If you have read my past posts about read alouds, you know we take them seriously in our homeschool. Some days, that’s all we get done. And that’s okay because read alouds are that important.
I want to focus today on why I’m so crazy about reading to my children. It took us a long time to get around to where we are now, but this is a good place.
So without further ado, here are the two biggest lessons of read alouds.
It doesn’t have to all make sense
“But it makes no sense!” How many times had I said that when I first started homeschooling? I wanted my children to get it and get it all. I wanted them not just to repeat and memorize but truly understand.
The problem is, that’s not how it works. No one gets it all, not at first anyway. And that’s okay.
As the “classical” part of my classical unschooling style developed, I began to see that it didn’t all need to make sense right away. I began to understand that what we call learning came by degrees – at first the connections necessary for learning did not happen, that much time had to spent in the grammar stage before logic developed.
This was as true in reading aloud as it was in other subjects. I did not have to painstakingly explain every idiom and turn of the plot as I read. It was okay if the children focused on one thing in the story and I enjoyed another – deeper – level of understanding. They didn’t have to get everything I got from it.
The varied experiences serve to deepen our enjoyment of the read aloud; they do not take away from it.
A little bit everyday goes a long way
This is perhaps my favorite thing about reading aloud. Instead of teaching my children discipline, instead of telling them that a little bit everyday goes a long way toward getting something done, a read aloud actually shows them that fact.
See a pattern? Besides being fantasies, they were all fairly long. When we first picked each one, we thought we’d be reading them – in the words of my seven year old – “forever!”
But we got through them one chapter at a time. And they didn’t last forever.
One word, one sentence, one page at a time. This is the greatest lesson of a read aloud, regardless of what is in the pages: doing a little every day can accomplish great things.