Sometimes life gets too busy! I know it’s too busy when I drop reading aloud to my older kids. I read aloud every night with my emerging reader, because he won’t let me forget that it’s our nighttime ritual. But the older ones don’t ask for it. They want to go read on their own at night. I heard the above speech by Andrew Pudewa years ago and I just stumbled on it again. Having listened to it, I am much more determined to make sure I keep reading aloud to my older kids. After years of being a homeschooling mom, I finally figured out that I can squeeze reading aloud to my kids by doing it while they do dishes and fold clean laundry. This morning we returned to our Five Little Peppers Midway. It felt so good to be back to reading aloud. I like to have one book I read for the morning dishes, and a different book for dinner dishes. For the latter we are reading Little Britches.
I love Andrew’s presentation! His message in a nutshell is that the best way to get children to be competent communicators is to read aloud massive amounts of books to them. Having them read on their own is not the same as reading aloud to them. They need to hear the spoken words to form a database in their mind of spoken language. Now that I have grown children, I can testify that it works. I never did a full-blown language arts curriculum with those kids, or the ones left at home, for that matter. We never had spelling workbooks or grammar books. Two of them did take a writing course in their homeschool group. That’s it. They got scholarships to college and read and write well.
If all you can do for homeschooling is read aloud a great book to your child, consistently, day in and day out, that is enough! Education will grow within them with the fertile soil of beautiful language spoken to them. Andrew tells the story of a single dad who homeschooled his kids in Alaska simply by reading aloud to them every day. They went on to go to Ivy League schools. I’m not saying that if you read aloud to your kids, they will do the same thing, but they will definitely flourish and bloom and find the best path for their education with your reading aloud nurturing.
Here’s an interview that Andrew did with Sarah McKenzie, a blogger and podcaster, that is just as inspiring as to the power of reading aloud.