I have a confession to make: I do not know the ‘mechanics’ of teaching reading. For that reason, I won’t be teaching reading to my homeschoolers. Sure, I can help them use phonetics to sound out and spell words, but the art of teaching reading befuddles me. As a homeschooling family, we have the freedom to choose whichever curricula we want, for every subject. Well, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would use Saxon Math and build our curricula for Science and Social Studies/History, but I didn’t put any effort into choosing a Reading curriculum because….well, I don’t care. Ok, maybe I care a smidge but when I say “I don’t care” what I really mean is this….
- Some of the required books are the same books I read while in school, and that was a long, long, long time ago;
- The aforementioned books are considered classics by some elitist group of self-appointed literary royalty;
- More often than not, the aforementioned books are written by people with whom we have little in common;
- Same goes for the literary royalty;
- Some of the books are just BORING!
That last observation probably explains why I do not have a career as a book reviewer, but if it’s boring, it’s boring, right? Anywho, I wanted to include a bunch of stats on how much time kids should spend reading (for enjoyment) each day, but I didn’t want to bore anyone. My girls usually read books of their choosing for an hour each day and then give me an (unsolicited) synopsis of the story. LOL But here’s the thing: I actually like this way of not-teaching reading because they are not limited by some lists and they can get their hands on books written by people of color, with characters of color. How cool is that? This does not mean that I am limiting them to reading works by those authors, but at the same time I am not giving them the impression that there are only ten African American authors who’ve written books for diverse audiences.
As I browsed the internet for some of those stats, I came across this article published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) on what constitutes effective reading instruction. Now imagine my surprise when I started reading the list (below)! It outlines everything I decided to do after deciding that I was not spending money on a reading curriculum.
1. Every child reads something he or she chooses.
2. Every child reads accurately.
3. Every child reads something he or she understands.
4. Every child writes about something personally meaningful.
5. Every child talks with peers about reading and writing. (We discuss what we’ve read with each other.)
6. Every child listens to a fluent adult read aloud. (We started the Reading Promise but we missed a few nights due to either a kid falling asleep early or me falling asleep early!)