• My affiliate links won't hurt you, but they might help feed my kids. See my full disclosure policy in the main menu.

Chucking the Reading Level

Chucking the reading level can help your child learn to love to read organically

I’ve often said I’m not about reading levels for kids.  I think too much stress is put on reading levels in public schools, and it spills over into other types of schooling.  I’ve seen it it kill any love for books kids might develop.  Reading is such a personal act, and learning it should be as organic as it can be.

When my boys were little, we could often be found curled up with a stack of picture books on  the floor, reading through them one at a time and exclaiming over the pictures, studying the letters, discussing the sentence structure.  But at bedtime, even when they were toddlers, I snuggled up with them and read them a chapter from a chapter book.  Harry Potter The Key to RondoThe Narnia seriesThe Guardians of Ga’HooleA Series of Unfortunate Events.

Why?  Because stories expand our minds, and I wanted my boys to learn early how to let that happen without pictures.  Even I was surprised by how quietly they settled down and focused on the chapter each night, closing their eyes and letting my voice lull them.  I wasn’t at all surprised by the vocabulary they picked up, the way their imaginations swelled to include new knowledge, or their high-level ability to understand complex situations at an early age.  That’s what reading above your ‘reading level’ does for you.
Continue reading

4 Simple Steps to Teaching Literary Theme

These 4 steps will have you teaching literary theme like a boss and your kids finally understanding how to find the theme of any novel.

Theme.  It’s probably the one word that terrifies readers and students more than any other.

Which is funny, because it’s pretty easy to spot.

I mean, every time we read a book, we know at the end what big lesson was learned by the protagonist, even if we can’t put it into words.

It’s more a feeling. That’s kinda the point.
Continue reading

Nature’s Storybooks–11 Ideas for Using Literature for Nature Study

The Secret Garden and 10 other books that add literature to nature study

One of the best ways to introduce science to your kids is doing nature studies.  In fact, nature study was our entire science curriculum the first year we homeschooled.

We did a 7-week science study the summer before as a test to see if the boys could learn from me, treat me like a teacher, and do this homeschool thing right.  Obviously, they passed.

Since we had done science already, nature study seemed like a good addition to our first year curriculum.  Over the years, we’ve continued to incorporate it into our classes.

And yeah, we used literature to supplement.  Because I’m the Lit Mama.

Continue reading

Why I Hate Twaddle

Dismissing their favorite books as twaddle and insisting they read something more 'worthwhile' is a quick way to make your kids hate reading

Brace yourself.  You’re probably going to disagree with me.

If the internet is any indication, I am in the minority here.  S’ok, I can be pretty minor.

I don’t hate twaddle.  I hate the word ‘twaddle’ and all it stands for.
Continue reading