Read Alouds – The Homeschooling Glue

Jan van Eyck 059

It is the last week of our winter break and we have enjoyed time off the school schedule, but we have kept reading our read aloud each evening.

Our story is just too exciting to put down and my kids groan if I stop for bedtime.

Read Aloud books are like glue that holds our learning and journey together.  Even older siblings join the younger children to hear the story again – it is a treasured family time.

We pack read alouds for  travels.  When we travelled for over a year, I fitted all my homeschool essentials in one on-board travel case.  Most the space was taken up with books and a few other odds and ends.  Our stories were constant thread amidst the changing and uncertain scenery of our lives.  And despite  the lack of regular schedules, the read alouds kept us growing and learning together.

We read together when the power goes out.  We read aloud when the Internet connection fails, or the laptop crashes – the book held firmly in our grip while technology fails.

I read aloud when children are sick and can’t do school.  In fact, there is no better glue to keep a mother sane and the children restful than to lie together in bed and read aloud.  We might have to catch up on disciplined subjects and seat work, but generally we stay on track.

When important visitors stay over, we withdraw to a room to read, but I have recently read aloud while friends stayed for a few days, and I watched their friend’s faces light up with delight when we took out the book.  Despite having just a brief overview of the story and characters, the amazing story captured their hearts and minds and we all loved the time listening together.

And now and then, disasters and crises arise.  Unexpected difficulties, sudden changes, breakdowns, delays, or disruptions unsettle everyone.  There is nothing better than drawing the young ones together on the couch, or under a shady tree with a good read aloud and forget the problems and find comfort and inspiration of a great story.

Still life with Bible, by Vincent Van Gogh

Moody and stressed mothers may safely turn to read alouds to ease tensions in the school room.  A child, unable to cope with his temper and conquer the spelling and maths, can relax and unwind listening to a read aloud.  It is a real relief!

We enjoy all the characters; protagonists and antagonists, topics and themes, countries and places, adventures and troubles, periods and times in these books.  And some lively discussions follow some chapters!  I love to read with expression and use accents – much to my children’s amusement (and irritation!)

I choose literature-based education for my young children. I use (and re-use) Sonlight and Footprints On Our Land curricula and have an amazing choice of read alouds that older children can read themselves one day as they mature.

They may forget many facts, but they seldom forget living books.  A living book brings history to life!  Their minds are filled, their imaginations ignited!  They learn new words, build up an incredible vocabulary and generate a fabulous general knowledge.  They learn without even knowing it! 🙂

I love read alouds!

When all else fails –



31 thoughts on “Read Alouds – The Homeschooling Glue

  1. Pingback: Tip ~ Bedtime Moments | Practical Pages

  2. Pingback: Happy Read Alouds | Practical Pages

  3. Pingback: Read Alouds Solve A Lot! | Practical Pages

  4. Pingback: Not Qualified to Homeschool? | Practical Pages

  5. Pingback: Starting but overwhelmed by choice? | Practical Pages

  6. Pingback: Letter 15 – On Track | Practical Pages

  7. Pingback: Family Focus and Balance | Practical Pages

  8. Pingback: Feelings of Success | Practical Pages

  9. Pingback: Alternatives | Practical Pages

  10. Pingback: Perseverance | Practical Pages

  11. Pingback: Record Read Alouds | Practical Pages

  12. We love read alouds too. When my youngest was 6, he tore his cornea and had to lie flat for 24 hours. What did the trick? Reading aloud from Hank the Cowdog books. His sister and I took turns.


  13. Pingback: Read Books ~ When All Else Fails | Practical Pages

  14. Absolutely brilliant post and I couldn’t agree more! Reading aloud is the perfect way to end the day. Our family also homeschools, but here in the UK there are also a growing number of Storytelling Schools where all subjects are learned through stories – It’s an approach which we definitely incorporate into our own curriculum. Great blog – love it! x


  15. We are Afrikaans at home and I recently received boxes full of “older” storybooks from my mil – used to be my husband’s as a child. Wonderful books that I remember on my shelf as well at preschool/elementary-age! We normally read after lunch, while sitting on the stoep enjoying the garden, birds, dogs, etc. but I am going to try and read to them after dinner as well. Just don’t know how I am going to stay awake. There are so many wonderful books and they grow so fast, so while the boys love the books, I better read, read, read to them.


