Besides being relaxing and enjoyable, reading good literature offers a number of benefits to learners. It also builds a common experience among the reader and listeners; it provides models of excellent grammar, fluency, and writing; it helps develop critical thinking skills; and it offers the opportunity to understand and discuss problems. Reading literature can benefit all ages, but some of the best practices in teaching literature vary by the age of the student. Here are some tips and ideas for teaching literature in the Getting Excited stage.
Tips for the Getting Excited Stage
By the Getting Excited stage, your child should be able to listen to longer texts over periods of time, beginning with short chapter books over a few days and moving onto longer chapter books as they progress toward the Beginning to Understand stage. Children at this age will begin to discover favorite genre and series.
Although you may have a voracious reader on your hands, don’t neglect reading aloud. Choose books slightly above the child’s reading level when possible. Your child will continue to learn inflection, fluency, and vocabulary by listening to you read aloud.
Here are some tips for this stage:
- Be selective in choosing your books. While an occasional “sweet” doesn’t really hurt a child, “meat and potatoes” is important to growth. Choose well-written books by authors who are passionate about the subject, and look for literature that touches the emotions.
- Use pre-reading questions and discussion to activate your child’s background knowledge about a story. Give enough information to help your child understand the book and pique his interest, but don’t ruin the story!
- Expose your child to a variety of genre and styles. Homeschoolers tend to read a lot of historical fiction and nonfiction, but don’t forget poetry, dramas, science fiction, fantasy, and mysteries.
- Even as you move on to longer chapter books, don’t dismiss the power of a wonderfully written, beautifully illustrated picture book to teach concepts at this age.