Homeschool Reading Specialist

Yes, you can teach your child to read!


on May 3, 2014

When I was teaching in the public school setting, I set aside a time every Friday called “DEAR Time.” DEAR stands for Drop Everything And Read, and that’s just what we did.  I filled my classroom with books that were interesting, fun, and on a level that my struggling readers could understand.  They had the freedom to choose what they read during DEAR time and for a solid hour we did nothing but read. Yes, we had to work up to it and I allowed those not yet ready for a chapter book to select several short books that they could read and reread during the hour.

“How did you get them to be quiet and focus on reading for a solid hour?” They had two options: be quiet and read or put the books away, get in our desks and do “work as usual” for the hour.  And of course… I had to be true to my word a couple of times to show that I meant business.  Knowing that I would have to call DEAR time to an end and enforce the “work as usual” option when we first started this practice, I was prepared with work that would be less enjoyable than laying on the floor enjoying a book.  😉

As with any skill, we learn to do it by practicing.  Understanding what we read while reading silently is the real measure of comprehension and overall reading ability. Silent reading is a practice that will help children learn to be lifelong readers.

You bet this is reading! This young man is learning more skills than you can imagine that will put him on a sure foundation for learning to read.

How To Begin Practicing Silent Reading:

  • Be sure reading selections are practical and on a level they can understand to ensure success {wordless books and/or picture books allowed!}
  • Begin with short intervals of time, 10 to 15 minutes at first.
  • Model. While the student is reading, you read too.
  • Make silent reading time a regular part of your school day.

I’ve shared a classroom technique, but let me make it a little more personal.  In our home after Sunday lunch, we have “reading rest time.” During this time there are two options: read or rest. There is no other alternative. No screens, no coloring books or quiet activities. We all gather in the living room with a book, grab a comfy spot, and enjoy the next hour reading or napping…. or a little of both.  During our school day, we have a time of silent reading during the morning for 15 – 20 minutes as a regular part of our reading program or we have a reading / rest time like on Sunday after lunch … if Mom is tired and frazzled!

Another benefit of silent reading is that it gives you, Mom, a chance to sit, rest, and recoup… and we all need a little of that every day! Try some silent reading this week. If you do, I’d love to hear how it goes.

Happy Reading!


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Homeschool Reading Specialist

Yes, you can teach your child to read!

The Measured Mom

Yes, you can teach your child to read!

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