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.
Which means exactly that. Read. Read-read-read-read-read. And then read some more. Do it often and frequently and much. Read!
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.
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.
All of this (and more . . . much more) simply because we
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.
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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.
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–written with wobbly handwriting. It's sweet to remember the little boy who accomplished such a big task.
A year or so later, he was stuck on one genre–mystery. I decided to mix it up by presenting him with a challenge to read one book from each genre on the chart below. Fantasy became a new genre love.
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.
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.
He that loves reading has everything within his reach. -Seth Goodwin
Follow my Read! Board on Pinterest where I pin the best book lists and reading incentives I can find.
"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