Unschooling and Reading

Teaching children to read can be fun...or not so fun. It all depends on the child and their temperament. Having gone through quite a few readers, I thought I'd share some of our tips:

Don't be in a hurry. I started out homeschooling my oldest thinking I needed to get her going by age 5. Not so...introduce reading throughout your day, read to them often, and go by their timing. When they are ready to read, you'll have a much better teaching/learning experience. I've had early readers, age 5, and I've had late readers, age 9 and later. They will learn to read when they are ready.

Dick and Jane books have taught 2 of my girls to read. They make wonderful reader books because of their word repetition. Once they mastered these, they've gone to other books they chose, but seemed to always need help with at least one word per sentence; one tip that has helped with this is this: while reading a sentence I asked my girls to underline in pencil words they could not pronounce and continue to finish the sentence, then going back and giving it another try made it easier after reading the whole sentence. They figured out how to figure out words they couldn't pronounce with this method. It was empowering to them to know that they could figure it out on their own instead of always asking me. Both my daughters were frustrated with reading when they had to ask me for help a lot; this tip helped them immensely.

Host book clubs. For 3 of my daughters, we hosted book clubs. It was a wonderful way to read with my daughter and get together with friends and food.

Read together. Reading together is a lot more fun than phonics  drills or assignment books. All of my children have learned to read by reading together,  going over sounds, and by reading books with  a lot of repetition such  as Dick and Jane. Reading together doesn't have to be just for the  younger ones, find a book that all will enjoy...the older ones like to  listen in, too.

Read all the time. My son, Gabe, learned to read by reading everything he could that wasn't in a book. Popsicle sticks, road signs...anywhere. He was frustrated when trying to read from reader books or any book for that matter, and knew that it wasn't for him. I encouraged him to to read everything he sees and as often as he liked. Now he's an avid reader, and at age ten, enjoys books very much.

Learning to read doesn't have to be done like the schools. I've found with 5 of my children (the other two are 5 and 2), that it comes very naturally while living, on their own timing, and with their own style.
If you're stuck with your child learning to read I hope you'll try these tips that I've learned and know you'll enjoy watching them learn to read according to their own style and timing.

Happy Reading!

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