Reading is Fundamental

3Every year the R.I.F (Reading is Fundamental) program would come to my school and set up thousands of new books on tables in the gymnasium. They would generously let each student pick out not one, but two books. These books were not for borrowing, but for us to keep forever. That thrilled me to no end because I dearly loved reading and loved the look, feel, and smell of a brand new book. I would go home and devour the book in one night. I still have all of those books from those carefree school days. After all, they were treasures to me then and still are. Sweet, simple gifts like that make the best memories.

When we first started our homeschooling journey, I was lucky to read a paper by Carole Joy Seid, a veteran homeschooling mother, on the benefits of not only reading but being read to.

My Daddy read to us often when I was a child and when he wasn’t reading from a book, he would recite a short story or poem from memory. He was a radio broadcaster so his stories always sounded polished and professional because he would use his radio voice.
I started the habit of reading aloud to my children when they were very young; sometimes I was bad, though and would skip pages of One Fish Two Fish or The Cat in the Hat because after you’ve read it eight times in one day, your brain turns to mush.
It was when I started reading chapter books aloud that I found myself caught up in the stories and couldn’t wait until the next day to read the next chapter. The best part was, my children were excited too! We have been on voyages to the Fiji Islands with RM Balletyne in The Coral Island and have sailed Around the World in Eighty Days with Jules Verne. We have gone on adventures with Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey and felt the heartache of losing a loved one in Charlotte’s Web. This past week, we re-read Walk The World’s Rim by Betty Baker. I read it the first time eight years ago, but my daughter was too young to remember it. I wanted her to experience the beauty and emotions that we felt at the first reading. I was surprised when my 16 year old recalled so many of the important moments from the book. Contrary to what I thought the first time I read it, he WAS listening!

Even though my children are 16, 15 and 12, I still read aloud to them daily. It is a beautiful bond that we share, and I will always treasure. I encourage you to start the trend with your family too!

Now, I tend to be long winded when I am passionate about something. I am supposed to keep my column short and sweet. If you would like to read the longer version of this and read a list of benefits of reading aloud and a list of our favorite books, check out my website at www.sweetharvesthomestead.com.

That’s the news from the homestead, see you next week!