I had already pulled this post from my July Hodgepodge Homeschool Highlights archives – even before I saw Brandy’s wonderful post yesterday on reading and language arts resources in Three in One. Goes to show you that there are different approaches that work specifically for each family 🙂 And, in case you missed it, be sure to check out Kim’s post on Climbing to Good English. For Language Arts, our Hodgepodge homeschool mainly goes to Rod and Staff English. I wrote about our love for this curriculum with examples of how we incorporate it into our studies. Posted last month, here. Back to The Gentle Ways of Reading…


I’m teaching my child to read. She’s the fourth one I’ve taught.

I remember stressing about this very idea with my eldest. Fretting. Having her sit close by and plod through mat, sat, cat until we were cross-eyed.
When we were both frustrated, I decided to put the drill work aside. Instead, she sat close by and we just read books. We fell in love with the simple stories of Dick and Jane.

The ones I remember reading and being enchanted by. We read from a family copy from the 1950s. Before the paperback Dick and Jane adventures starting showing up fresh and new in the book stores.

My aunt, a school teacher for the hearing impaired, gave me a book we’ve all laughed with, Hey, I’m Reading. It’s a how-to-read book for beginners by Betty Miles. I love that it starts with “Some Things You Already Know About Reading.

“…It takes a long time to get ready to read. It takes years! You’ve been getting ready all your life, without even thinking about it, just by growing up. You already know a lot about reading right now…”

And we’d go to the library. She would pick out books. Mama, can I just read what I want to? she would ask. Yes. Just read to enjoy. And then I’d read to her, moving my finger below each word.
We did some phonics work with Alphaphonics. Less than five minutes a day. Then moved on to Spelling Workout, combining the skills of reading, spelling and then writing.
By this time her brother was learning to read from Dick and Jane too. He saw the freedom she had in reading what she wanted to. He also laughed at Hey, I’m Reading.

But, I found, this boy is an audio learner. He wanted to hear me read a few certain books over and over again. Especially Audubon First Field Guides.

Nana was enlisted. She read on tape Insects, Birds, Mammals. He sat and listened during afternoon quiet time. Turning the pages and following along. I’m certain that’s how he became fluent.

Nana also made homemade books.
I’d often ask our older two to read to the new baby. Mother Goose is not only good for the littlest ones, the rhyming is perfect reading practice. Plus just fun.
When it was time for third child to read, she wasn’t much interested in Dick and Jane. She loved Biscuit. She would go to bed with the Biscuit Storybook Collection.

But here’s the beauty – her brother and sister would still sit and read to her like they did when she was a baby. Teach her all they’d learned. Read from Hey I’m Reading with a little spark in their eyes. They remembered what fun it was to have the reading light switch on in their heads. They’d read to her while I was busy with the new baby.

New baby is now almost five years old. We’ve made the same sort of steps for her. Once again, I’ve pulled out Hey, I’m Reading, Dick and Jane and all the others we’ve collected. I’ve also made a little reading basket for the end of the couch. Because that’s the best spot. It’s where I am when she plops down and wants to listen.

And I’ve added some just for fun.
Youngest boy is on his way to learning to read. He has a library of beloved books from his four siblings. And what a privilege to look forward to teaching another child to read.
I urge you not to fret as I first did. To just read. Instill that love of reading. Then gently encourage. Pile up on books from the library.

Read, read, read. Enjoy and have fun.

Resources we use:

  • Dr Suess, Cat in the Hat type books

*Very simple steps on How to make Homemade I Can Read Books: A Birthday Book and A Beach Book.*

Then, read some more!

These are the reading resources we enjoy. What are your favorites?