Summer is a great time to encourage reading!

Teaching Tip:

Summer is a great time to encourage reading!

While it is important to take time off during the school year, summer is a great time to encourage reading. The long, lazy days of summer just beg for you to curl up with an ice cold glass of lemonade or iced tea and a book!

How can you encourage your children to read this summer?

One way to encourage your children to read this summer is by example. If you read this summer, and your children see you reading, they will be encouraged to read! One way we have done this at our house is to set aside time as a family to read.

Have a family “reading time.”

Last summer, we set aside 30 minutes in the evenings after dinner as family “reading time.” We gathered together in our living room with our individual books and read silently. We set the timer, and when it rang… we were done. At the end of reading time, sometimes a few family members shared something about what they’d read. But mostly, we just read. We enjoyed this time so much as a family that we carried it into our school year!

These days we steadily get to reading time about 4-5 nights a week. Sometimes the boys don’t want to take time out of their busy schedules to read. Yet, when we do take time to read, all of us seem to end up enjoying it. My husband and I really look forward to reading time. I finished several books this year I never would have found time to read had it not been for reading time!

What types of books will tempt your children to read this summer?

Summer seems to be a time for a different kind of reading. If you’ve ever walked through a book store in the summer, you will notice tables of books labeled “beach reads.” These are books that are easy to read on a beach or outdoors somewhere. They often are absorbing books you can take breaks from, return to, and easily be caught up in again. Books like this also work well for the family “reading time” I described above. Sometimes “beach reads” have a lighter, more carefree feel to them. Other times they have a brisk and thrilling pace. Overall, they are enjoyable, easy to read, and have simpler phrasing and diction. They are books that are just less work to read.

Series books work well for summer reading.

Summer can be a great time for series books. Series books often have the “beach read” feel. They have simpler phrasing and diction, have similar plots, follow a definite pattern, and require much less work to read because you already know the characters. Plus, if your child gets invested in a series, he/she can just keep on reading from one book to the next. Of course, not all series books are good. Many are not. So, you’ll have to use discernment to discover the series books that are acceptable for your family.

Take time to cultivate the habit of summer reading.

Time spent cultivating the habit of summer reading is time well spent. We’ve discovered our children curled up reading on the couch, reading in their beds, reading in the bath, and reading late at night. They started a book during “reading time” and just had to know what happened next! Try a family reading time and see what you think. Who knows, you may find yourself burning the midnight oil to find out what happens next in your book too!

Blessings,
Carrie

Use coupon code JUNE-LIBRARY for 10% off the Beyond Little Hearts Classic Set!

Library Builder

Use coupon code JUNE-LIBRARY for 10% off both variants of the Beyond Little Hearts Classic Set!

We are excited to continue our Heart of Dakota Library Builder book set promotion! On the 1st Wednesday of each month we will be promoting one of our book sets with a 10% coupon code. For this month’s special, use coupon code JUNE-LIBRARY on our website for the entire month of June to save 10% on the Beyond Little Hearts Classic Set. To view all of the books in this set, just click here!

This set of books contains nine read-aloud titles, one for each genre of literature that is scheduled in the storytime part of the plans in  Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory. Each book is used for 20 days of the plans.

How is the Storytime part of the plans in Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory used throughout the year?

(From the Introduction of Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory):

Storytime
Daily storytime sessions are based on literature that is read aloud from the
following nine genres: Biography, Adventure, Historical Fiction, Fantasy,
Mystery, Nonfiction, Humor, Realistic Fiction, and Folk Tale. Each type of
literature is read aloud for 20 days, except for Folk Tale which is read aloud
for 10 days.

The instructions and activities are written to be used with any literature.
This flexibility allows you to use your own discretion in selecting literature to read aloud to your students. The structure also allows you to select the
pace at which you’ll complete your read aloud selection.

