Keeping Little Hands {and Big Hands!} Busy During Read-Alouds


I am a HUGE advocate of reading aloud to your children.  I have posted often about this topic.  

Many days go by where our biggest accomplishment is reading aloud.    

That's OK with me.   

I know that if my husband and I raise readers and seekers of knowledge we will be equipping them to be life long learners.   If my children experience the great joys of learning alongside their parents they will pass this along to their children.   

Reading aloud to your children will
 last for GENERATIONS!  

I know, however, that sometimes reading aloud falls into "last place" in some homeschools.  There are math workbooks to complete, grammar lessons to finish, and spelling words to learn.

I've also heard moms say that it just takes too much TIME to read aloud, and why should they read aloud when their children are independent readers?  

This makes me sad.

I love learning WITH my children! I am modeling good reading when I read aloud.

I have witnessed my children's vocabularies SOAR because of read-alouds.  They have a frame of reference for SO MANY things in history, science, and life in general.   They are turning into wonderful writers (I'm not trying to brag -- well, yes I am - brag about the benefits of reading aloud!) and speakers because of the examples they hear in GOOD BOOKS.

The biggest question I get is this:   "How do your children listen for so long when you read aloud?"   I'm going to try to answer that question today.

Five Ways to Keep Little Hands {and Big Hands!} 
Busy During Read-Alouds

Geometric Coloring

1.  Make the environment cozy.  We have two big fleece throws in our family room and lots of comfy pillows.   Everyone now has their own SPOT for when I read aloud!  I have a good light for me and have a couple of "mood lights" to relax everyone else. 

2.  Coordinate read-aloud time with snack or meal time.   A huge bowl of grapes or other healthy snack keeps little ones busy and quiet!   My daughter (who is 10) loves to make herself a cup of tea.   Many times I will also read-aloud at lunch time - I have a captive audience for 15-20 minutes; why not capitalize on that? 

Viking Mask

3.  Give those little hands something to do.   Here are some of our favorites:

Coloring (check out these COOL geometric coloring sheets we've been using!)
Crafts - my kids made Viking Masks while I was reading aloud to them about The Vikings.  

4. Keep notebooks for your children to work in while you read.  We use Story of The World for history and my children keep a notebook.   We just finished learning about Charlemagne.   I challenged my kids to draw something pertaining to the story while we read and then we added it to their notebook.  You can also search for free notebooking pages for whatever subject you are working on.   

5.  Choose interesting and fun read-alouds and BE ANIMATED while you read them.  I learn about read-alouds from blogs (Amy @ Hope is the Word is my #1 resource) and just talking to other moms in our co-op.    I also love Read for the Heart by Sarah Clarkson and Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Handbook.  I try to choose books based on the period of history we are studying, or just based on interest. My daughter has listened to many baseball greats read-alouds, and my son has listened (with great interest) to Caddie Woodlawn.   I love that they share each other's passion for certain subjects!  

I am always on the lookout for good books at used book sales.   I have one bookshelf downstairs that is full of treasuries and books that we want to read-aloud. Notice the Childhood of Famous Americans Walt Disney book -- we are reading this now... and my kids have NO IDEA they will be going to Disney World in three weeks!  

There are SO MANY POSSIBILITIES with reading aloud.  I am so thankful we embrace this lifestyle of reading.  I will miss reading aloud to children when my have grown and left the nest!

Do you have any read-aloud tips you'd like to share?

Linking today with Amy... click her button to see what others are reading aloud this week!