With summer quickly approaching, there are many more options for outdoor activities that many of us do not have year round. With more options comes the temptation to ditch the books and hit the beach, walk around the zoo, go to a theme park, all day barbeques, family reunions, pool parties, and a plethora of other wonderful opportunities. Although most homeschool families I know LOVE to read, the summer can present a conflict of interest for our children in this area.
Don’t get me wrong, nothing is wrong with doing activities that do not require books, but if not carefully monitored ditching the books can become a hard habit or attitude to break. But on a good note, I have found that even if one family member either struggles with or just simply does not like to read themselves, they still enjoy being read to.
My husband and I both happen to be book worms as does our 11-year-old daughter. Our budding 5-year-old son is just beginning to master some basic reading skills and his 3-year-old brother is not too far behind. I believe that the love of reading (as well as learning in general) needs to be nurtured. Outside of providing the right environment for reading to organically take place, nurturing that love is of the utmost importance in developing your child’s ability to process and give information (visually, audibly, orally, written, etc).
And this, my friends, is a very intentional decision we have committed to as a family, to keep the love of reading alive.
That being said, I’d like to share 5 ways that we intentionally keep our love of reading alive in our homeschool.
- Family read-aloud time.
I am sure many of you do this already, but I have found that it can taper off as the children get older if we do not purpose to keep it going. With our frequent trips to the library, we always find a book that the entire family is interested in. And every day, at least once but sometimes more, we sit together and those who are able to read take turns reading aloud to our family. Our latest reading time has been filled with the adventurous tale: Swiss Family Robinson. It is such a sweet, thought provoking, imaginative time of connecting and being together as a family. The neat thing is, my husband and I did this together before we even had children – so it is something that we have always held very dear to our hearts.
- Book related scavenger hunts.
This is a super fun one for us. Twice a month my husband and I will take several different books, taking the time to select passages out of each one to use as “clues” to make a wild goose chase of a hunt for the children to go on. It not only keeps them excited about reading, it inspires the younger ones to want to read even more. At the end we always do some sort of fun night of ice cream sundaes or s’mores as a reward for finding all the clues.
- Skits about the books we read.
This is a HUGE hit with our family. We are all really quite natural in the drama/acting department so this is something we all look forward to. We’ll find a short story or poem to read. After we’re finished reading, we’ll assign parts to do the skit. It always ends in laughter and an increased understanding of content and comprehension for the children and us as well.
- Theme related book trips.
Before we take any trip, we always take a trip or two to the library to find books related to where we are going. This is always a really exciting part of traveling for the children. This summer we will be traveling around Europe and have already begun to plan which books we’ll be taking and where. Even while driving the children read and look at their books to keep a look out for any of the major land marks.
- Family devotion time.
This is honestly the part that my husband, children,and I look most forward to every day – our time together in the Bible. In the past, as soon as I found out I was pregnant, my dear husband read a particular Bible story every night over my womb. Once our babies come out, they join us in our every day devotions together as a family. This is the best way to start off our day. We also read the Bible every time we sit down to eat. It is something my husband instituted over 13 years ago as a way to keep our hunger for God as our number one priority. And it works.
What is nice about the list above is the simple fact that you can do these suggestions anywhere. We read on hikes, walks, at the park, on tourist tours, at the beach, at the pool, in restaurants, in the car, at home, and just about any place imaginable. And the best part is, we do it together as a family.
What unique ways does your family keep the love of reading alive? Leave a comment below as I’d LOVE to hear about it. Happy reading!
Carlie currently resides in Germany courtesy of the US Army. She has been a blessed, stay-at-home, homeschoolin’ mama since 2001, to her 3 precious gifts she calls “children.” She is a proud Army wife and has been married to the love of her life, Michael, since June 2000. In her free time she enjoys anything to do with Jesus, family, photography, reading, writing, singing, teaching, and being outdoors. You can find out more about her family homeschooling adventures and Christian faith at her blog: So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?