Homeschooling – Reading Lists
There are so many books available for children, how do you choose the ones that are best for your child? Please, if you find books you want to buy for your child or yourself while browsing these links, do purchase the book by using the Amazon.com search engine at the bottom of this page. This is the best way to thank me for providing this site for you. I receive a small percentage of your purchase price, and it helps pay my expenses for maintaining this site.
Do you know which genre your child prefers? Scott, our son, is very much into science fiction, so I’ve been searching with him to find some of the great books and short stories in that area, from Jules Verne to Anne McCaffrey. Your child probably prefers something quite different than mine: historical novels and biographies, westerns, literature that’s been made into movies, books that tell about other cultures and other ways of living. What your child prefers this month will undoubtedly change next month. You almost can’t stop your children from devouring books once they are given the freedom to read widely.
When you first “de-school” from public schooling, it is important to tell your child she may read as much as she likes about almost any topic she may choose. She’ll stop reading “trashy” novels once she discovers the truer emotions in good literature. Do allow him an occasional “escapist” novel. Think of your child like yourself: sometimes you just need some light reading, but you return to good books. I’m not saying that you should ever purchase any book that does not fit your value system, but at the same time, do not be afraid to let your child explore new ideas.
Government schooled children are lucky to have the time to read one book a month, and then grudgingly have to write a book report on it. Your child, on the other hand, will be devouring so many books that you’ll have a hard time tracking them for his portfolio: Three or four a week is fairly typical for older homeschoolers, more for children still in picture books. Rather than having them write “reports,” establish a family habit of giving each other book reviews at dinner. See who can intrigue another into reading a favorite book. Teens aren’t too old to be read to in the late evening hours. Besides, some great books are just meant to be shared.
I do look for book reviews and other reading lists, just to give our son ideas of books to look for. Some resources for reviews are:
- Book review section of publications
- Recommended reading list from a school
- List of Children’s Books Publishers
- Bookstore employees
- “Best Books For Children”-type books
- “Book Links” magazine from the American Library Association
- Book stores online
I have a list of excellent children’s literature links from non-commercial sources on my “Books, Bountiful Books” page. Some lists have search engines, handy for looking by age and interests. On this page I’ve included some commercial links. I have no business interest in these companies, but have liked surfing through their reading lists. I hope you will, too.
Once you’ve looked at so many of these lists, you’ll come to the conclusion that there is no one set of books ideal for any one “grade” level. So how do you know what your child should read? A variety of “style types” is important rather than exact book titles. Most educational requirements I’ve seen state something like: “The student should be able to read and understand a wide variety of literature, including classic and modern novels, short stories, biographies, non-fiction, plays, poetry, etc.”
Do not be overly concerned if your child chooses books that seem “too easy.” New homeschoolers need some time to read the great literature written for younger children. Conversely, don’t be concerned if your child seems to be selecting books that have a vocabulary that would make a graduate student faint. My daughter, a horse nut from day one, as a third grader, read everything she could get her hands on about horses, including vet manuals! Then the next week she’d be back to “normal,” enthralled in some horse novel written about two grade levels below. If you don’t tell them a book is “too hard” or “too easy,” they’ll never know.
Classic literature is online for downloading. These, too, are on the Books, Bountiful Books page. Once the “book” is on your computer, your child can have fun formatting and illustrating the stories. Do compare the effort and cost of printer paper and toner to just buying the paperback version. For studying Shakespeare, it may be easier for a child to understand if one of his plays is downloaded and formatted in fairly large type and given a half page for illustrations, questions and notes.
By Ann Zeise
More Reading Resources on A2Z
English Literature for Teenagers
Hands On Reading Activities Vendors
How Natural Reading Happens
Language Arts Books
Pre-Readers – Teaching Reading to Little Kids
Reading Basics For Kids
Reading Instruction Materials – Literature Based Language Arts
Reading Level Assessment Tests
Reading Lists – Great Books for Children – Page 1 and Page 2
Teaching Reading in Home School