Each 5 day unit in the guide includes the following reading activities in coordination with the read-aloud assignments:
*1st Day: introduce and study different types of literature
*2nd Day: model narration to foster comprehension
*3rd Day: identify and analyze a different story element for each genre
*4th Day: relate personally to one Godly character trait, compare
Biblical and book characters, and select one area to improve
*5th Day: practice narration by retelling the story in a variety of ways

Use coupon code JUNE-LIBRARY to save!

To apply this month’s savings, just enter coupon code JUNE-LIBRARY on our website when you check out! We hope these books will be as treasured to you as they are to us!

Have a great rest of the week!
Heart of Dakota

Customize Your Children’s Reading with Heart of Dakota

From Our House to Yours

Customize Your Children’s Reading with Heart of Dakota

I have three sons I’ve taught to read using Heart of Dakota’s guides. Though they have all progressed through the guides in order, I’ve always loved I can customize their reading. This has been wonderful! I have been able to choose the reading and the pacing of that reading to fit each child best. So, while they each progressed through phonics, the Emerging Reader’s Set, and Drawn into the Heart of Reading, their reading was customized to fit them each the best.  Because reading instruction is not tied to a guide’s daily plans, unit themes, or months/seasons/holidays, it can easily be customized without getting your child off-track in your main Heart of Dakota guide!  Let’s see how!

Customize Your Children’s Phonics

With Heart of Dakota, phonics is not tied to any other subject area. The Reading Lesson (TRL), Reading Made Easy (RME), and Sound Bytes are all phonics programs Heart of Dakota recommends. However, any phonics can be used with Heart of Dakota. Phonics is recommended to be done during Little Hearts for His Glory (LHFHG) and/or Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory (Beyond). So, you can customize by choosing which phonics program to use, by choosing when to begin, as well as by choosing how many years to do phonics. You can even further customize your children’s phonics by choosing to use the download or not with TRL. Likewise, you can customize by choosing to use the workbooks or not with RME. So, lots of ways to customize your children’s phonics!

Customize Your Children’s Emerging Reader Set

The Emerging Reader’s Set (ERS) is the next step up in reading after phonics. The ERS provides a carefully planned out list of interesting, well-loved books that gradually increase in difficulty. A schedule for reading these books and engaging questions written specifically for each book is included in both Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory (Beyond) and Bigger Hearts for His Glory (BHFHG).  This 14-book set begins with one of two children’s Bibles. The Early Reader’s Bible is the easier reading level, and The Beginner’s Bible is the harder reading level. Supplement titles of books are also listed for each unit to match the ERS progression. So, customize your ERS by choosing to use it with Beyond or BHFHG, by choosing which level of Bible to use, and by choosing whether to use the supplemental titles or not!

Customize Your Children’s Independent Reading 

Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR) is the next step in reading after the ERS. DITHOR is a reading option in Beyond Little Hearts through Missions to Modern Marvels (MTMM). So, you can customize when your children begin DITHOR. There are three different DITHOR Student Book levels: 2/3, 4/5, and 6/7/8. So, you can customize your children’s level of instruction and amount of written work. There are multiple levels of book packs, including Levels 2, 3, 4/5, 5/6, 6/7, and 7/8. So, you can customize your children’s level of reading. There are also girl and boy interest book packs for levels 4/5, 5/6, and 7/8. So, you can further customize your children’s reading by interest.

There is also a Sample Book Ideas list. As any book can be used with DITHOR, this list gives a dozen or so choices per level per genre. You can customize the books your children read using this suggested list.  Or, you can choose ANY book, using what you have on hand or using your library! Just make sure the book you choose matches the genre you are teaching. If you choose your own books, you can also customize the reading pace. Choose either to read one, two, or three books to read over the 15 days of reading each genre. Now, that’s a LOT of awesome ways to customize your child’s reading!

In Christ,
Julie

Use coupon code MAY-LIBRARY for 10% off both variants of the Emerging Reader set!

Library Builder

Use coupon code MAY-LIBRARY for 10% off both variants of the Emerging Reader set!

