Reading ‘Aloud’ Is Fundamental
Every year the R.I.F (Reading is Fundamental) program would come to my school and set up thousands of new books on tables in the gymnasium. They would generously let each student pick out not one, but two books. These books were not for borrowing, but for us to keep forever. That thrilled me to no end because I dearly loved reading and loved the look, feel, and smell of a brand new book. I would go home and devour the book in one night. I still have all of those books from those carefree school days. After all, they were treasures to me then and still are. Sweet, simple gifts like that make the best memories.
When we first started our homeschooling journey, I was lucky to read a paper by Carole Joy Seid, a veteran homeschooling mother, on the benefits of not only reading but being read to.
My Daddy read to us often when I was a child and when he wasn’t reading from a book, he would recite a short story or poem from memory. He was a radio broadcaster so his stories always sounded polished and professional because he would use his radio voice
I started the habit of reading aloud to my children when they were very young; sometimes I was bad, though and would skip pages of One Fish Two Fish or The Cat in the Hat because after you’ve read it eight times in one day, your brain turns to mush.
It was when I started reading chapter books aloud that I found myself caught up in the stories and couldn’t wait until the next day to read the next chapter. The best part was, my children were excited too! We have been on voyages to the Fiji Islands with RM Ballentyne in The Coral Island and have sailed Around the World in Eighty Days with Jules Verne. We have gone on adventures with Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey and felt the heartache of losing a loved one in Charlotte’s Web. This past week, we re-read Walk the World’s Rim by Betty Baker. I read it the first time eight years ago, but my daughter was too young to remember it. I wanted her to experience the beauty and emotions that we felt at the first reading. I was surprised when my 16 year old recalled so many of the important moments from the book. Contrary to what I thought the first time I read it, he WAS listening!
Even though my children are 16, 15 and 12, I still read aloud to them daily. It is a beautiful bond that we share, and I will always treasure. I encourage you to start the trend with your family too!
Developing that passion for reading is crucial, according to Jim Trelease, author of the best-seller, "The Read-Aloud Handbook." "Every time we read to a child, we're sending a 'pleasure' message to the child's brain," he writes in the "Handbook." "You could even call it a commercial, conditioning the child to associate books and print with pleasure."
This reading "commercial" is critical when competition for a child's attention is so fierce. Between television, movies, the Internet, video games and myriad after-school activities, the pleasures of sitting down with a book are often overlooked. In addition, negative experiences with reading - whether frustrations in learning to read or tedious "skill and drill" school assignments - can further turn children off from reading.
That can have long-term consequences. As Mr. Trelease says in his handbook, "Students who read the most, read the best, achieve the most, and stay in school the longest. Conversely, those who don't read much, cannot get better at it."
A few things to keep in mind when picking out chapter books to read aloud. Do not choose the abridged versions. They are watered down and to me they are dumbed down. Read the original! You may have to hunt for them but you can find them. Yard Sales and Library Sales are great places to start. We once found an abridged version of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. What a sorry mess it was! The original is filled with such poetic language, it would be a shame for your children to be shortchanged and not hear those beautiful words that Irving penned.
An important note; if you have small children, let them play on the floor with their toy trains, dolls or legos. Don't make them sit still while you are reading to them. They ARE listening, Mama! My boys had a hard time keeping still and I found that even if they were doing flips over the back of the couch, they could dictate back to me the last paragraph that I read. Sitting for long periods of time isn't natural for young children. Don't make them do it while you are reading to them. They and you will enjoy the time better.
Below is a very short list of some of our favorites for Elementary age children. If I listed them all, you would grow weary of reading the list, it is so long!
The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe
Miss Piggle Wiggle
The Boxcar Children
Along Came a Dog
Walk the Worlds Rim
A lion to Guard Us
The Winged Watchman
The Witch of Blackbird Pond
The Borrowed House
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
That’s the news from the homestead, see you next week!
