What is Phonological Awareness? Phonological awareness is an important skill in learning how to read. Simply put it is the ability to distinguish sounds within words when heard in spoken language. For example, a child who has developed phonological awareness skills will be able to rhyme, distinguish individual sounds within a word, beginning sounds and Continue reading »
Winter is a wonderful time to take Alphabet Walks with your children. In my part of the U.S., this means bundling up for the cold weather, but hunting for the ABCs in nature may be just the thing to get you and the kids moving on darker winter days.
The main object of an Alphabet Walk is to find letters that have been unintentionally formed in the outdoors. Perhaps crossing tree branches form an X against the blue sky, or a cat curved on your deck forms a perfect C. A front door wreath on your neighbor’s house is an O. The brickwork above the windows in an old Main Street building creates a V. Continue reading »
When I tried to throw our dictionary out my oldest threw a fit. This is a very old dictionary. It was owned by my Great Aunt Mildred. The book is huge, with indents along the side for each letter of the alphabet. It’s also not in good shape. Threads are hanging out of a nearly Continue reading »
Some of my favorite children’s books are also wonderful learning resources you can use instead of curriculum. Among these are the oversize children’s classics about mythology by the d’Aulaires. The D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths and the D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths delighted all my kids when they were pre-readers through their late elementary years, and I found that the understanding of mythology they learned from these books persisted through their middle school and high school years, when they needed to spot and comprehend literary allusions to mythology. Continue reading »
A new year has arrived for our homeschool co-op, and I’m delighted to have a new bunch of kids to write with. Last year, I led ongoing weekly writing workshops for our high schoolers and middle schoolers. This quarter, I get to work with our elementary age writers. This gave me a chance to get started with my unorthodox approach to helping kids with their writing. Continue reading »
Elementary age homeschooled kids are often eager book group participants. They’ll describe plot and action and favorite characters, and they are enthusiastic about their recommendations. However, parents sometimes struggle to move their kids to more literary discussion about books as they grow into middle school and early high school years.
One useful idea to smooth this transition is to pair a book with its movie adaptation. I’ve found that kids frequently find films to be more accessible, and creating a scenario where kids will naturally compare the book and the movie is an easy way to create deeper discussion points. Additionally, while homeschooled kids are not known for hiding their smarts by opting out of talking about their reading, movies still do bridge a gap that may exist for some teens–movies simply may be perceived as cooler. Continue reading »
Children with right-brain characteristics can learn to read effectively! These holistic thinkers often just need a different approach – one with plenty of visual and kinesthetic stimuli, and a whole-to-part perspective. A previous article provided an overview of the characteristics of the right-brained reader, and Right-brained Reading Strategies detailed a variety of approaches and resources to help these kids read effectively. Don’t stress out, homeschool moms – use some of these additional strategies to help your right-brained reader maximize his or her potential. Continue reading »
Children with right brain characteristics often need a different approach to reading. These children, who tend to be visually-spatially oriented, holistic, and “big picture” rather than detail-oriented, and tend to create meaning from words by developing three-dimensional pictures in their minds. It is not unusual for traditional decoding phonics programs or decoding strategies to be ineffective for right-brain oriented kids. Previous articles provided strategies for helping right-brain learners with math, and gave a general overview of how the right-brained student processes information for reading. If you have a right-brained reader, consider the following curricula and strategies Continue reading »
Author Aldous Huxley wrote, “Everyone who knows how to read has it in their power to magnify themselves, to multiply the ways in which they exist, to make their life full, significant, and interesting.” Although most homeschoolers have an awareness of the importance of reading for children, it is always helpful to review the evidence that backs up our feelings. With the cooler weather coming, fall is the perfect time to take a fresh look at why reading is such a critical factor for children’s success, as well as get reinvigorated toward making reading one of the foundations of the homeschool curriculum (and part of everyday family life).
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Cooler weather outside gives homeschoolers just one more reason to focus on reading! Although reading aloud is an excellent family activity for children of all ages, including those who have long been reading on their own, it is particularly important for children in elementary school. During this critical time period, parents have the opportunity to truly instill a love for reading that has the potential to influence the child’s academic development throughout his or her school years. Continue reading »
Okay, so your child loves to watch television, play video games, surf on the Internet, and listen to music. And there’s nothing wrong with those activities, as long as they’re used in moderation. Most parents would also love to see their kids participate in more constructive activities — like reading children’s books — but the trick is to get your little ones to actually sit down and crack open a book a few times per week. Continue reading »
Many people who struggle with reading have low self-esteem and feel stupid. They may have been called “stupid” or “lazy”. All research has been conclusive in proving that difficulty with reading has nothing to do with intelligence. If you know someone who feels this way, them know that their reading struggles have nothing to do Continue reading »
Reading the words from left to right can be a difficult task for struggling readers. Often the words appear to move around or the space between words us unclear. It helps to use a finger or a card underneath the words to help your eyes “track” and focus on each word and letter you are Continue reading »
Have you ever had to read a book on a topic that you didn’t care about? We all have. (Think back to those dry history books filled with a series of dates, or overly technical science tomes.) And sometimes that is part of life – at times we have to read, even if we aren’t Continue reading »
If you’re looking for a way to connect with your teenage daughter this summer, consider starting a girl’s book study group with your daughter and her friends. You may think that teens would not respond well to this idea, but think again. you just might be surprised. Continue reading »
Reading aloud to our children is the number one recommendation for helping our young children become reading-ready as well as helping our older children develop a true love of great words. But for most of us there’s so little time in the homeschool day! One great solution is to use audio books. Our family has listened to many classics, biographies, plays and non-fiction – both together and individually. Continue reading »