We are excited to continue our Heart of Dakota Library Builder book set promotion! On the 1st Wednesday of each month we will be promoting one of our book sets with a 10% coupon code. For this month’s special, use coupon code MAY-LIBRARY on our website for the entire month of May to save 10% on both variants of the Emerging Reader set. To view all of the books in this set, just click here!

How does the Emerging Reader set work?

The only difference between the two sets is the Bible. The Early Reader’s Bible is a little bit easier for your child to read than the Beginner’s Bible.

Regardless of which Bible you choose, these books will be a great resource for your beginning reader! We suggest that this set of books be used right after phonics instruction. Since each book in this set gets progressively more difficult to read, the strength of your child’s reading ability will be constantly moving forward to that of an independent reader. Just follow the Scheduled Books for Emerging Readers found in the Appendix of Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory and in the Appendix of Bigger Hearts for His Glory. The schedule listed in the Appendix has been carefully planned to utilize interesting books that gradually increase in reading difficulty throughout the year.

Use coupon code MAY-LIBRARY to save!

To apply this month’s savings, just enter coupon code MAY-LIBRARY on our website when you check out! We hope these books will be as treasured to you as they are to us!

Have a great rest of the week!
Heart of Dakota

PS: Here’s a helpful teaching tip on getting the most out of the Emerging Reader set!

What is one key of a Charlotte Mason education?

Teaching Tip:

What is one key part of a Charlotte Mason education?

Today’s tip has to do with one key part of a Charlotte Mason education that is often overlooked or misunderstood. Charlotte Mason advocated that a child aged 9 or older who can read his/her own material should. This doesn’t mean you should never read aloud to children past the age of 9! It does mean that for subjects where the child is reading to “know,” the child should be doing the reading if he/she is able.

Why is it important for children who can read their own school books to do so?

Training a child to read to “know” is an important part of any child’s education. This is because reading one’s own books exercises a child’s focus and power of attention in a unique way. Asking children to read their own material encourages them to savor what they read and make their own connections.

Reading aloud books meant to be read by the child means we are getting between the book and the child.

Once a child can read fluently, we need take care not to get between the book and child. Instead, we need to “get out of the way” and let the child read assigned books without interference. This doesn’t mean we don’t discuss books. It just means the child should be allowed to read those books without our ideas in his head already as distractions. In this way, children can make their own discoveries and connections.

Often when we read aloud, we make the connections… rather than the child making the connections.

When we read aloud, we often share our own personal connections and reflections. It is true a child may learn much from our perspective he wouldn’t otherwise learn from reading alone. But, is that learning his own, or ours? Who is doing the hard work of thinking, drawing conclusions, and making lasting connections? Is it us, or is it the child?

Reading one’s own books is a skill that takes practice.

Charlotte Mason wanted children to develop the skill of reading their lesson books for themselves. This is why our Heart of Dakota guides gradually introduce children to this important skill. Beginning with Preparing Hearts for His Glory, we start having children read part of their history and science books on their own. Each subsequent Heart of Dakota guide hands more of the reading over to the child. Graduating learners who can and will pick up higher level books and tackle them with ease takes practice.

It’s easier to sit and listen to someone read than to grapple with a book yourself.

While it is great to be read to, it is also easy to get spoiled by the ease of listening to someone else read aloud. Consider how easy it is to do other tasks while listening to an audio. Then, think about whether the same is true when you are reading words on a page. Paying attention to a voice is a very different mental skill than paying attention to thoughts written on a page. A child will never develop fluency, proficiency, or ease in reading for himself unless he practices the skill often with a variety of materials. This is why our guides begin practicing this skill as soon as children are able.

Charlotte Mason taught that when children are old enough, much of their reading is done on their own.

While reading aloud to our children is extremely important, it should never take the place of children learning to read independently. We need to be sure that we are allowing our children to read, savor and make connections for themselves. Try it today! Just follow the ‘I’ boxes in your HOD guide and allow your child to read his own material if he is able.

Blessings,

Carrie