Michelle Christopherson, Grammar School Director
TCS spends a week each spring with an intense focus on reading. We want TCS to be full of students, parents, and educators who love to read. We believe this is the basis of a great education and a thoughtful life. We want to read well, be shaped by what we read, share what we have been shaped by, and have some fun in the process. If the daily grind of the school year has caught up to you and is making this pursuit challenging, we are hoping to enable you to jump start this passion for reading and help you to kindle a love for reading in your children. Our goal is to facilitate this by creating space in your schedule in the midst of a typical school week.
“In The Power of Reading, his meta-analysis of research investigating independent reading over the past forty years, Stephen Krashen reveals that no single literacy activity has a more positive effect on students’ comprehension, vocabulary knowledge, spelling, writing ability, and overall academic achievement than free voluntary reading.”
Reading not only holds academic value but also immense value for your family. For example, by engaging in family read alouds you are providing an opportunity for your fourth grader and your Pre-K student to have a shared experience through a story. What a beautiful thing for the life of your family! You will have opportunities to discuss moral and ethical issues and how they apply to our lives. For these reasons and so many more we desire that students will embrace reading as a lifelong pursuit and not just a collection of skills for school performance. We value reading as a community!
Many families will automatically be excited about this change in schedule and may already have plans for books to read with accompanying activities to do that you simply haven’t been able to find the time to do. Others may be uncertain of what to do with the extra time. The goal is to do whatever it takes to get your children excited about reading!
Here are some options you might consider:
- Choose a family read aloud from the TCS Treasury and just read, read, read all together. Let the kids color or do a puzzle or other quiet activity while they listen if that is helpful.
- Let each child select a read aloud and read for a set amount of time then come together and discuss what each child is reading. You can also break it up by chapter, and plan fun breaks.
- Whether you are reading as a family or reading individual books consider making a fort or a cozy pallet with soft blankets and lounging pillows where you sit and read together.
- Have each child set a goal for the number of pages they read per day or the number of books they read in the course of the week. You may even consider setting up some sort of reward system for added encouragement.
- Plan a family book party or field trip at the end of the week when the book is concluded.
- Remember, there are many homeschooling websites that provide activities, science projects, and fun field trips that could accompany many of the books in the treasury. After you choose a book for the week a quick Google or Pinterest search should provide a wealth of activities to choose from.
- Take advantage of audiobooks!
Read outside! Let your child swing or jump on the trampoline while they listen.
- Encourage your child to draw or paint a picture, prepare a presentation, or act out part of the book.
- On Friday, join forces with another family, group students by grade, and have them read aloud to each other.
- Consider selecting books in the history time period your child is studying.
If these activities remove some of the joy of reading for your child then just simply read!
In The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco, Grandpa takes Mary Ellen on an exciting chase to the bee tree in order to illustrate for her the unexpected joys and true adventure of reading. We hope this week dedicated to reading will provide similar experiences and joys in your families.
“So you don’t feel like reading, eh? Feel like running, do you? Then I expect this is just the right time to find a bee tree!”
Photo credit: Grace Hill Photography