Last weekend, my sweetheart and I drove over to Blowing Rock and had lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, a British styled pub called Sixpence. Have you ever been there? Great food & atmosphere! On our way home, we picked up a half bushel of mountain apples and a bag of chestnuts. Chinquapin; I believe that is what the old timers called the type of chestnuts we bought. They will be a tasty snack after we roast them. The variety of apples that I purchased was Winesap, and I was very busy this week making them into apple butter. Have you ever made apple butter? It is sinfully easy. Apple Butter doesn’t have butter in it; it get’s its name from the smooth texture that occurs after a lengthy cooking time. The old fashioned way of making apple butter involved cooking it outdoors over an open fire and usually in a copper pot. I couldn’t manage to procure a copper pot without shelling out a ton of cash for it, so I opted for an easier method and a cooking vessel that most kitchens have; a crock pot. To make apple butter, you need a large crock pot, enough apples to fill it, sugar, vinegar and apple pie spice. Begin by peeling, coring and slicing up your apples, fill the crock pot full of them and add 3 cups of sugar and 1 cup of apple cider vinegar. Add two heaping tablespoons of apple pie spice and let it cook all day on high. You will need to stir it on occasion to break down the apples. Be careful, the mixture will be very hot! Next week, I will tell you how to preserve your apple butter by canning it in a hot water bath. I wanted to remind you of our Herbal Workshop at Sweet Harvest Homestead on October 8th. It is not too late to sign up. This is going to be such a fun and informative class! We are privileged to have Dr. Partick Ess as our guest speaker. Janice Efird will be our guest demonstrator and show us how to make an effective earache remedy. The workshop starts at 10:30 and we will make tinctures, herbal salves, and an herbal body cream as well as The Master Tonic ( a natural cold and flu remedy). A delicious lunch will be provided. The class is limited to 12 people, and your spot is reserved upon payment. Cost is $99. You will go home with three tinctures, a jar of The Master Tonic, handouts, a jar of body cream, salve & a full belly. These classes fill up quickly! Reserve your spot now. For more information, you can email me at Lindy@LindySellers.com or visit my website www.sweetharvesthomestead.com. That’s the news from the homestead, see you next week.
Summer’s over; now it’s fall, just the nicest time of all.- Lois Lenski.
I love to drive on our country roads early in the morning. The morning glories are out in full bloom, and the cornfields look like they are sprinkled with colorful confetti. The blooms are pink, purple, white, orange and blue, and I always wonder if someone planted them or if they are volunteers. Once, on a frosty autumn morning, I passed by a field where pumpkins and corn were growing together. Wound around them were morning glories. With the sun just coming up and giving off a dusky shade of pink, the field looked like something you would dream up. That is an image I will never forget. I guess that is why they call them morning glories, for they are indeed glorious.
Did you know that it is an old Native American tradition to plant corn, pumpkins, and beans together in a field? That trio is called the three sisters. I tried that the first year that we lived our land. I guess I was a bit greedy because I had my farmer friend plow way too big of a garden for me to handle. We harvested some pumpkins, beans, and corn that fall, but we mostly harvested weeds.
We are excited to be offering a series of workshops here at Sweet Harvest Homestead. Our first being on Saturday, October 8th- Medicinal Tinctures, Herbal Salves & Lotions; 10:30 -1:00
It is my belief that we are overmedicating our bodies with pharmaceuticals that cause way too many terrible side effects. We can use an effective and much more gentle approach with herbs. God gave us a plethora of healing plants that are all around us if we only take the time to learn about them. Come out and spend a beautiful autumn morning at Sweet Harvest Homestead and learn how to make a variety of medicinal herbal tinctures. (Herbs infused with alcohol). We will make Lemon Balm Tincture for relaxation, Valerian Tincture for Sleep, Goldenrod Tincture for seasonal allergies and a natural cold and flu remedy called Master Tonic. A delicious lunch is provided. After lunch, we will make a Healing Herbal Salve with Comfrey & Plantain that is good for bug bites, bee stings, rashes and other skin irritations and a luxurious herbal body cream.You will go home with four tinctures, a jar of salve, a jar of herbal cream, handouts and a full belly.
We will have guest speakers and demonstrators too. Come prepared to have fun and learn!
The class is limited to 12 people, and the spot is reserved upon payment.
$99 per person.
Email Lindy@LindySellers.com for more information.
That’s the news from the homestead, see you next week.