Category Archives: Elementary
Years ago when I was longing to be a teacher, my desired grade was 1st. Why? Because at the time this is the grade when teachers taught their students to read. I LOVED reading, and volunteered throughout Jr. High, High School and College in the reading lab.
When I first began homeschooling I started out with an eager 5 year old who was longing to read. We purchased the curriculum and got to work. To my surprise it wasn’t as easy as I thought it’d be! Fast forward 6 years and I am working on my 5th reader (2 of my own, 3 extras). I have learned a few things about what works, and what doesn’t. Here are three tips to teaching a child to read.
Immerse them in Books
From the womb we have read to our children. As infants we offered sensory books, as toddlers we offered board books, and at preschool age we began reading good quality literature. We have immersed our kids in books at a young age, and so far it has paid off!
Kids LOVE books! IF they are offered to them. In order to create a reader you have to encourage a love of reading in your kids. Reading often will give your children the longing to learn to read themselves. It will create in them a love of reading that will last a lifetime.
I am not the most patient person, and sadly that shows in our beloved phonics curriculum. In the first book there are pencil marks where I circled words over and over again that my daughter missed. I remember those moments; I remember the tears and the frustration (from both of us). And, I have left the pencil marks there. Why? As a reminder that patience pays off. The second book has little to no pencil marks in it, and you know what? She breezed through that book.
Patience is SO important when it comes to teaching a child to read. Patience builds confidence; and confidence is a skill that is required for learning to read. If a child does not feel confident in their own abilities they will not offer their best work. So, be patient!
Be an Example
This goes along to an extent with being patient. Modeling patience will encourage our children to be patient while they are learning. BUT, we should also model a love of reading. Let your children see you read, take them to the library, let them see you checking out books, let them see that reading is something fun to do. By being an example, you will encourage your child in their own reading endeavors.
These are just a few tips that can help when teaching a child to read. Come back next week as we take a look at some of the best reading curriculums!
Misty Bailey is a work at home homeschool mom. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.
I try to have a sample reading list ahead of time for each child to ensure they pick out good, quality literature. Yes, I let them make their own selections, but I also recommend a few titles that I think they will like.
Through the years, we have read countless books. Many of these I believe would be great for most children. Here are a few of our favorites that you may consider putting on your summer reading list.
Babies and Toddlers
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, By Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle (there are a few in this series like Baby Bear, and Panda Bear that are also great!)
- Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd
- Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram
- Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson
- Babies (So Tall Board Book) by Gyo Fujikawa
- Peekaboo Books (babies LOVE these types of books)
- Are You My Mother by P.D. Eastman
- Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
- If You give a Mouse A Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond
- Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
- Edwina, the Dinosaur that didn’t know she was extinct by Mo Willems
- Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
- Corduroy by Don Freeman
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
- Seuss Books
- Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin and James Dean
- Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Aweibel
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett
- Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems
- Splat the Cat by Rob Scotten.
- Amelia Bedeliabooks by Peggy Parrish
- Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
- Harry the Dirty Dogby Gene Zion
- Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne
- Historical American Girl Series (Authors Vary)
- Circle C Beginnings by Susan K. Marlow
- Bindi Wildlife Adventures by Bindi Irwin and Jess Black
- Magic School Bus series by Joanna Coleand Bruce Degen
- Sisters in Time (Authors Vary)
These books we have not read, but they have gotten rave reviews by other homeschool moms and are on my kids summer reading lists.
- Frindle by Andrew Clements
- Runaway Ralph . by Beverly Cleary
- Summer with Elisa by Johanna Hurwitz and Debbie Tilley
- The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid Banks
- By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman
- Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
- Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
- Hol es by Louis Sachar (Newbery Medal winner, 1999)
- Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien and Zena Bernstein
- Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Fiderle
Have you ever heard the phrase “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents”? I whole-heartedly agree with that statement! Read alouds are a favorite in our home. We have read every book on this list, and my kids love to have that time together as a family. Our read aloud time is during lunch, but really, you can carve out time anywhere in your day to sit down and read a book as a family. Just find a time that works for you!
Read Alouds for the Whole Family
- Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
- Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh and Leonard Weisgard
- The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
- Charlotte’s Web by EB White
- Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- All of a Kind Family by Sidney Taylor
- Mr. Poppers Penguins by Richard Atwater
- Winnie the Pooh by A.A.Milne
- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
- Animal Stories by Thornton Burgess
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- In Grandma’s Attic by Arlette Richardson
So, take this list, or make your own and go to the library! Summer reading programs can be found at your local library and most bookstores like Barnes and Noble.
We all know how important reading is for our kids. Children who are good readers typically do better in school. Reading helps kid become fluent, independent readers. Reading opens up learning opportunities, helps kids to develop empathy, opens the door for new ideas, and encourages a good imagination. This is why summer reading is so important!
