Curriculum 101: Reading

Curriculum101One of the biggest struggles homeschooling families battle is which curriculum is best for their children. We become overwhelmed by the amount of curriculum available, struggle to find the right fit for each of our children, proceed to doubt each choice made for at least the first several weeks, and continue to search for new ways of teaching well after we’ve already begun our year.

To this end, we thought we’d spend the month of September launching discussions on all things curriculum.


Reading. This one subject sends shivers down many a parent’s spine. The thought of being responsible for one of the most important areas of learning can be intimidating, not to mention scary.

How does a parent teach reading? Are there tips for making the reading process a little easier? How often should our children be reading? And, do we push our children to read even when they show no interest?

While each family needs to find a curriculum, and a method, which works best for them, there are a few, general tips which we believe benefit everyone.

Start Young – Don’t wait! Encourage a love of reading at the earliest age possible. Read to them from the moment they are born until they leave your home. Even when they are too young to understand what you are reading, the act of reading will still be imprinted upon them.
What if your children are older and you didn’t start young? Don’t let that stop you! Start right now! Read during learning time; read at bedtime; start making the library one of your regular visits; discover what your child likes, and get the ball rolling. Encourage them by offering rewards for reading.

Read Often – Read as often as possible. Read when you get up – Bible time! – and read all throughout the day. Make this a daily habit.

Read for Yourself – One of the most common observances I’ve made in children who don’t enjoy reading, is their parents do not read. If we want our children to love reading, they need to see we enjoy reading! If reading a physical book is a concern, consider picking up audio books. Read slowly, but with dedication and purpose. When our children see this is important to us, it more likely to become important to them.

Encourage, but Don’t Push Too Hard – While we’d all love our children to be super readers, the worst thing we can do is push our children too hard. We need to be encouraging a love of reading, and giving them plenty of opportunity to read, but when our children fight us in this area, we need to give them space. Encourage, lead by example, and make a point of discovering books your children would prefer. Then, allow the Lord to do the work.

While I hesitate to suggest any specific curriculum for reading – the purpose of September’s series is to launch discussion, not push a particular company – I would like to point out a few things we’ve learned along the way.

  • Children can learn to read at a young age. Some start as young as three and a half.
  • Not all of my children are going to learn at the same pace, or read at the same level.
  • Children will pick up reading skills faster when being read to; it lays the groundwork for their own reading skills and helps develop sight words.
  • Learning to read phonetically was easiest and made most sense to our children.
  • Reading aloud to our children was key, but so was having our children read aloud to us! We needed to hear if they were mispronouncing words or needed help.
  • Children who read often will develop better vocabulary.
  • Reading is the first step, reading comprehension needs to follow!

🔔Now, it’s your turn!! Share your tips for developing strong readers. What’s worked for you and what hasn’t?

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13 thoughts on “Curriculum 101: Reading

  1. I pushed a bit too hard with my children at first. It was a defeat each time. But then we began the summer reading program a few years ago and this gave them a boost. And me too. I began writing stories again and had to get my hands on some books that would help me improve my craft. A win win.

    We also instituted a new writing curriculum for my then fourth grader which gave him summaries to read that eventually would turn into subject matter for writing. It was mainly about animals, another win, as he loves animals and reading about them. This informed his writing in a way that pressed further interest.

    Main take away in all this for me was to offer what piques child’s interest to get him to take steps to engage in reading and writing, as they seem to complement each other.

    Thanks for letting us share this important topic!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We read some of my favorite childhood books to our daughter every day from the time she was born. We made bible and story reading part of her bedtime routine. For years, I read the little book Goodnight Moon to her as her last book each night. I would point to things in the pictures as I read & encourage her to finish the sentences for me. I always used animated voices and tried to make it fun, which was easy because I have always enjoyed reading.

    I would frequently point out words on the pages as I said them. One day I pointed to the word “zoo” written on a picture of a balloon in one of my daughter’s favorite books. Before I said the word, she said “ZOO!” and really shocked me. I tested her by pointing to different words on several pages, and sure enough, she could recognize “zoo” every time. I was shocked because it was a couple of months before she turned three.

    I think if you want to encourage reading, start from day one, make reading part of a daily routine, choose some books with predictable patterns & encourage the child to say some of the words, make it exciting and fun (exaggerated faces and voices), make sure the child can see the book clearly and point to words and pictures as you talk about them. It’s all just so fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We used to do regular family night outings to the library or bookstore (depending on disposal income at the time). Mom and Dad got books too! And then we went home and all read quietly together. Precious times.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Re-reading. As you read something fun and familiar, pause and point to the word and make it a game for the child to guess what the next (obvious) word will be. Poetry such as The Owl and the Pussy Cat work well with this technique. Later on, you can also make nonsense rhymes as you go along to reinforce the concept of rhyming.

    Liked by 1 person

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