School after breakfast: Read-alouds

Reading aloud is hands-down my favorite part of school. I think it's safe to say that it's a favorite for all of us.

There's just something about cozying up on the couch, all of us together, and delving into a good story that is unmatched, in my opinion. I hope to continue reading great books together for years and years to come.

When the kids were younger, we had a routine of reading stories before naptime. I'd tell everyone to choose a story and they'd all go in search of a picture book from either the library bin or off our shelves, then pile up on the couch~ snuggling under the blanket, all warm and cozy~ and I would read aloud.

We still do this~ but it's a little more disjointed, now~ with the two little ones in the mix. Usually I read Adelia her book and then I put her down for her nap and I move on to reading with the older kids. There are some days, though, that Adelia stays with us a little longer.

Audra goes down for a later nap, so she is always with us for story time. Having these adorable girls with us just makes for a reading time that usually has one or twelve interruptions.

Now that we have moved to chapter books for the older kids, and I am juggling the little girls (who want to tear turn pages or grab at them or scramble around on top of us during part or all of this time), we don't read picture books as often as we used to. Often I'll ask the kids to choose just one for us to read, some days we'll skip it altogether and head straight to our chapter book. I know there will be an easier season than this one for more reading aloud, but we are making it work for where we're at right now.

We have one rule for reading aloud. We had to instigate this rule because I have one child, in particular, who spends a lot of time asking questions, making comments, and- often: guessing what is going to happen next and sharing every detail about the possibilites- on whatever story we're reading. Between that child with the constant interruptions and the other ones with the occasional interruption, I found that I was being interrupted about every third word and we were all getting frustrated during reading time.

So. Our rule is this: If they have a question or a comment to make, they are to grab my thumb and hold it. Then I'll know that they have something to say and will let them know when a good time will be for the question/comment. This gives me the opportunity to finish a paragraph or even get to the end of the page. We've been doing this for a couple of years, now, and it works for us!

For chapter books, I allow the kids to play quietly with their toys (Isaac will choose Legos, Isaias usually drives little cars around the living room rug. Sometimes Ella joins them but most of the time she just listens.) If they abuse this privilege by talking to one another or playing too noisily, I warn them once and then stop reading if it happens again. It's rare that I have to stop. They are usually very focused on the story and don't want to miss a thing!

I almost always read one chapter, sometimes more, sometimes less. On a day when the girls are already both down for naps and I am really in need of a little down time myself, I may only read a couple of pages. On a day when we are in a really good book and we're all eager to find out what happens (mama just as much as the children!), we'll read "just one more chapter" until we end up finishing the book! Every day, as our reading time comes to a close, the kids are asking for more: Can't you read just one more chapter? Well, just one page? How about just one word?

Generally I am doing a daytime read-aloud with the kids, and Mark has another book going that we do as a family read-aloud before bedtime.

Next up: Books we've read aloud


  1. This is our fav part of our day too. Though we only have one little grabber and noise maker :o) it can be a challenge some days....hats off to you.

    Some days I am walking around the living room with Eli in my arms (all 27lbs) and reading. It works for when we are on the edge of our seats in the story and he's not happy.

  2. Read aloud time is good...but it does get a little harder with so many different ages, doesn't it?

    Your post gave me some good ideas. Looking forward to your recommendations.

    - Kathi

  3. We love read alouds as well it it often works better when the baby is sleeping and not tearing the pages. One of our favorite read alouds was The Miraclous Journey of Edward Tulane. It was sad, happy,funny, scary and one day we read of 6 hours 'just one more chapter..."

  4. Even though I'm not a homeschooling mama, this is also something we have done since the girls were little, I have so enjoyed this and I think it has helped each of them have a love for reading. One of our favorite things to do, still with a 13yr old, 11yr old and 8yr old, is to pick a book to read on road trips, thankfully it doesn't make me car sick, so I am happy to do it!

  5. AND...Carolynn that is one of our favorite read a louds! Love that book! Highly recommend it as a read a loud!

  6. I thought my children were the only ones who begged to read one more word! Sometimes I cave and read that one word and it usually stirs up giggles. :-)

  7. Reading aloud is definitely my favorite part of being a homeschooling mama! We're reading Little Pear right now. Things in our little homeschool go alot like yours...less picture books now that the olders are, well, older. I had to set a separate time to read picture books to the 4 year old. And, being the baby, she is the one who is least engaged at chapter book time, but she still gleans something out of it. I'm enjoying your morning time posts.

  8. Ooo, having read-aloud challenges here with a 2 yr old who likes to sing along (as loudly as possible) with the reading... I'm looking forward to the book list. I'm a sucker for a good book list.

  9. Sandi~
    Yes, it is challenging! I'll bet snacks would work, too. I should try that. Handing her a bowl of crackers or something and letting her get busy with that while I finish up the reading. :)

    Yes! But oh, they are such a delight, no matter what challenges they add!

    Carolynn and Carrie~
    That book has been recommended to me before...(by you, Carrie?) I think I looked at it once and decided it was a little too old for where we were at at the time (or maybe we were in the middle of something else; I don't remember), but I'll definitely have to check it out again.

    And, Carrie~ that's so wonderful that you've built in that tradition! What a fun memory the girls will always have of family trips!

    Yep: I give in, too. I always tell them beforehand that one word will likely not be super satisfying, but I'll give it to them anyway! ~smile~

    I've never heard of Little Pear.
    And yes, it's my four year old, too- that misses the picture books the most. He asks me at least once a day to read a book to him.

    That's hilarious about the singing along that your two year old contributes. Oh, and me too! I HEART book lists!

  10. As much as I enjoy the concept of a giant pile of us all on the couch for read aloud time I've had to *shelve* it for now, too.
    I recently decided to make my rounds at rest time to make sure my littles are getting some book time with mommy but it's our older kid read alouds that we're missing right now. As much as we love it, I'm struggling to keep at it consistently.

    Can't wait for your book list!


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