Getting Back to Reading Aloud

This month, April, marks the 15th anniversary of the first Home School Fair I ever attended.  It was simply a group of home school moms having a show and tell of their favorite curriculums. It was 1998 and my oldest wasn’t quite 3 years old.  The twins were 8 months old.  I knew were were going to home school and I had been encouraged to start researching curriculum, methods, etc. now because it wouldn’t be long before that not quite 3 year old would be school age (and to think that in two months, she’ll be graduating!!).

This was my first glimpse of curriculum. I fell in love with the idea of Learning Language Arts through Literature and I was introduced to a company named Sonlight.  There were some who did not like Sonlight because of their use of Usborne books.  I was slightly overwhelmed and put the whole concept of curriculum on hold.  I mean she was only 2 3/4!

As the months went by I realized I really did need *something* for this now active 3 year old.  She loved numbers.  Everything was all about counting and she was figuring out number patterns. In January of 1999, I got my hands on a Sonlight catalog and a Teacher’s Guide. Basic K, 1997.  I had spent months looking at this company and that company and just not happy with the silly little workbooks that I kept seeing. 

I took that TG and catalog home and I devoured them!  I shared the catalog with my husband.  We requested a catalog of our own.  We knew.  We just knew.  We had to approach the education of our children through books. 

I placed my very first Sonlight order in June of 1999.  I was very ambitious and purchased the Basic K program with K LA and K Math for my *just turned 4 year old*.  What was I thinking??!!!  She did ok with the math.  Remember I said she loved numbers? Letters? Oh my NO.  She wanted NOTHING to do with learning her letters.  The books?  I think we would have been just fine to stick to the Bible, History and Read Alouds but we decided to put Basic K on the shelf and gather up the books from the then Preschool Complete Package.

So why did we choose Sonlight all those years ago?  Because the parent reads the history and the read-alouds to the children. Because the parent would be involved in the discussions created by the topics. We read aloud to the children daily . . . pretty close to daily.  We did the read-alouds, great literature for the whole family, in the evenings as a family. I did the history readings during the school day.

Suddenly I had older children and we were no longer using Sonlight Cores with Read-Aloud titles.  And for a year we did not even use Sonlight! Supergirl had always just tagged along and I found it incredibly difficult to follow through with doing a Sonlight Core for her.

Tailorbear used Core 6 (now called some letter) last year and read 99% of the books independently. I wasn’t needed for history and we stopped doing Read-Alouds as a family. Now she is finishing up Core 7 (yup, that name changed too). Neither Turtlegirl, nor, BooBear are using Sonlight at this time. (Long story, I’ll save it for another blog post!)

I miss reading aloud. There are many good, solid reasons for reading aloud even when they are older! But mostly, I feel I am cheating Supergirl. So I’ve decided to start participating in Debra’s Read Aloud Challenge link-up. I need some type of accountability.

There are many reasons why using Sonlight isn’t a good fit for Supergirl right now but there are some wonderful books that Sonlight uses that I already own. I plan on incorporating them into some type of plan for Supergirl.

Right now, with it being Great Lent we’re keeping evening read alouds to just Monday and Thursday evenings.  Honey bear has been reading The Dark Frigate aloud. The target child is Tailorbear but this was a book we skipped earlier so the other two “big girls” are usually around and listening as well.

I started reading aloud The Sherwood Ring. We’re not very far into but so far I think I like it. This was another title we skipped the first time we went through the World History In-Depth part 2 program. Again we’re reading it as a family.

Today I started Lady Ch’iao Kuo: Warrior of the South.  I think this would be an excellent read aloud for the whole family with Supergirl tagging along but she is my target so we’re going to take it in small chunks and read it just her and I.

I have not started them yet but I am planning to read Little Pear, a Sonlight Core 1 title and Li Lun, Lad of Courage, a Sonlight Core 5 book, aloud to Supergirl.  These titles fit our study of Ancient China.

Supergirl wants me to read The Hobbit aloud to her and I started but it’s going to take us a LONG time to get through it! She has a great attention span, but I would rather read it in shorter bits to make sure I don’t lose her.

Do you read aloud?  What books are you reading aloud?

I’ll be linking this post up to Footprints in the Butter.


  1. I haven't been reading aloud as much I want but we're getting back into a groove. Both of my boys like picture books, but my 6 year old is ready for "more" so I have to remember to find quality chapter books for him too.


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