We homeschooling mamas tend to put so much pressure on ourselves, don’t we? The planning, the organization, the curriculum, the must-dos, and the to-dos. If you’re anything like me, at the end of the day you sit on your couch – exhausted – wondering how to do it better tomorrow.
If you think about it, we are living in a pretty amazing age. The internet allows us to see, on a daily basis, how other homeschoolers do this homeschooling thing. One needs only to go on Facebook, or Pinterest, or Instagram, or wherever to find incredible homeschooling inspiration.
There are almost too many choices out there. It can be utterly overwhelming.
And, let’s be honest here: It’s impossible to do all the things.
What if we were to adjust our expectations?
It sounds too simple, doesn’t it?
Reading aloud is an integral part of our homeschooling routine and curriculum because I believe it is the single best thing you can do for your child’s future success. Think about all the learning that happens when you open a book!
Today, I am going to share my favorite places to read aloud with my children.
Top 10 Places to Read Aloud
1. Cuddled up in a cozy chair
In our home, we have two leather chairs. One is in our family room and the other is in our master bedroom. Both are lovingly referred to as “the comfy chair” by all three of my children. Whenever my husband or I ask, “Where should we read?” the kids respond in unison, “In the comfy chair!” and you only know which chair the children are referring to by which floor you are on in our home. I have so many photos from over the years of my trio packed into that chair with either myself or their father. The kids are getting bigger, and the lap space is smaller, but the chair remains comfy. Reading traditions are important!
If you’re fortunate enough to have a Nana with a hammock, that’s a great spot too!
2. In the tub
I think every bookworm mama out there loves to read in the bath, but I’m not talking about your tub right now. I’m talking about reading to your children while they are in the tub. Think about it: you have a captive audience! My children tend to get wired right before bed, but when I read to them during tub time they calm right down. It’s a wonderful way to get everyone into a bedtime mood.
3. With a pet
I always joke that we have the most well-read dog in town. When my daughter first started reading, she felt most comfortable reading aloud to our dog, Finnegan. And, no wonder! Dogs are so loving and non-judgmental. It’s no wonder that many libraries host reading programs with therapy dogs! My daughter is now an independent reader, but she continues to read to Finn most days.
4. In a tent
This is one of our favorite winter day activities. We love to grab one of our well-loved pop-up tents, set it up in the playroom, grab some blankets, and snuggle in for what the kids lovingly call a book palooza. This is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon when the weather isn’t cooperating, or a great way to bring a smile to a sick day.
5. At the library
Libraries are the perfect environment for reading aloud. It is quiet, peaceful, and you are surrounded by books. Without the distractions of home, it is much easier for children to get completely lost in a good book.
6. During mealtime
Just as with bathtime, mealtime is an opportunity to read aloud to a captive audience. I will often read aloud during breakfast, as my children are waking up and getting ready for the day. It makes for a peaceful start to our day. I also read aloud on nights that Daddy has to miss dinner due to his work schedule. Reading a good book is a wonderful distraction!
7. In the car
Again, you’ve got a captive audience when you are driving! Of course, you can’t read while you are driving but you can take advantage of the fabulous audiobooks available today. Recently, our family enjoyed listening to the first Harry Potter on audiobook. My oldest son has been anxious to share his Potter love with his younger siblings, but they didn’t have the attention span to listen to the book when I read it. But all of that changed when they were in the car! I now have three little Potter fanatics under my roof!
8. In the great outdoors
There is something really special about reading outside, in nature. Whether you choose to read on your back patio, under the shade of an old tree, in the middle of a hike in the forest, or by the water, it is sure to be memorable. One of our favorite things to do, on nights that Daddy has to work late, is to pack a “dinner picnic” and head to the shore of a lake in town. There’s nothing better than to eat with a beautiful view and enjoy a stack of books for dessert!
Dinner picnic season is almost over here in NH, as it’s getting mighty chilly!
9. At bedtime
The perennial read aloud location, reading aloud at bedtime helps to calm children down, build relationships, and assist with sleep. Plus, reading aloud before bed creates a family tradition that children will treasure forever!
10 In the dark
This is perhaps the most fun reading spot of all, folks! Each of my children has this book light in a favorite color and our rule is that you have to go to bed at bedtime, but you don’t have to fall asleep. Our children think that they are being so mature by reading books in their beds, and my husband and I smile knowing that we are raising readers.
In order to raise readers, you must expose your children to a variety of positive reading experiences early on and often. These early experiences will foster a natural love of the written word. Read aloud early. Read aloud often. Read aloud even when your children can read independently. It’s never too early to read to a child, and it’s never too late to start reading to a child or teen.
So, at the end of the day, when you’re sitting on your couch assessing your day, I think you should count your day as a success if you have read aloud to your child.
Just read good books, it’s a simple as that. Tell me, what is your favorite spot to read aloud? Share here!
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