Each year I aim to give my children an individualised reading list. My purpose in giving them assigned books to read is to expand their exposure to different topics and genres. It is also to give them an opportunity to learn things that we don’t cover in our study time. I want to teach my children that they can learn anything by reading.
In the past I have chosen a years worth of reading (5 books in each category). But this year, for Nomi and Daniel I have decided to choose just one book for each category – when they’ve read those we’ll look for another set.
My children love reading and I have noticed that unless they purposefully and intentionally think about what they are reading, they read just to enjoy the story. And there is a place for that, but the purpose of these chosen books is that they learn something. They have to engage their brain as they read. To help them do this I have set three stages
- Discuss with mum the purpose of reading this book, what is the theme in this book, what do you know about that theme, what do you not know. We just have a quick conversation before they start reading the book.
- Keep a reading journal. A reading journal is a place to write quotes, questions and summaries as they read their books. I encourage my kids to write as they read (as this is the way I read) but they generally prefer to read a chapter and then reflect and write in their journal.
- Write about the book. I expect my children to write about each book once they are finished. They have a wealth of ideas and references in their reading journal (or should!!). Once they finish the book, they talk to me about the book, sharing thoughts that they’ve had and discoveries they’ve made. If they can’t decide what to write about I generally set a topic based on our conversation.
We have a reading time after lunch most days (4 out of 5). It should last for an hour and it includes reading and then writing.
History – The Small War of Sergeant Donkey by Maureen Daly
Australian History – The Donkey of Gallipoli by Mark Greenwood
Science – A Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel
Literature – 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
History – Ben Hur by Lew Wallace
Australian History – Soldier Boy by Anthony Hill
Science – Refuting Evolution by Jonathan Sarfati
Literature – Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
Christian – Being a Girl who Leads by Shannon Kubiak Primicerio
Another aspect of recording is to keep a reading log. Naomi and Daniel are just picking this up now – which means we’ve not recorded a lot of books they’ve read (oh well!!). I have them record each book that they read – they connect a category to it (History, Science, Literature, Christian, Family Read Aloud, Recreational). They record the topics covered in the book (as per back cover or our discussion), and they record the topic they write about once they have finished the book. I’ve included a starting and finishing date as I want the kids to recognise how quickly they can get through books if they stay focused, or how long and tedious a book becomes if they don’t stay with it.
Read more about Reading Lists