All across the country schools are closing to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. This leaves many parents and kids to bring education to the home and learn important skills such as reading. It is now up to parents to teach their children how to learn to read with a homeschool curriculum that can help your children still maintain their reading level even without being in a classroom.
Homeschooling is not a new concept, but it was a distant reality for the millions of parents who left the education of their children to the schools. It may seem daunting for parents who are new to homeschooling, but with careful planning and research, your kids can learn to read with a homeschool curriculum so that they are not behind when they finally return to school.
What is a reading curriculum?
A reading curriculum is basically a plan or program with specific goals and instruction to help your child learn to read at their appropriate level.
Most schools will have a curriculum that all their teachers should be following. This curriculum is often based on research about reading and child education as well as the school’s own goals and teaching philosophy and preferred teaching methods.
Most schools provide this curriculum to parents and you should be able to access this curriculum by request or often through the school’s website. Before you set up a home reading program for your kids, you should ask your child’s teacher about their reading curriculum and work with them to build a successful reading program at home.
How do you teach reading without a curriculum?
If you are not able to get your child’s specific reading curriculum from their school or teacher, you can still help them learn to read at home. You can create your own curriculum or program based on some general guides of what children should be learning.
Your program will depend on what grade level your child is in. Here are some general skills that children should have depending on their grade level:
- Preschool – Preschool might seem a little early for reading instruction. However, at this stage children are at least learning sounds and building their phonemic awareness to begin recognizing words.
- Elementary school – In elementary school, children begin the process of learning to read. This is where your child is learning the foundation for successful reading. This is where children should be starting to master reading fluency and learn the difference between fiction and non-fiction.
- Middle School – This is where your child should be comfortable reading independently and they make the switch from “learning to read” to “reading to learn”. They are able to read more complex and advanced materials and be able to recognize main ideas and summarize the text.
- High School – By high school, your child is an expert reader and uses reading as a tool to learn and critically analyze reading materials. At this point, they should be able to make connections between what they are reading to what they are supposed to be learning. Their writing skills also tend to interweave with reading skills more often.
Based on these reading goals, you should use strategies and tools that can help them achieve their learning outcomes that are specific to their grade level.
How do I teach my child to read at home?
Teaching your children to read at home can be challenging but definitely possible. Here are some strategies to implement every day that can help your child learn to read while at home.
- Set weekly reading goals – The most important part about homeschool teaching is to keep track of progress and to set goals. For reading, it is important for your child to set weekly reading goals to help motivate them. You can set up a system that is easy to see every day like a whiteboard or chart that shows their weekly page count or book count. Seeing how much progress they make every week will help get them to want to read and more often.
- Schedule family reading time – A homeschool reading program works best when you are involved. Reading together as a family creates strong bonds and helps give your children a model for reading. It is also a great way to give everyone a screen time break while staying at home.
- Practice sight words and phonics – For young children in preschool or elementary school, they need as much practice as possible to build their vocabulary and phonemic awareness. Building these will help them learn to read more fluently and helps with their reading comprehension.
- Read aloud to one another – Along with having individual reading time, you should set aside some time for you to read to your children and for them to read to you. This again gives them a model for reading and also allows them to practice their reading skills with guidance.
- Use graded readers – Graded readers are books that are set to a specific reading level so that they have the appropriate use of language and vocabulary. They are a fun way for your child to learn to read and can help you gauge their progress. You should provide graded readers that are your child’s level but also ones that are about one or two levels above so that they can have the option to challenge themselves.
- Get a virtual reading tutor – Just because you are at home with your kids does not mean you have to do it alone. Many parents are also working from home during the coronavirus outbreak, which means many of them still might not be able to help their children learn to read all day. Using a virtual reading tutor can help provide your child the help they need, whenever they need it. Readability is an app that is essentially a virtual reading tutor. The app uses A.I. technology and speech-recognition in order to give your child real-time feedback to improve their reading skills.
Homeschooling is now a popular option for parents who are looking to keep their children’s education in progress during school closures. Strategies and tools such as Readability can help children learn to read while at home and ensure that they do not fall behind their reading level.