The Value of Reading Aloud

When a new-to-homeschooling mom asks, in a panic, how she will even begin to start homeschooling her children, my advice has always been simple:

Even if you do nothing with your child for the first year but read to them, they will be better off than if they’d been in a traditional school. 

Reading Out Loud

Sometimes, I worry that this advice is entirely too simple. But looking back at my early homeschooling years, it is what I wish I would have done. And it is what I’m doing with my youngest set now.

Over at Read-Aloud Revival, Sarah has a podcast interviewing Andrew Pudewa (of Institute for Excellence in Writing fame) about the value of reading aloud to your kids, even the older ones. This interview has basically confirmed everything I’ve ever thought about reading to my kids. It is invaluable. You cannot possibly do too much of it, and letting other things slide while you read to your kids is ok (most of the time!). It has also confirmed a nagging suspicion I have about my own homeschooling: I have made it way more complicated than it needs to be. If you’re interested in the talk by Andrew Pudewa that she refers to at the beginning of the podcast, here is the link: Nurturing Competent Communicators. I have not listened to this yet, but have it scheduled for my next free hour and a half. (Ha!)

In light of these podcasts, I’m thinking I should rephrase what I say to fledgling homescholers:

Especially if you do nothing other than read to your children for their first few school years, they will be better off than if they had attended a traditional school.

So what are we reading out loud right now? Rascal, which was recommended very highly by Auntie Leila over at Like Mother, Like Daughter. The kids are loving it–even my five-year-old. The prose is beautiful, and the story is keeping my oldest son interested. After listening to the Read-Aloud Revival Podcast, I’m inspired to tackle Wind in the Willows again with my kids, taking it slowly and savoring all the descriptions. It might take us a while, but now I know that’s all right.


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