Teach Them Love for Books
When I first began homeschooling many years ago, I was both excited and terrified. I was constantly amazed by my children’s curiosity and desire to learn, but I was completely intimidated by the thought of teaching them to read.
When I was a young child, I had no idea of the adventures I could take in a book. I didn’t learn to read until I was around nine years old. That was when my third-grade teacher began reading aloud to my class every afternoon. She introduced me to the antics of Pipi Longstocking, the heartache of Charlotte’s Web, and I will never forget the unexpected plot twist at the end of Where the Red Fern Grows. A growing love of books gave me a desire to learn to read.
I want my children to enjoy books. A well-written story can take a reader to far-off lands and on extraordinary journeys. I began reading to my kids as infants. They loved poems, nursery rhymes, and so many picture books.
When my son was kindergarten age, he wanted to read. He devoured every lesson when I had time to teach. With a busy preschooler and a very fussy new baby, school lessons were not consistent.
It took months for our household to settle into a more peaceful routine. One day, I was surprised to hear my son reading a simple book to his baby sister. I realized he had learned phonics during inconsistent lessons, and he learned sight words when he had asked me to read billboards and street signs when we were on outings.
Teaching reading does not need to feel intimidating. Reading regularly to children will help them develop a love for books. Read during school time, read at bedtime, read instead of watching television, and even get audiobooks for long car drives. There is nothing better than listening to a good book.
Each of my children learned to read at different ages, and that’s okay. If a child is pushed to read before they are ready, they will become frustrated. As a late reader, I was embarrassed and felt dumb. I was accused of not trying and negatively compared to peers. Homeschooling allows a child to grow and learn at their pace.
If a child desires to read but struggles, consider evaluating for any learning challenges. An examination revealed a vision issue with one of my boys. His eyes get tired by the end of a school day, but that does not discourage his enjoyment of books. He’s always checking out a good audiobook at our library.
I believe the first step in teaching a child to read is teaching them love for books. When they experience the joy of a great story, they will be eager to learn to read. Before you know it, they will be turning pages as they travel on their own extraordinary adventures.
Teresa is a wife and busy homeschooling mom. With a passion for writing, she shares the adventures and lessons of her faith, family and homeschool.