child’s vision of language—and reading
aloud brings these treasures to light in
a way that silent reading does not. In a
way, this is like the old illustration of how
bank tellers are taught to learn the feel of
real currency so that they can recognize a
fake. The more that your children are exposed to the sound of beautiful, elegant
language from great classic literature, the
less they will be satisfied with coarse and
Reading aloud also allows your children
to hear the correct pronunciation of words
as they should be spoken. To be frank, this
is one area in which many homeschoolers struggle. Because homeschooled kids
tend to do so much of their course reading on their own rather than in a group
setting, they tend to just make a stab at
the way words should be pronounced,
and this may cause embarrassment farther down the line. When you are reading aloud with your child, you are able to
provide the proper pronunciations. This is
one area you should gently correct during
read-aloud times. If you are not certain of
the pronunciation of certain unfamiliar
words yourself, jot the words down during the reading time and find the correct
pronunciation after the story is complete
so that you all learn together. Many online
dictionaries have audio clips of the words
as they should be spoken.
Use audiobooks at times
to enhance the read–aloud
Audiobooks are a great help if you are
unable to read with your children due
to illness, time, or simple inexperience.
Audiobooks that are professionally produced using talented voice actors can
truly bring a great story to life. At the
same time, these books model good oral
reading for the entire family, teaching
how simple changes in vocal range, volume, inflection, tone, and emphasis can
create clear images of characters in the
minds of listeners. You and your children
can then put these skills to use in your
own read-aloud sessions.
I used to feel that the use of audiobooks was somehow cheating. The cost
and availability of audiobooks was also a
hindrance to using them on a regular basis. However, today audiobooks are available more easily and affordably on a wide
variety of devices such as computers,
mp3 players, tablets, and smart phones.
This makes it possible for you and your
family to listen to great literature even as
you travel to other activities. As an added
bonus, your children will become quieter
traveling companions as well!
Many books of classic literature are
now available for free or at a low cost.
Sites such as loyalbooks.com and open
culture.com/freeaudiobooks offer a lim-
ited selection of free classics. Librivox
.org also offers free public domain au-
diobooks, though these may sometimes
be read by volunteers rather than profes-
sional voice actors. These sites also often
offer free e-book copies of the novels so
that you can follow along as you read.
If you are looking for newer audiobooks that are still under copyright,
audiobooks.com is your best bargain.
You can get a free trial book and, if you
decide that you like the program, sign
up for free monthly audiobooks of your
choice. The site often offers additional
low-cost books to try, including a good
range of choices for children.
Reading aloud improves bonding
with your children.
Books are filled with ideas. As you
read with your children, you have the
opportunity to discuss those ideas in
a way that bonds you together. Dis-
cuss how certain characters behaved
and whether the behavior was right or
wrong. Ask how the child would react
in that situation or how the child would
change the story, if they were writing it.
Simply use the books as springboards to
other emotional and intellectual discus-
sions. In this quiet time, for a few min-
utes a day, as you and your children are
bound together by the wonder of words,
you will learn more of their hearts than
in almost any other setting. And they
will learn more of yours.
Amelia Harper is a homeschooling mother
of five and a pastor’s wife. She is also the
author of Literary Lessons from the Lord
of the Rings, a complete one-year literature curriculum designed for secondary
level homeschooled students. In addition,
she is an English tutor and a freelance
writer who contributes regularly to newspapers and magazines. For more information, go to www.homescholarbooks.com.
This summer, keep the learning
going strong with low-priced
Dover books on nature, reading,
coloring, crafts, and more!
Fun-filled Activities for Learning
Fun & Educational Books
for Homeschool Students
Coloring Books Reading Children’s Activities
Use Coupon Code DSHC3
• Grades K- 5
• Written by teachers,
tested by millions of educators
• Math, reading, science, history, writing