5 Days of Summer Reading @ Walking in High Cotton {www.walkinginhighcotton.net}This week I’ve been part of a great 5 Days of Summer Series with 12 other blog-friends. We’ve brought you posts on food, home, travel, and all things summer fun. And today is the last day to enter for $80 in cash to help you plan some summer fun of your own–Be sure to enter at the bottom of this post!

I’ve been writing about summer reading for the young family all week. Be sure to go back and read through the whole series–there’s great tips and a few favorite books for you to check out. I particularly tried to focus on stuff we love that’s not as common or easy to find as some of your standard school-age classics. Today I’m wrapping up by writing about reading for the whole family–as a family.

MONDAY: 5 Days of Summer Reading {For the Homestead}

TUESDAY: 5 Days of Summer Reading {For the Boys}

WEDNESDAY: 5 Days of Summer Reading {For the Girls}

THURSDAY: 5 Days of Summer Reading {For the Reluctant Reader}

FRIDAY: 5 Days of Summer Reading {For the Family}

5 Days of Summer Reading {For the Family} @ Walking in High Cotton {www.walkinginhighcotton.net} We love family read-alouds and spend a lot of time learning together this way.

Why we love it so much

  • It’s a great fit for a book-lover parent who has a house full of non-readers, beginning readers, and reluctant readers to share the love of books without any discouragement, pressure, or frustration.
  • It’s a great way to learn together while having fun!
  • It’s a great way to guide your children in morality, cultural awareness, and worldview, as you discuss the characters and their choices and consequences.

How we make it work…

  • Choose great books and interesting topics! We pick something our family is interested in at the moment or relevant to what’s going on in our life. Sometimes we take turns letting each person in the family pick a topic.
  • Find time for it! We keep our current book with us so I can read in the car when we’re stopped for gas, in the doctor’s office instead of gossip magazines, or when we’re loading up on farm business. I read while the family is at the table with dessert, while the kids are coloring or playing legos, and before bed. (Sometimes we even sneak the kids into bed early by promising read-aloud time while they lay quietly.) Here’s a challenge–replace 1/2 your TV time with family read-aloud time.
  • Be relaxed and flexible! I’ve known from the first time I read a picture book to my children that read-aloud time has a sacred value in family life, but I also got a lot of great, practical tips from Jamerill at Holy Spirit-Led Homeschooling about letting the children multi-task while I read. It’s made a huge difference!
  • Be patient! Reading picture books to toddlers is completely different than reading the original, unabridged version of Swiss Family Robinson to pre-school boys. (Ahem–ask me how I know!) Start slow, a few pages at a time a couple times a day, and stick with it. Their patience and attention span will grow. Amy over at Raising Arrows wrote a great post about training children’s minds–and you might find you need to re-train your own mind a bit! (I sure did!)

How we make it more than just reading…

Last year we turned a living biography about the Sager children into a mini unit study on the Oregon Trail. Very mini. But so much fun! The kids still talk about the Sager children like we know them personally and remember everything about the story. This was something that was very easy to fit in around our normal work/farm/school schedule, but we all learned something, had fun together, and the story came alive much more for everyone with a few extra resources.

Since then we’ve used the “mini unit study” concept over and over again. It also works great that there are SO MANY homeschool printables and lapbooks and creative, hands-on study ideas out there for us to copy! The kids will work on a related coloring book or do a vocabulary word search while I’m reading out-loud.

Visiting an antique tractor museum was a great fit while we were reading the Seasons of the Heart series by Jeanette Oke. (This series was a big hit with the kids and Mr. Fix-It!)

Visiting an antique tractor museum was a great fit while we were reading the Seasons of the Heart series by Jeanette Oke. This turn-of-the century farm series was a big hit around here. 

Here’s a few combinations we’ve put together over the last year…

  • Charlotte’s Web, E. B. White. I stuck this one in our routine in September so it fit right in County Fair season. We read the book, and over the two weeks while we read the book, we watched the old classic and the newer remake of the movie. Then we went to the Fair. (Unfortunately our local Fair didn’t really include many pigs. Next time I would plan to go to the State Fair instead.)
  • Old Yeller, Fred Gipson. We did the same book and movie combo and I got a copy of Pioneer Days which is full of activities from that time period–like how to make johnnycake. I have to admit, I was a little frustrated that there’s not much for children’s’ reference on this time period that’s not about traveling westward. It’s all covered-wagon stuff, not frontier settlement stuff.
  • Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls. I’m on my 3rd copy of this book because, well, it’s just beautiful. We have the 2004 version of the movie and it’s pretty good. I added a copy of Exploring the World of Raccoons to the mix, which set us off reading Rascal and hunting for tracks with our pocket guide.
  • Viking Quest, Lois Wilfred Johnson. When we read the first book, the kiddos were hooked, but I had a hard time finding any appropriate movies to go with it. When we moved to the second book, we came across an older version of this Eyewitness Book on Vikings at our thrift store–what a find! We also let the munchkins watch a Vikings special on NOVA that we caught purely by chance one evening, and we got a copy of Real Vikings to watch as we moved into book 3. With our crew’s love for all things Thor, I see us moving into Norse mythology later this winter. I’ve got these great Dover history coloring books on their Christmas lists already. I happen to really like Vikings myself–so we just keep adding resources as we go through the books. {smile}
  • Soft Rain, Cornelia Cornelison. The Ladybug got interested in the Trail of Tears at the end of the school year back in April. Then Mr. Fix-It told the munchkins that there’s Cherokee blood in their family tree as well. So the Ladybug read Trail of Tears to the boys (remember our reluctant reader tips from yesterday?) and then we read Soft Rain together and I got a copy of this documentary film–which was excellent. This is an ongoing study area for us as well–since Cowboys and Indians go together like peanut butter and jelly around here! {smile}

Right now we’re doing a quick, fun book and movie combo with Percy Jackson and the Olympians. (I’ve managed to mis-match the book series together from our thrift stores for a song!) We’re planning to get through book 2 before the new movie comes out at the end of the summer. We found the graphic novels at the library as well and the boys have been enjoying them.

And I have a big (for us anyway!) “unit” planned on Jamestown starting in a few weeks, based around Blood on the River and more Pocahontas books. We read The Captive Princess last year and the Ladybug has come back to the story over and over since I mentioned that Pocahontas might have lived right near where we live. So we’ll be taking the ferry to Jamestown, using history coloring books, and everything.

What are family favorites in your house? Do you like to combine different medias to present the same story or just stick with the books? 

And be sure to stop by the other 11 awesome blogs sharing in the series! (Click the image for a full list!) Monique is doing a great series on 5 Days of Summer Learning!


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5 Days of Summer Reading {For the Family} — 1 Comment

  1. Have you ever been to homeschoolliterature.com? They have neat resources for lots of different books about and by homeschooers.It is a free site. They even have an online book club. It is one of our favorite sites.

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