    • @Elize, My youngest loves read alouds and we fit them in just about any where and any time – even at the stove while we wait for a kettle to boil! Enjoy the treasures of all these books!


  16. Pingback: August 3rd, 2011 | Ahgoo Review

  17. Pingback: Back to School Basics « Practical Pages

  18. Thank you for this post! I have been too caught up in the chaos of trying to school my children, with toddlers underfoot and a very busy life, to keep the read-alouds alive. You’ve reminded me of what we are missing. We’ve picked up the newest in the Penderwicks series this week–my kids and I are all grateful to you for the inspiration!
    Everything is better with a good book. 🙂


  19. We use SL also. As an adult, I have never learned more history than through accurate historical fiction. When emotionally involved in a time period via real characters, it is much easier to remember the history behind it all in lieu of textbook facts.


  20. My husband is now reading aloud a book to my daughter and me. All three look forward to this being-together and reading-aloud time. It marks the end of busy days and it makes us happy and calm enough to have a blissful sleep. Reading aloud is for all ages. I so much agree with you stressing the benefits of it.


  21. How timely! I just got the “Read-Aloud Handbook” by Jim Trelease and we have begun reading out loud to our four kids in the evening. We used to do this, with long chapter books, but when they got older and wanted to read on their own we abandoned it.

    We are loving it! We have dipped our toes back in with longer short stories, like Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, and we’ll be starting a short novel next, maybe “Because of Winn-Dixie” or a Roald Dahl. It is a nice way to gather in the evening and be quiet and together.

    Thanks for the reinforcement. Right now I’m regretting our leaving off of reading aloud, but all I can do is embrace it (again) going forward. And since I’m joining the homeschooling world with one of mine next year, we will be doing a lot of this throughout the day.


  22. My daughter is 11 and I still read aloud to her all the time. It is one of my favorite things to do! I have always done it and expect to for a long time to come. I love this post Nadene. 🙂


  23. Oh, I SO AGREE! When my children were just toddlers we would always read them a book to distract them when they were in the middle of a difficult moment. And now that they are older we read aloud all of the time… I love that they are getting grown up and still want to be read to – I think almost all of our learning comes from wonderful living, books! Great post!


  24. We love read alouds! I’ve been reading aloud to my kids since they were born. It was only natural to continue. This is definitely a relaxing part of the day and something we all look forward to. In the past I have read books that are above their reading level, which has led to amazing vocabularies. Soon there will not be a level above my oldest, but I think we will still enjoy read alouds. I also love when we “finish” our read aloud for the day and they plead for more… I usually acquiesce, because I want to read more, too!


  25. Hi Nadene,
    I’ve just started reading chapter book read-alouds to my children this year (but we haven’t forgotten about picture books!) I am wondering if you have a list of living books read-alouds which you would recommend for younger children. I have found it quite difficult to find living books for the younger age group.
    Even a handful of books would be great-I understand how much time it takes to get a list together 🙂


    • @nikki, My shelves are filled with Sonlight and Footprints books and you could pop over to these sites and see what read aloud books they offer.
      I printed out the suggested book list from Ambleside Online, a free Charlotte Mason online curriculum based heavily on read alouds and readers for each age group. I kept the list in my bag to check at 2nd hand book stores for books I still wanted to add to our classics collection.
      You could also Google “100 best books to read to young children” and list those books.
      For young children, the best investment is a treasury of great children’s stories with excellent art work or illustrations.
      Put these books on your gift lists for granny and grandpa or family to buy! Have fun!


I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.