Hey, everyone! It’s time to start building my reading list for the new school year. I always have mixed emotions during this time of year because I’m sad that summer’s gone. At the same time, my soul craves structure, and fall kind of brings back the structure that the summer lets slide by.
Reading lists have been very challenging these last couple of years. The challenge hasn’t been preparing them (although last year I opted to follow a previously prepared list – never again). It was more that the books weren’t a good fit for my children.
This year I’m using both, my Kindles (one of my easy homeschool helps for reading list slaying) and some real, physical books to help with my six readers. (My seventh is special needs and isn’t there yet.)
So let me share a few tips on building (and sticking to) your reading list that helped me.
Every Book Doesn’t Have To Be Child Approved
I don’t know about your children, but not all of mine like reading. Yet, as moms, we know that reading is fundamental. It’s the backbone of learning. Show me a reader and I’ll show you a great vocabulary, beautiful imagination, and articulation that’ll bring a smile to your grandma’s face.
My grandmother is 89 years old. So, she’s not old school. She’s a back in the day when you trekked that hard, mile long journey through the snow (with holes in your shoes) to get your education kind of old school. So there’s no playing around with her.
Gram has a short tolerance for video consoles and devices that consume the attention of today’s child. She’s expressed time and time again how boredom comes too easy for children because their imagination is not given a chance to be stimulated.
But reading lists are a great way to get around that. Reading will stimulate their imaginations, and the more they have to read, the more they’ll come to like it (or tolerate it). Truth is they may never actually come to love it.
But do we not give our children vegetables because they don’t like them?
Choose Books For Your Reading List That Fit Your Agenda
Choose books that fit your agenda. Our agenda is to read classics that were written during the period of history that we study. The reason is to give the children insight about authors during the time. They also get to experience the difference in writing style and better understand the writer’s motivation.
I’ve found that aligning our books with history brings life to the books that children may not otherwise have an interest. It’s like giving them a peek into the way that people lived, behaved and dressed.
I, honestly, believe that it’s made our reading more interesting when we’ve tied our reading list into our history.
Let Them Choose A Fun Book
Once you’ve selected books that suit your agenda, let your child find a fun pick. My children like to choose some of the books based off of television shows they watch. Sure, they may whine in the beginning, but when they saw the variety of books that were tied to things that they actually like, all of that changed!
You will find that one fun book can spark the interest in a completely different subject.
There’s an old Scooby Doo Zombie Island movie that my children must’ve watched a bazillion times. At any rate, that movie lit a spark of interest in bats. So like any mom who wants their child to be happy, I got a book about bats. I was like, “Yes!”
Then there’s the interest my boys have in knowing all about dinosaurs. I owe that spark to Jurassic Park, my friends. After that movie, I ended up with a collection of books for of all the different dinosaurs that you could imagine. I never knew there were so many!
I used these sparks to get my children to read more and it sooo works.
Stick To A Time To Complete Each Book On The Reading List
Time guidelines for reading books make life so much easier to teach the lazy child. I usually give two weeks to read one classic on their reading list. Homeschoolers have plenty of time to read in a day. The question is will they choose to?
Probably not, but if they’re given a time frame to read, it cuts down on any procrastination that might otherwise occur.
Let’s be honest.
Children are the biggest time wasters in the history of man!
It’s our responsibility to train them to be responsible human beings, and time guides are a great way to achieve that.
Do A Fun Project
Projects are a great way to document the completion of a book on your reading list. It also makes children look forward to the next book on their list because they know that something fun is coming.
Littler children may favor projects like building a log cabin with sticks after reading Little House in the Big Woods.
One time we made a ship out of watermelon after reading Guliver’s Travels. It was delicious and fun!
But projects aren’t just for little ones. They’re for your high-schoolers too!
Think spending four hours in the dress up character of someone they read about.
After reading Witch of Blackbird Pond, my daughter cleaned the floors in the whole kitchen on her hands and knees without me asking! (I mean, honestly, I would have at least given her the mop.)
Dinah sykes has great resources for notebooking, which can be used with any curriculum as an additional “fun” project
Talk About What They Liked After It’s All Done
This one’s something most teachers would advise. When you show genuine interest in what your children read, they’ll shine! Initially, resisting readers may have a bit of a problem with talking, and you may have to pull out the fun with some constructive questions.
Ask questions like, “What character would you say was the most trouble in the book?”
Or, you could ask “What kind of person was the main character?”
This causes the child to think about what happened in the book. You may also find that they’ll go on and on as their brains churn with the details of the book.
Don’t ask questions like, “What did you like most about the book?”
That dreaded question gives room for children to answer, “Nothing.”
Summing It Up
Reading lists can be a great tool to get children to read more, but sticking to one can be difficult. Children can resist or become consumed with other things they’d rather do.
The truth is that reading is the foundation of education. It helps to improve the vocabulary, imagination and articulation of our children.
Getting through reading lists can be challenging, but with these tips and bit of commitment, you can get through those lists, and find that your children will actually learn to enjoy reading so much more!
Do you have any reading list tips that you use? Note them in the comments. I’d love to hear them.