As home educators, reading has always been top of our priority list. From babyhood all the children have loved flicking through board books, as they grew I would read to them, every evening and often multiple times during the day. I would find that when all was going crazy, a quiet story would change the mood of the house, and give me 5 minutes to sit still 😉.
As they’ve grown, they’ve continued to love reading to themselves. We’ve kept the children interested in reading in a couple of specific ways. One has been acquiring interest based books. For example, Jonathan and Christopher always loved action, adventure and spy books. Thankfully Matthew has followed suit and so we have been able to pass their books onto him. Madeleine loves horses and so we’ve gone through just about every horse book we could get our hands on. Likewise with Elizabeth and gymnastic books. Hannah adores animals and thankfully animal books are easy to find and we already had a lot, so she’s sorted. The younger children are not very fussy and will settle down to listen to whatever I suggest. Another way we have encouraged reading is that we have give the children limited screen time, which I think is more appealing than books for most children. Without screens they reach out for books to occupy their minds.
How did we get so many books without breaking the bank? I am a very keen bargain hunter and during our years in Surrey I went to the Scout and Guide Jumble sale 4 times a year, as well as the huge local annual book fair. I have picked up most of our books for about 30p each. Of course we have bought some new, but we try where possible to get them second hand off the web. We have also inherited a lot of books from friends and family who have passed them on.
Before moving, we used to make full use our local library. We would order them on line and then go down and collect a pile every week. Since we moved and are thus not so near to the library, and then since the lockdowns as well, we have decided to continue to build up our home library.
As well as specific interest books, we have a large number of information books, Christian biographies, Christian fiction, Children’s Bibles and Bible stories and an assortment of other varied reading matter.
My personal favourite books to read aloud have been the ‘Little House Books’, ‘Little Pilgrim’s Progress’, almost any Patricia St John books, ‘Ten Peas in a Pod’ by Arnold Pent and the Little Lights series of Christian biographies.
What do you like to read with your children, or what memories do you have of favourite childhood books?
Do come back here soon, as I will do a post in the next few days about will how we teach our children to read.