Home School Court Report
Current Issue | Archives | Advertising | About | Search
Vol. XXV
No. 1

In This Issue

Parent to Parent Previous Page Next Page
by MaryAnn Gaver
- disclaimer -
Sound Like a Pro
Column Host
MaryAnn Gaver

“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.”

—The Original McGuffey’s Eclectic Fourth Reader

Do you know adults who dislike reading aloud in front of people? Maybe you are one of them. There may be a number of reasons why a person doesn’t feel comfortable getting up in front of a group to read or speak, but purposeful training and practice can really make a difference. Let’s look at how we can prepare our children to be confident readers, so that they’ll be ready when called upon. How about starting to practice now, and making reading aloud a daily part of your homeschool?

Share Your Tips

This column is designed to feature teaching tips, encouragement, and advice from homeschooling parents.

Our topic for the May/June issue is manners. We’ll discuss the lost art of etiquette. How does your family cultivate good manners in your home? Submissions may be edited for space. Mail submissions to:

Attn: Parent to Parent, HSLDA
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, VA 20134

Or email us (include “Parent to Parent” in the subject line) at ComDept@hslda.org

Please include your name and address. Submission deadline is 3/31/09.

Here are some options to consider:

  • Pick a beautiful psalm or portion of Scripture and read it to your family
  • .
  • Find speeches, quotes, and addresses from famous people and read with feeling.
  • Select a news story or the local weather report to share at the breakfast table.
  • Read lines from a play. Lift your head and project your voice!
  • Incorporate reading aloud as you teach various subjects.

Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Relax and keep encouraging your child even if he or she stumbles over words.
  • Be patient and don't interrupt.
  • Practice and don't expect overnight results.

Call your children to read. Get going, and I guarantee you’ll see improvement—yourself included.

MaryAnn Gaver and her husband, Jay, have been homeschooling their twin sons for seven years.


Draw Them In

To spark my sons’ interest in the stories I assign them to read, I will often sit down with them and begin reading the first few pages of the story aloud together. When there is dialogue, I will usually have my son assume the role of at least one of the characters and ask him to read the character’s words with emotion, as he would imagine the characters themselves speaking. We have a lot of fun reading together this way, and I have found it helpful in motivating my sons to read more.

by Janice S. / Purcellville, VA

Adding Excitement

I have a special needs daughter, so we started early, simply, and slowly. She loves all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and would ask me to read from them often. She quickly learned to recognize the names Laura, Mary, Ma, and Pa, so, when I came to a name in an exciting place, I would stop reading, point to the name, and she would say it. As she learned to read more words, I would stop at exciting or dramatic places, point to other words, and have her help me read the sentence. It never stopped the flow of our reading, as I made sure to ask her words I knew she could read, as well as words she could figure out just by the context. And by choosing exciting or dramatic parts, she naturally read the word(s) with excitement or sadness or giggles.

by Lisa P. / South Charleston, WV

Reading by Example

In my life before kids, I worked in radio and public relations. When God blessed us with children, I started reading aloud to them. I haven’t stopped; my sixth grader loves to be read to. To teach children how to read aloud naturally and with confidence, you must model it. Put in emotion. Read ahead a few words in your head so you know where to pause, whisper, shout, or change pitch or voice. Teach by example, but also come alongside and coach. I will occasionally read a paragraph aloud before my 9-year-old does, to model how to do it. I coach him on how to emphasize words, use good pronunciation and volume. I’ve given him opportunities to read to audiences by taking him on weekly visits to an early learning center to read children’s books aloud and to a nursing home to read to the elderly, who shower him with praise.

by Jamie A. / Tecumseh, MI