What Then Should We Read? Picture Books

More notes from my talk at GCCHS Expo on Saturday, May 30, 2015:

Read picture books.
Lots and lots and lots of picture books. Look at the pictures together. Draw pictures together. If you need a curriculum or a list, use Five in a Row (which will complicate your life with more ideas than you will have time to do) or my preschool/kindergarten curriculum, Picture Book Preschool (more simple or maybe too simple?). Or use any other list of high quality, living picture books. Enjoy that one book that your preschooler wants to read over and over and over. Eliminate twaddle (silly, annoying, empty books) from your home, and then your child can only pick good, living books to ask you to read.

Melissa Wiley: “One of the homeschooling questions I am asked most frequently is “What do you use to teach your kids to read?”
I usually explain that I haven’t yet had to do any formal reading instruction with any of my kids. I have three fluent, eager readers now, and every one of them learned pretty much the same way:
1) (And so very important, it should be numbers 1-50.) Lots and lots and lots of read-alouds from the time they are teeny tiny. Poetry, picture books, novels, magazine articles, fairy tales, biographies, all sorts of very good, high-quality, literary writing. We read and read and read and read.
51) When at some point I notice the child is beginning to recognize her name and other simple, common words, I pull out our trusty Bob Books.
Read-alouds and Bob, that’s how we’ve done it three times in a row.”

OK. I admit I taught each of my eight children to read. I used a phonics curriculum, and I taught them to sound out the words. But if I had it to do over again, I would try Melissa’s way, especially with my youngest, who loved to be read to but had no desire to learn to read. I think if I had been able to just let it go, not worry about what anyone else thought, and keep reading to her, she would be a more enthusiastic reader now.

Maybe not. But in the meantime, whatever else you do to teach them to read, read picture books. And keep reading picture books after they can read to themselves because there are a lot of really good picture books to read and enjoy and read over again.

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