Do you have a quiet reading time built into your homeschool?
It’s one of those things I always planned on having. And way back when Jayme was my only one I was schooling, it was a staple in our day.
There’s definite benefits to sitting and reading quietly every day.
But, then Owen developed Pica. He started eating books.
This was devastating! Our books got moved upstairs, and they only got brought down if they were carefully guarded. Since we spend most of our days downstairs, reading just hasn’t been happening as often as it should.
But, reading skills develop with lots of practice. My middle aged kids need some more reading time structured into our routines so they can improve. The younger kids also need more exposure to books.
I was inspired to revaluate somethings in our homeschool after working through the Homeschool Rescue course, and wanted to do something to help make our school reality better match what I wanted it to become.
So, I started looking at our schedule. Here’s how we’re now planning to implement quiet reading time into our daily routine.
Introduce the Concept to the Kids
We’ve had a scheduled Family Writing Time for almost two years now, so my kids are familiar with the concept of sitting quietly for a particular purpose.
If it’s something new for your kids, you’ll want to introduce them to the idea. I set out some general guidelines:
- Everyone gathers their book or books before we start the timer
- Once the timer starts, everyone sits in their spot and reads (or looks at pictures) until the timer goes off
- If you run out of books, read them again
- Bored? Try looking for every letter of the alphabet in one book
- When the timer beeps, all books go back upstairs
Then, we take a few minutes to share. I’ve discovered this is the easiest way to get buy-in from the kids. They love having everyone’s attention as they sit and listen to them share. I also enjoy this time, because it gives me insight into what’s actually happening.
I can ask some basic comprehension questions, see if they remember some sequencing of the book, and have them retell their favorite part. It doesn’t seem like “school” because it’s just Quiet Reading Time! 😀
Find a Time in Your Day
If I don’t actually plan for quiet reading time, it gets pushed to the bottom of the “to-do” list and never actually happens. Instead, we developed a morning block. After chores and school are done, we have Bible Time, Quiet Reading Time, and Family Writing Time. This block takes just over an hour and a half, by the time we factor in interruptions, set up and clean up.
But, it’s been a wonderful solution to keeping the television off in the morning. After our “Times” block, it’s free time until lunch.
Perhaps you have more time in the afternoon or evening. It doesn’t matter when you do it, just find a time that works and go for it!
Our reading time only lasts 15 minutes right now. It’s a short enough time that my toddlers can stay mostly focused, and I don’t feel bad about having Owen in his room for that length of time.
It works well too, as my middles are able to get through an easy reader during that time. And Jayme and I can typically get a couple of chapters in.
In the future, I may increase this time. But for now, I prefer to keep it on the shorter side.
If your kids are all young, 15 minutes might be too long. Try five minutes.
But, set the timer! That way you don’t have to watch the clock. You do want to have a definite stop time, so it ends on a positive note.
Kids like to imitate, so make sure you’re reading too! You’ll set a good example, and then you’ll have something to share at the end too.
Have Engaging Book
As a former teacher, our book collection is pretty extensive. I have lots of books on a variety of topics. We also try to visit the library a couple times a month, so having books around isn’t a problem.
Here are some of the books I’ve found that engage my littles:
- Where’s Waldo
- Books with flaps
- Nonfiction books with high interest topics (tractors, animals, flowers, etc.)
They need books that are visually interesting, and give them some purpose. Since they can’t read yet, they’re working on learning how to handle books, how to differentiate between letters and pictures, and some other pre-reading skills.
My middles typically pick their own books, though sometimes they need some guidance. For reading time to actually involve reading, I like to guide them to books that some would consider “too easy.” That way their brain doesn’t have to focus so much on decoding the words, and they can really pay attention to what they are reading.
Jayme loves books, so she was thrilled with having more time to read each day! She also enjoys chatting about what she’s been reading, so the sharing portion of our reading time has been a great way to connect.
No matter what stage of reading your child is in, adding a few minutes of quiet reading time to your day can be beneficial!
Do You Have Reading Time in Your Homeschool?
I’d love to hear how you make it happen! Please tell me about it in the comments.