Works for Me: Super Duper Family Time!

by GfG on April 21, 2010 · 13 comments

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My tip for you today is something I learned eleven years ago and it has changed my family life. It has created memories I will always cherish. It has bonded me with my children in a way that can not be duplicated.

And the best part… it’s not difficult. Or expensive. Nor does it require batteries. AND you can do it while the kids fold clothes:

Reading really good books aloud together. Very natural when the kiddos are really young, but not as encouraged in our culture once the kids learn to read on their own. I couldn’t disagree more with that trend.

I say read aloud with your children always. Yes, always. Good books. Books Charlotte Mason called living books, not fluff. Books that spark ideas, stir the heart, make an impact and bring insight. Books that come to life for everyone who read them.

Sure it can be another thing you have to fit in the schedule, but I promise you, you will never, ever regret it.

It can be during the day or in the evening or at bedtime, whatever works best for your family. If it seems too hard to fit in at first, why not try reading a book out loud when you are traveling to activities? You can even have the child (if they are a good reader) read parts aloud when you can’t.

I mean, who can forget how The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe affects a child the first time? or Where the Red Fern Grows? I’ll never forget Walk the World’s Rim or Sign of the Beaver or A Single Shard or Pipe, Paddle and Song… ok, I’ll stop. We just finished Guns for General Washington and Johnny Tremain and are now on Amos Fortune, Free Man and Justin Morgan Had a Horse.

I remember when I was in third grade the ‘advanced’ students’ teacher read Where the Red Fern Grows aloud to them every day. They loved every word. They bawled together and I’m willing to bet none of them has every forgotten it. I always wished I was in that class.

Now, some of my favorite moments are when one of the kids connects our every day life to a character, a comment, or a circumstance from a book we read together. They are strings that tie our hearts together.

We started reading aloud to our foster son when he came to live with us (and I had to sign it!). I’ll never, ever forget his face when Aslan died. Or when he came back to life. I’ll always cherish the discussion that followed.

While reading chapter books aloud is something that will draw you and your child closer, I am serious about making sure they are good books.

Three resources have really helped me find great books:
The Sonlight catalog (we used this curriculum for many years and will use it next year)
Honey for a Child’s Heart (this book will also convict you as a Christian about what The Word should mean in your life)
The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (written by an adult who cherished her family’s tradition of reading aloud)

I don’t recommend every book in each of these sources, but they are chock full of wonderful, wonderful books! Another great thing about me reading aloud is that I can edit as necessary (gasp!) depending on my listeners. I’d be happy to rec a read aloud to you if you would like a suggestion!

Reading aloud definitely works for me and my family!

Check out We are THAT Family for lots of other tips.

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