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Let Them Read: Giving Your Kids the Freedom to Choose

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There are plenty of homeschool reading tips out there, but Sara offers one of the best in the following article: let your kids choose what they read. Freedom to choose increases engagement.

Written by Sara Jordan Panning of Heart and Soul Homeschooling

I recently had a conversation with a reading specialist who has encouraged excitement for reading in hundreds of kids. He relayed to me how frequently parents come to him complaining that their kids only want to read graphic novels. His response: “They’re reading, aren’t they?”

It’s so easy, especially as homeschoolers, to get all caught up in and obsess over what our kids are reading. We convince ourselves that if our child doesn’t fall in love with Tom Sawyer or Little Women, he’ll never be true lovers of books. This thinking simply isn’t correct.

Studies have shown that when parents and teachers give children the freedom to choose what they read, they are much more likely to read more often and for the pure pleasure of it.

homeschool reading tips

I confess I used to be a literature snob. I read all the classics and vowed that my kids would read them, too. While we do read classic literature, I give my daughters the freedom to choose what they like to read based on their interests. Within reason, of course, but this has not been a problem so far.

My oldest daughter is 17 and has developed a taste for good books of all kinds, even if they aren’t the best according to Charlotte Mason twaddle standards. Sometimes a good story is just a good story and enjoyable to read. All three of my daughters like to read for fun, so I count that as a win.

Let Them Read: Giving Your Kids the Freedom to Choose

When you give your kids the freedom to choose, they find more joy in reading.

When we assign specific titles for our kids to read, tell them how many pages to read each day, and require a follow-up book report, we’re turning reading into nothing more than a school assignment. In most cases, our kids will not see reading as an enjoyable recreational activity.

On the other hand, allowing our kids to pick the book they’ll read next gives them the freedom to read what captures their attention and what they believe they will enjoy. (We could learn a lot about our kids by what they choose to read!)

homeschool reading tips

When you give your kids the freedom to choose, they will make a variety of reading choices.

Our kids are still going to need a little direction. Choosing a book can be very overwhelming! Giving our kids some parameters will help them narrow down their choices, but still allow them to choose what they want. For example, you may want to give them guidelines such as choosing a book of poetry, a biography, a fiction, and a non-fiction book, but allow them to pick the specific titles.

You may find you’re surprised by what book they tackle!

When you give your kids the freedom to choose, they will find their own voice.

Avid readers make better writers. Reading encourages creativity, so you might even find your child with a desire to write like never before when she has developed that love of reading!

When you give your kids the freedom to choose, they will read more.

When I finish a book that I loved, I crave picking up another one. Can you relate? Our kids will be able to if we let them choose their books! You are giving them a sense of empowerment when you let them choose. You are giving them the gift of reading for fun.

Trust your kids to make a choice. Empower them to enjoy reading. Instead of trying to fit your children inside a literary box, set them free to explore the world of reading!

Do you let your kids choose what they read? What have been some of their most surprising choices?

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