Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Reading is the magic key...

Reading is a love, a passion! I was the child who would stay up till the wee hours of the morning trying to finish her book with a flashlight or sometimes by the light coming through her window!! I have the glasses and poor vision to prove it! As my girls have grown, I have tried to pass this on to them as well, maybe not my obsession but at least a love. I would like them to be able to see when they get older!

Both of my girls are great readers, but I want to make sure they understand what they are reading! I want to know about their comprehension skills and not just fluency. This probably stems from my experience as a public school teacher. In the classroom, I often used assessment to ensure that my students were gaining ground in their reading abilities. As a homeschool parent now, I wanted a way to measure their growth and monitor their progress but I had to go looking for ways instead of the assessments being handed to me. Here are just a few tools that I use in our reading program to encourage and assess their reading! (Disclaimer: I have NOT been paid by any of the following programs. I am just simply noting personal experience.)

Book Adventure is an online program sponsored by Sylvan Learning. It works similar to Accelerated Reader in the public school system. My kids can look up books on the site that are in their grade level. They have so many popular choices. They then read their book and take a test to assess their comprehension. Good scores earn reward points! They can then use these points to receive a reward (from a list that I have chosen for them). I love the control that I have as a parent and my ability to track their reading. I can print out reports that will let me know what they have read, taken tests on, and earned. Love it!

Did you know that the Book It! Program is available to homeschoolers?! I was so excited to see this as it is a program that I used in my classroom. The kids LOVED earning their cetificates each month for a free Pizza Hut pizza. Now I can use this at home for an incentive! I have already ordered my pack and am eager to get our charts set up!

Lapbooks are another great way to assess comprehension of a book or series. The picture above links to Homeschool Share which has many great lapbook templates for free. Basically, a lapbook is made out of folders stapled together that fold out and create an interactive book report. Each lapbook template is different based on the book and is a way for students to showcase what they have learned through the literature. For instance, a lapbook about Little House on the Prairie might include places to note how they would have dressed, what they would have eaten, etc. It would also note important action sequences as well as the plot. Lapbooks can vary and are very easy to implement. The girls loved putting them together. 

I have noted just resources I use to encourage reading and track growth in my reading program. Of course, reading curriculums and guided questions are both important as well. However, I love the fact that I can use these methods with their favorite topics and stories, not just with a reading textbook. 

Do you have a great reading resource to share?? Comment below!

Just as a reminder!! Don't forget to join in on the $20 Amazon giveaway which ends on Friday!! Good luck and happy blogging! 


  1. As a writer I get so excited when I hear about programs and momma's who promote reading. It's a lifetime gift.

  2. Pamela~ I totally agree! I pray that I not only teach them HOW to read, but give them a love for reading as well. Thanks for coming by!


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