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Do Kids Really Need a Curriculum to Be Great Readers?
Do kids really need a homeschool reading curriculum to be great readers? Yes and no. First we have to define what is meant when we say curriculum. Why? Because when we talk about homeschool reading curriculum, it probably involves more than you think—but in a really good, and inexpensive, way.
According to the dictionary, curriculum means the subjects comprising a course of study in a school or college. However, that isn’t the way we really use the word as homeschool moms.
When homeschool moms ask one another, “What curriculum are you using?” they are usually referring to pre-made resources to help teach different subjects. They get answers like, “We use HOMER Reading to help teach phonics.” Or “My high schooler loves Mr. D Math.”
When it comes to teaching reading you don’t have to have an expensive, premade curriculum. But you do need to be intentional about how you teach it if you want your kids to actually develop a love of reading. By creating a language rich environment and choosing the best resources to help you with your particular needs, you can teach your child to read and love doing it! Your homeschool reading curriculum doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s!
The Homeschool Reading Curriculum That Develops Lifelong Readers
What do you need then?
- Books. You can choose to invest in early readers or borrow them from your local library. You’ll also want to choose books for reading aloud to your children. We can’t stress enough how important it is to read aloud to your kids!
- Resources. Choose teaching resources based on your budget, the needs of both you and your children, and their ability to help your child learn both the skills and enjoyment of reading.
- Patience. Kids don’t all learn in the same way or in the same time frame. Don’t push them beyond what they are ready to do! It’s easy to start comparing, but your 5 year old son does not need to be a fluent reader even if your best friend’s child has been reading since he was 3.
Tips for Developing Readers without Expensive Homeschool Reading Curriculum
Fill book baskets to scatter around the house. Whether you choose to purchase books to build a home library or check them out on a regular basis at your local library, you’ll want to have plenty of books accessible to your kids.
Have something to talk about. Sitting around the table for dinner is a great place to engage in the art of conversation. Each person can share a high and low from their day, or you might want to invest in premade conversation starters. The important part is to be intentional about spending time simply talking as a family.
Play language based games. For beginning readers, games can both teach and reinforce word skills in a way that’s fun and engaging. ThinkFun’s Zingo games are designed from pre-readers through 2nd grade skills. You can also make up your own games!
Read-aloud consistently. Reading aloud benefits young readers in many ways. Since you want to develop readers and not just teach reading, hearing stories they love that are above their reading level will build their vocabulary and show them the exciting adventures that await them. They’ll learn language arts skills naturally, and you’ll bond as a family over the stories you read.
Find inexpensive resources to help you teach. You don’t need a reading curriculum that costs hundreds of dollars! There are free apps and inexpensive guides to help you! Some of our favorites include:
- Phonics Pathways
- Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
- The Ordinary Parents’ Guide to Teaching Reading
Be sure reading instruction include time near you! Yes, there are some great computer and app based programs and there’s nothing wrong with using them. But be sure your children associate reading with good memories of connecting with you and their siblings. Reading aloud, poetry teatime, and reading in fun places like a treehouse or park will help them connect the act of reading with relationships and fun.
Homeschool Reading Curriculum for the Love of Reading
Teaching and learning to read shouldn’t stress you or your kids out. If you find those feelings of frustration building, step back, grab a book, and read to your kids instead. Play games and scatter great picture books around your home. A homeschool reading curriculum is about more than teaching you kids how to read. It’s about developing a love of reading they will carry with them for a lifetime.