Monday, January 6, 2014

3 Reasons to Read to Your Teens

This is the 1st week of the 2014 Virtual Curriculum Fair and the theme is  Playing with Words: the Language Arts

Playing with Words:  Week 1 of the 2014 Virtual Curriculum Fair.  Hosted by Homeschooling Hearts & MindsLanguage Arts is such a broad topic, encompassing everything from letter recognition, to handwriting, to spelling, to building writing confidence, to developing a thesis statement for a 20 page paper---with 4 kids who are all at very different places in terms of language development, I could spend all week talking about how we do English studies and still not cover it all! 

Instead, let’s focus on a tiny part and how it fits into the whole:  Reading Aloud to All Your Kids, Even Your Teenagers!

My kids range in age from almost 5 to almost 14.  My three oldest kids (ages 8, 10, and 13) are all strong independent readers, while my youngest just recognizes letters.  I think most people recognize the benefits of reading to small children (and reading to them often), as well as the positive impact of reading to older children who have difficulty reading on there own, but there’s a tendency to read to our children less and less as they get older and become more and more independent in their reading.

3 Reasons to Read to Your Teens...Week 1 of the Virtual Curriculum Fair at Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

My oldest regularly spouts off tidbits that are new to me.  When I ask him, “How do you know that?”  His response is generally, “Oh, I read it somewhere.”

While it’s true that they become more independent in their enjoyment of literature and their acquirement of knowledge through books, the internet, and so on…we lose a big opportunity to help them mature in their understanding if we stop reading to them. 

3 Reasons to Read to Your Teens:

1. Reading aloud is a conversation you can’t afford to miss!  It’s not just a way to convey the words on a page to someone else…and if you’re only trying to get through the chapter without interruption, you’re doing it wrong! 

I know whereof I speak, because I often do it wrong myself

Reading something together in real time (rather than each reading it separately and then talking about it later) affords you a valuable opportunity to talk about ideas as they come up in the text. 

Amazingly, you may find that things like discussion questions are superfluous or at least not crucial.  Encourage your teen to ask questions and ask questions of your own.  The book is part of the bigger conversation. 

When your minds meet together, you’ll discover things you didn’t realize were there and draw parallels between other things you have read together or even things that are happening in real life. 

What if you come up with questions neither one of you can answer?  Ah, this is where the adventure continues and you do some research together.  Learning is a natural lifelong process---it doesn’t end when you finish the study guide.

2. You’ll find out what your child does and doesn’t know.
I mentioned before that I’ve been surprised by my son’s knowledge.  There are so many things he knows that I didn’t teach him and know nothing about myself!

But sometimes I’m surprised by the things he doesn’t know.  It’s impossible to get inside someone else’s head and very hard to leave our own bank of knowledge behind to look at the world through our children’s eyes.

Reading together, whether it be Shakespeare or the daily newspaper allows you to share knowledge with each other that’s outside of the actual text.  You can learn from each other and correct any misconceptions.

3. It’s the ultimate plan for increasing vocabulary and truly owning new words.
A common problem among kids who do a lot of independent reading is that as their reading ability increases and they read more and more difficult texts, there can be a disconnect between the words they’ve read on the page and those same words as they are heard. 

Let’s face it, the English language is complicated.  When you see a word on a page, perhaps a word you’ve never encountered before, there can be several possible ways to pronounce it.  Depending on the word’s origin, the vowel sounds might be different from your first guess, or maybe the emphasis goes on a different syllable.

The point is, if your child is learning new words in context that he hasn’t heard spoken before, he may have an inaccurate imagining of what that word sounds like.

Or he may have heard the word before, but not associate it with how it looks on the page. 

This was a problem I had growing up and it comes up over and over with my kids.  But if we are reading together, we can talk about these words, look them up in a dictionary, and explore their meaning and pronunciation.  You may find that you can throw out those vocabulary lists, or at least only refer to them on occasion.

This is the kind of vocabulary work that will stick.

When my oldest was a wee boy, one of his favorite books was The King and His Six Friends.  He learned the word “retinue” from that book and he’s been using it ever since.  When kids own their words, those words become a part of them!