Many of us have closed the books for the summer, and while we know learning doesn’t have to happen when school is “in session”, in reality summer is usually when we allow our children to have “down time”. Learning may not stop, but it slows down. Thankfully though we can encourage our children to continue to learn throughout the summer with a great selection of summer reading titles and by participating in our libraries summer reading programs.
Summer reading programs are in full swing across the country and the opportunities for learning abound. There are many benefits to participating in a summer reading program.
Summer reading programs:
- Encourage reading to become a lifelong habit
- Offer activities for those who may be reluctant readers
- Reading over the summer helps children keep their academic skills up
- Studies have found that children who take part in their libraries summer reading program significantly improve their reading skills.
We participate in our libraries summer reading program each year. My kids LOVE the library and love to participate in the fun hands on literature related activities they offer.
Are you in? Then check out this list of amazing books perfect for summer reading!
It is summertime for most of us. The books are closed, and summer break is here! As homeschoolers, we have luxury of understanding that learning can happen anytime, even during the summer. But, what does summer learning look like? Whatever you want it too! There are many ways to let the learning continue throughout the summer.
Let your children explore your backyard, or park if you don’t have a back yard. Let them find things in nature, like twigs, rocks, bugs, flowers or whatever else they find that is interesting. They can gather their items in a bucket or jar and take them home. Let them identify what they found, study it, and let it go back into nature.
Stay up late one night and watch the stars. See if you can find the big dipper or another constellation. Talk about the stars and why you can see them some nights and not others.
There is a fantastic program I found recently called Easy Peasy Homeschool. It is a free comprehensive homeschool curriculum and it is all online. They offer a once a week art lesson that my kids have really enjoyed!
Another good art idea for summer is to have a smorgasbord day. Gather all the art materials you have in your home and let the kids have a free day! See what kind of amazing creations they make J
Take your kids for a walk and let them gather a large rock. Bring it home and paint it. They can make an animal, a person, or another item of their choosing. Just make sure they wash it first!
Summer reading programs are in full force. Check your local library to see what they offer. Bookstores like Barnes and Noble also tend to offer summer reading programs throughout the summer. If you’re looking for book recommendations check out my Pinterest board for some great books!
With 4th of July coming up it is a great time to learn about American History. Check out some books from the library about our founding fathers. Another great resource for American History is Liberty Kids. You can get the complete series for a reasonable price on Amazon.
Talk about your local state history, and visit an area near you that you have never been to before. There are probably untapped resources within an hour or two from your home.
There are many ways to keep learning happening throughout the summer. Learning does not have to happen just during the school year, or only with a textbook. Summer learning can happen any time you want! Just make sure the kiddos don’t realize they are learning while having fun :)
Author: Misty Bailey
Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.
Whether or not your state requires homeschool assessment it is a good idea to keep a record of your child’s schoolwork each year. One way to do this is by keeping a portfolio. Homeschool portfolios can be as in depth or simple as you want to make them.
Step 1: Choose a binder large enough to hold your child’s work. For many this will need to be at least 1 ½”. If you are not going to be including Math or Grammar samples due to having them somewhere else (like a workbook), you can get by with a little smaller.
Step 2: Purchase tabbed dividers and filler paper to organize your child’s homeschool portfolio.
Step 3: Decide how to organize the portfolio. Are you going to divide it up by subject, month, season, or quarter? How you divide it up is ultimately up to you.
Step 4: Include important documents like your homeschool approval letter (if you have one), a list of curriculum used, and a sample school calendar. This should all go right in the front of the portfolio.
Step 5: Start putting in samples of work. Many parents only put in their child’s best work, but that is not always a good idea. You want to see a progression throughout the year, so it is okay to put in work that is “so/so”. Good ideas to include in the portfolio are Math drill sheets, grammar tests, book reports, science experiment papers, artwork, History notes, and any other item you deem important. Don’t forget about field trips! I always grab a pamphlet from every place we go and put it in the kid’s portfolios. Field trips are learning experiences too.
When it comes to organizing a homeschool portfolio, don’t stress! Homeschool portfolios do not have to be difficult or overwhelming. Make them fun! Let your kids pick what they want to keep. You may be surprised what they deem important enough to hold on too. Also, snap a few pictures throughout the year and at the end place them in the portfolio with their end of the year assessment (if required). I am always surprised how much my children have grown from the first of the year to the end. Homeschool portfolios are supposed to highlight your child’s work, but they can also serve as a “yearbook” of sorts. One day you may be looking through them with your grandkids remembering all the fun that homeschooling was that year.
Misty Bailey is a Christian wife and homeschool mom. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.