Research has even shown that people who doodle during business meetings tend to remember more than those who do not. Go figure! Researchers believe that when we use our hands and ears at the same time, we’re actually activating multiple areas of our brain at once, which can aid our comprehension and retention of the information we hear.
So I began to try mostly quiet, hands-on activities during Read Aloud sessions, and with great success! As we’ve worked our way through books like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Indian in the Cupboard, The Wind in the Willows, and Johnny Tremain, I’ve kept the kids’ hands and brains busy. I’ll share activity ideas here, but in the hope that you, too, will share ideas with me! Read Aloud is one of my favorite parts of homeschooling now, and I’m always looking for new activities to add to the rotation, just to keep it fresh and interesting.
Thanks to YouTube, I even taught myself to crochet just so I could pass it along to my children and they could do it during Read Aloud! Don’t be too awfully impressed now; I can only do the most basic stitches, but my children love it and we’ve also been able to give several simple creations away as gifts.