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Take a Look, It’s in a Book ~ Cultivating Curiosity

Yesterday, I gave you a list of twenty-five ways to stir the pot and cultivate curiosity. 

Today, I want to dissect #25: Read great books together.

Read. 
Which means exactly that. Read. Read-read-read-read-read. And then read some more. Do it often and frequently and much. Read!

Great books.
Not just any book will do; it needs to be great. You know a book is great because it transports you; delights and surprises you; awakens you; captures, challenges, and changes you. It keeps your mind and soul from starvation. And a great book is worth reading. Twice. 

Together.
Don't consistently send your student off alone to chew wonderfully written works. Read aloud to your child. Experience Narnia. Become a Quaker. Meet Paddington. Visit Digitopolis. Ride the underground railroad. Do it all together. Be there to ask questions. Be there to answer questions. Be there to catch kindled curiosities.

I implore you to do this. 

Reading aloud expands vocabulary. It develops linguistic patterns which shape excellent writing and speaking habits. It also creates a family culture and forges relationships. All of that is good. Actually, all of that is grand. But the reason I beg is because great books cultivate curiosity.

I've witnessed

  • a child inspired to learn Latin (Carry On, Mr. Bowditch)
  • a boy journey to the jungle (My Father's Dragon)
  • a kid dig deep and deeper about the American Revolution (Toliver's Secret)
  • a preschooler struggle through the truths of good and evil (101 Dalmatians)
  • a son wander in Wonderland (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland)

All of this (and more . . . much more) simply because we

read

great books

together.

If you need a compass to point you to books that transport, delight, surprise, awaken, capture, challenge, and change, you will find guidance in Choosing Books for Your Homeschool.

Don't miss a post in the Cultivating Curiosity Series! Subscribe to Walking by the Way and get updates via email! 

The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter. And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network. You'll be blessed with ideas for preschool science, tips for teaching music, file folder games, and more! 

Reading Challenges

Elijah wasn't born a bibliovore, but he quickly became one after his first reading challenge. I remember reading the first chapter or two of The Boxcar Children to Elijah and conveniently leaving the book out for him to snag, if he wanted. I spied him peeking at the next chapter and remember him finishing off the entire read with speed that surpassed my own. That was his first chapter book.

Shortly after the first taste of Boxcar, I gave Elijah his first reading challenge — to read through the nineteen original Boxcar Books. He was thrilled when he realized that these books already had a home on our shelves. He gobbled them.


you can download the form by clicking on the image

A few months later I challenged him to read 100 books. They could be picture books, chapter books, or anything between. I still have his list–all written with wobbly handwriting. It's sweet to remember the little boy who accomplished such a big task.


you can download the form by clicking on the image 

A year or so later, he was stuck on one genre ~ mystery. I gave him a challenge to read one book from each genre on the chart below. It helped him broaden his tastes a bit.


you can download the form by clicking on the image

And now, four and a half years since that first challenge, I've presented him with yet another reading venture. I've asked him to read, record, and narrate 300 chapter books in 2012. 


you can download the form by clicking on the image

He's excited. I'm excited for him. I would've eaten this alive when I was 10-years-old. I actually got in trouble {in school} for reading Just So Stories. My teacher couldn't afford to let me read when there were textbooks to scan and fill in the blanks to be filled. 

Elijah knows of no such thing. The kid gets to read, and I get to hear all about it. 

Read Aloud!

"Spend at least ten wildly happy minutes every single day reading aloud." 

"Read with joy and enjoyment: real enjoyment for yourself and great joy for the listeners."

"Read aloud with animation. Listen to your own voice and don't be dull or flat, or boring. Hang loose and be loud, have fun and laugh a lot."

"Please read aloud every day . . . because you just love being with your child, not because it's the right thing to do."

~Quotes taken from Mem Fox's Ten Read-Aloud Commandments