"To read with a loud and full tone, to pronounce every syllable properly and distinctly, and to mind the pauses; --- are the three most difficult points to be gained in making good readers." ----from The Original McGuffey's Eclectic Series (The Eclectic Fourth Reader) by William H. McGuffey
Today I've been working on cleaning our homeschool room, and ran across this McGuffey's reader. Although we didn't use much of the book, I gleaned some things in it and taught a lesson or two from it. I especially liked the emphasis on having the student read aloud. Clearly. Confidently.
Isn't one of the goals we have in home teaching that our kids would read, write and speak well? It all starts with reading, of course, and simply builds from there. We have an ideal opportunity with homeschooling because when our kids stammer or struggle as they pronounce difficult words, we're there to encourage and help them during the whole process.
I'll never forget being in Mrs. Clark's third grade class. I was in one of the lowest reading groups ---the Sparrows. Who were they trying to kid? All the students knew that the best readers were the Blue Jays and Cardinals! It was embarrassing seeing the other kids try to keep from giggling as I mispronounced words and got tongue- tied. I needed patience, time and encouragement -- something Mrs. Clark didn't provide -- but something we can give to our kids as homeschooling moms!
The tendency is to encourage our young, new readers to read aloud as we sit closely beside them. I think that's great, and remember snuggling on the couch many a homeschool day hearing the twins take turns reading interesting books . But sometimes as our kids become adept at reading, we often back off on having them read aloud, and set them free to conquer reading assignments silently on their own. Of course, they certainly need to do independent work, but I think that it's good for our kids to keep reading aloud periodically all through their middle and high school years.
Our kids will get called on to read and speak in public no matter what they pursue in life. Reading aloud gives them a chance to gain confidence and to get over the fear of standing up and speaking in front of a group. Maybe you're already having your kids do this, and if so -- great! I remember when the boys were in 6th grade, they would put on their colonial triangle hats, and dramatically read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, Paul Revere's Ride. ..."Listen my children, and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere..."
One summer at a Little League baseball game, the umpire randomly selected Justin to recite the Little League Pledge in front of the team, coaches and fans. The umpire handed him a little piece of paper and said, " Number 10 - Can you go read this over the loud speaker?"
Let's call on our children to get up (yes, stand up on occassion) and read! They'll be prepared as we have trained them ever-so-lovingly at home with tons of patience and encouragement.
Oh - one last thing. For middle and high schoolers... it's absolutely beautiful to hear them reading passages of Scripture, so do provide them with the opportunity to read to the whole family when you can! Even the younger ones can do this as well.
May the Lord help you and bless you as you strive to be the best mom you can be! Keep reading!