Please read just one more (part 2)

In the last newsletter, I shared our family’s rich experience with reading aloud. The second part of this article deals with some practical how-to’s. – Sue August

By now, you may be thinking, “Where do I start?”, “Will my family sit still long enough to listen?”, and “How can I tell a well written book from a mediocre book?” Here are some practical tips to help you on your way.

1. Some children listen better when they have something to occupy their hands. My son, Jack, often drifts off my lap and begins to quietly play with Duplo blocks while I’m reading. At first, I assumed he wasn’t listening, but soon it became apparent by the questions he had that he was absorbing plenty. Older children might enjoy doodling or actually drawing an illustration for the chapter you are reading.

2. Choose a topic that interests your children, relates to something they have just learned during school time, or relates to something they recently experienced firsthand.

3. Don’t automatically stop at the end of a chapter. Look for the most suspenseful scene you can find and stop there “until next time.” (C.S. Lewis in The Chronicles of Narnia takes care of this for you. Each chapter ends on a suspenseful note.)

4. If your normal lifestyle is too busy right now, try starting a family read aloud time while you’re on vacation or taking a long trip in a car. It will be very rewarding to have your children recall fond memories of a vacation and include memories of reading together!

Finding good books is not as easy as it used to be. One rule of thumb that I use is to look for a copyright date earlier than 1960. These books tend to reflect a higher moral standard, and they usually reward virtue and good character. An early copyright date is not a guarantee, but it is a good place to start. Also, there seem to be endless book lists published by Christian authors and homeschoolers. Here are just a few:

+ Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt

+ Books Children Love by Elizabeth Wilson

+ Books That Build Character by William Kilpatrick (conservative but not Christian)

+ Reading through the Ages (

The following catalogs list many favorites:

+ Beautiful Feet Catalog – lists historical fiction by time period and reading level

+ Hearthside Catalog – lists by subject and grade level

+ F.U.N. Books Catalog

+ Children’s Books Catalog

Here are some of Jack’s “All Time Favorites”:

+ Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

+ The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

+ Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

+ The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois

+ Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry

+ Homer Price by Henry McCloskey

Happy reading!

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