Thursday, August 13, 2009

On Reading Aloud

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My children love to have me read aloud to them. Even my twelve and fourteen year old love to hear books they have already read themselves before.

As I was reading aloud today from one of our favorites, Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers, I came across this passage:

"I don't remember Mother ever reading anything I couldn't understand, and I never heard any of the others say so either, but I don't think many people would have read us the same books she did. That day it was John Halifax, Gentleman. Maybe she skipped spots we couldn't have understood, and maybe some of it drifted over our heads, but at least we remembered the stories she read. I think part of the reason was that we could raise a hand whenever we wanted and explanation of any word or situation."
This made me think of how I like to read aloud from the King James version of the Bible. I like for my children to hear words that are "too hard" for them. I like for them to try to figure out what they mean and I like looking it up together to make sure.

Here is an excerpt from an excellent post at The Common Room about reading books that are "too hard" for children.
"I had very good reasons for thinking this stuff was too hard for her. And every one of my sympathetic, concerned, and loving reasons was just another way of underestimating what she was capable of doing, of keeping her trapped in the same ghetto of the mind she'd come from. For most people 'the soft bigotry of low expectations' is just a cheap slogan. For me, it's the very real way I nearly failed my child."
Please, read the rest of Deputy Headmistress's post here.


Jeni said...

I have fond memories of my mom reading aloud to my brother and I. My dad was in the military, and when he was gone for long stretches of time, we'd all pile in mom & dad's bed & she would read to us.

I look forward to reading chapter books to my daughter. She's not quite ready (she's almost 3) but it won't be long. Right now it's not her ability to understand or her vocabulary that would limit us, but her attention span!

Donna(mom24boyz) said...

I have just made the jump from textbook teaching to literature based for my children. I am following my passion for literature. I read somewhere that homeschooling moms will teach well if they throw their personal passions into the mix. Anyhoo, I purchased sonlight core 6 for my two older boys. On the one hand it is a stretch for my 11 year old to do this core. He wipped through one book over the summer. That made me think things would be ok, but tonight I ended up reading his reader aloud to him and saw why he was struggling to read the book chosen. It was full of unfamiliar words for him. After about 3 pages I started to think he was becoming turned off...because I had to keep pausing to explain things to him....but soon I was pausing to make sure he understood things and he was saying "Yes, mom, keep reading..I get it!" We went through the whole chapter and at the end. He actually asked me to read chapter 2. It was late and I said no, but it felt good to hear that he wanted me too.

I am grateful for your post. It is encouraging to me to know that he will be allright with the advanced books in this core.

Emily said...

I don't usually link to my blog when I'm leaving a comment, but I am a firm believer in reading "big" books to your children, and last year I did a post about my favorite read-aloud books for kids. Had to share it here.
I think the biggest book my mom ever read to my sis and me was "Hind's Feet on High Places" by Hannah Hurnard. I was 10 when she read it to me, and my sister was 7.

Kimberly @ RaisingOlives said...

Thanks for this post Connie. I've been reading and re-reading "Teaching the Trivium" since this past winter and one of the changes that has evoked is even more read aloud time in our house. We read a lot before, but we have really boosted this on our priority list.

We now read aloud at least 1-2 hours everyday, whether it is a "school" day or not.

Amy said...

Great post... good encouragement and reassurance that exposing our kids to stuff that is "too hard" doesn't make us educational snobs. :) Or maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing either...?
Anyway... we are a couple of weeks into our new school year and part of our schedule is to read aloud from the King James Version every day. I love 'scussing what those hard words mean!

Michal Ann said...

Hi! immichalAT yahooo

That is, I am Michal "from" Liz's "My Thoughts.." I just wanted you to know that you are one of the favorite bloggers of "Mamamonkey."

Don't know if it means anything to you but "E" is having quite a chat with M.monkey.

Keep your comments comin'...and I just love to say "Smockity" too. Love smocking.

Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae said...

Hubs has been reading chapter books to the three boys for over a year. We started with small stuff like the Lighthouse Mysteries and Poppleton Pig but we quickly graduated them to Farmer Boy. Now they're reading some mysteries, I think they're called the Farm House Mysteries. We know they don't get all of it, but they seem to have retained more of Farmer Boy than we expected. Amazing what their little minds can take in. I'm looking forward to reading some of MY favorite chapter books with my GIRLS, when they get, you know, coherent.

Honey said...

I haven't read the entire headmistress post, but after reading the quote I plan to. I have grappled with this same idea alot. I have 5 kids ages 8,7,7,& almost 6&6. I have tried reading a few books aloud to the oldest and would put them away thinking they were above his level (because he seemed to struggle over a few pages not understanding it). Rather than persevere a bit more, I would just find something else. I think I need to expect a little more. Thanks for the info.

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