Reading Aloud with Older Children
Over Christmas Break I have been doing some great PD (in this case it has been more personal than professional development) to further my life as a homeschool mom. I was so excited to come across this podcast with Andrew Purdewa and Sarah MacKenzie
I have homeschooled almost 18 years now and have read aloud many books during those years. Books that have become longtime friends and books that have been ones that we would gently return to the shelf and cull sometime later without them ever being read from cover to cover. Every book won’t be a winner, I have learned that over the years.
I think the first thing I love about reading aloud to older children, is the opportunity for incredible discussion. Books and the characters within them are human (mostly) and have human traits, emotions, struggles, loves, hates, dilemmas and many of the things that our pre-teens and teens are struggling with themselves. What a great way to discuss a topic without making it personal, and ending up in tears, anger or frustration. Those degrees of separation make issues so much easier to discuss.
So many elements of stories and character's lives are universal. Even though the novel may be set in the Middle Ages, or World War I or sometime in the future, characters still struggle with family, love, integrity, honour and so much more. We struggle with our faith and our belief in God. We struggle with our sin and temptation. That has been going on since the beginning of man, so all of the classics, all of literature, reflects aspects of who we are.
I love that! There is always something to discuss!!

The second thing I love is the opportunity to explore history through people and places that we might not ever personally get to visit. It amazed me when Andrew Purdewa said that his older children felt that they learned more about history through historical fiction, as my older children have said the very same thing! They were very thankful that we had so much historical fiction in our home for them to read or be read to! Learning through characters allows a personal connection and that personal connection helps us to remember the details of that character's life - the time they lived in, what it was like living then and how they coped with the issues of the time. Many characters are etched in our brains, as they became so vivid, from the stories that we explored with them.

The third thing which might be an obvious plus is just quiet time together with older children. This doesn’t always happen with busy lives and so much going on. From social lives to school lives, time to just sit on the couch together and read together is something that is to be cherished. With media, activities and students building their own lives, time to slow down and read/listen is such a gift for your children and for you! We can just connect through being together.
I encourage you to plan to continue to read aloud to your children no matter what their age. Our current read aloud is To Kill a Mockingbird. What is yours? Blessings, Natalie