Early Education Success: 3 Simple Ingredients – PART 3
Read Aloud is one of the best things you can do with the children. Its easy, you can literally start anywhere and at anytime. It does not take much time but the benefits are unparalleled. It teaches beautiful language, helps you bond with the child, teach them about any subject under the sun, fills their mind with great ideas, also teaches the nuances/semantics of the language. Read the classics, whenever possible but also include non fiction, picture books and random chapter books. Use living books to inspire love for any subject. Even if you don’t do anything else this alone would suffice in the early years. If you find yourself pressed for time use audio books. Listen in the car or at home. Once on a topic that’s interesting learn more about it together. We don’t have to know everything, we can learn right along with them. You would be modeling that there is no definite age to learn and you don’t have to be at a specific place to learn. It will teach them to be lifelong learners. Our enthusiasm can inspire a love of learning in them. Read aloud is not just for young students who cannot read on their own. There is a lot of research available which emphasize the importance of reading aloud irrespective of the students age. I would highly recommend “Read Aloud Handbook” by Jim Trelease. I read this years ago when i was just starting out, though I forgot most of what I read, it was this book which got me started with these super long read aloud bedtime stories(1 hour atleast) which became a tradition for us. After reading, have them retell the story or talk about their favorite part. When a child narrates they have to think about what he/she comprehended, choose the right words, think about the sentence structure, recall details and the express the main idea effectively. It involves taking in the information in a deeper way, processing it and then letting it out. This is teaching with simplicity. My husband intuitively felt that retelling will help them and suggested I do it for quite some time. But I didn’t make much of it until I read about it in various books. If the child is older then they could draw or write about it. Narration teaches a lot of skills.(Read more about ‘Charlotte Mason education’ to understand this better).
I cannot tell you how much my children have benefited from these long read aloud sessions. Even my younger one was listening and learning . I didn’t realize it until a year later. He remembered the characters and the storyline from this entire book series we did when he was not even 2.5 years old. I have noticed a difference when we took a break for a few months from read aloud when we moved. It has also helped me bond with the kids and opened up so many parenting/disciplining opportunities to mentor them in complex matters. Usually at bedtime during read aloud we end up talking about our deepest concerns/feelings. I am sure they are building some amazing comprehension skills and all this without using complicated terms is a big win for me. So yes, please read to your child. There is no limit to it. Read and listen together from audio books, go to library storytimes, read about different topics. Fortunately we have libraries everywhere… and its really easy to find books.
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents” – Emilie Buchwald
“The greatest gift is a passion for reading” – Elizabeth Hardwick
In conclusion, I would say home educating a young child is easy. A few good books, a simple yet enriching environment, lots of playtime indoors and outdoors, and an inclusive, loving and attentive parent…. This is all you need for homeschool success. Its really simple.
Just let them in your life and step out into their world and let the magic happen!
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