What are you reading with your teens this week?

Now, I invite you to visit my homeschool blogging buddies as they explore language arts:

Language Arts {Virtual Curriculum Fair} by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

A Classical Take on 6th Grade Language Arts by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

The Power in a Word by Michele@ Family, Faith and Fridays

The Latin Road to English Grammar Volume 1 by Kristi K. @ The Potter's Hand Academy

Starting a Foreign Language in Elementary School by Amy @ Eclectic Homeschooling

These are the words we say by Christa @ Fairfield Corner Academy

A Peek into our Homeschool: Language Arts by Brittney @ Mom's Heart

Our Curriculum Choices 2014 ~ English by Renata~Sunnyside Farm Fun

Virtual Curriculum Fair: A World of Words by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

It Starts with the Alphabet by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

Playing w/ Words-Charlotte Mason Style by Lynn P @ Ladybug Chronicles

2014 Virtual Curriculum Fair ~ Playing with Words: the Language Arts by Jennifer @ a glimpse of our life

Our PreK-1st Grade Language Arts Mix by Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker

Fun (or Not) With Spelling by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun

Word Nerd Love by Lisa N@Golden Grasses

Our Favourite Resources For Teaching Elementary Language Arts by Kim @ Homestead Acres

Unconventional Reading Lessons While Homeschooling by Lori@My Journeys Through Life

My Favorite Writing Curriculum for our Boys by Monique @Living Life and Learning

Virtual Curriculum Fair: Playing With Words - Language Arts  by Stacie @Super Mommy To The Rescue

Fun With the Language Arts by Mary @ Winecup Christian Homeschool

Our Grammar Path by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

Virtual Curriculum Fair !!! by Jessica @ Modest Mama

Creating a High School English Course (or two) by Debra @Footprints in the Butter

Language Arts in Our Homeschool This Year by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

 

Would you like to join us?  Please add your post on Language Arts to the linky:

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12 comments:

  1. I also love the opportunities for discussion that come along when we read aloud.

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  2. The point is, if your child is learning new words in context that he hasn’t heard spoken before, he may have an inaccurate imagining of what that word sounds like.

    Yes, definitely a problem here!

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  3. Thank you ladies, I knew I wasn't alone. ;)

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  4. I love when my older son and I read chapter books together. We stop mid sentence sometimes and either he will have something to say or we will ask each other questions. I love the discussions that come up. It allows me to see how he reads. You're right it is new vocabulary.

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  5. The word pronunciation is a big issue around here. My daughter is such a voracious reader and there are many words we find out later that she mispronounces in her head. Good ideas and reasons to still do read alouds.

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  6. We enjoy reading together. The problem here is when I get still and they take a turn reading, sometimes I fall asleep.

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  7. What a great post! I've really stopped most of my reading aloud to my oldest, but I think I'm going to find a way to work it back in...Great ideas!

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  8. Sometimes harder to read to/with them as they get older---my oldest has kind of a know-it-all attitude. ;) As he does more and more of his studies independently, those moments when he's intently listening to our current read aloud seem to help "bring him back into the fold." It also gives him something to talk about with the other kids.

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  9. Yes! Even though my own daughters are just 7, 6, & 3, I was a middle school teacher before I had children - and I found that my 7th graders loved (for the most part) to be read to.

    Great post! I'll be pinning this :)

    I'm visiting from the Squishable Baby homeschooling link-up - glad I found your post!
    ~Lisha

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  10. Hi Lisha, nice to meet you!

    You know, I have a secret confession: sometimes hubby and I curl up on the sofa together and read to each other. Reading aloud is fun for all ages.

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  11. Fantastic post! I don't have teens, so I never really thought about it. Reading aloud to your teen isn't something I would think about doing. But, you are right. I love all of your reasoning. Plus, it's quiet time spent with your teen - which is invaluable. Really. Just look at the world and look at all the lost teenagers walking around.

    Bravo to you!

    Thank you so much for sharing this fabulous post on the #homeschoollinkup. I will be pinning and sharing this post!

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