Teaching children to think by Raising Children Who Read!

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Statistics have shown that in a class of 20 students, few, if any, teachers can find even 5 minutes of time in a day to devote to reading with each student. These studies have also come to find that the majority of children in our generation will stop reading as soon as they no longer have to. This absolutely breaks my heart for a number of reasons. Children are no longer delighting in reading, getting swept away in a captivating story, or enjoying the wonder and fun that comes from learning.

As parents, God has trusted us with a very important job. We are here to not only be mothers, but to be teachers and instructors in all that is good and lovely in the world. In my sweet Sarah’s book, Read for the Heart, she quotes:

The first thing that a young heart needs is an education in all that is good.”

The main reason behind why children won’t find joy and excitement in reading is the fact that they are not being exposed to great books. We don’t live in a culture that is filled with very much excellence. While we may not be able to control the media of our generation, we must take on the responsibility of exposing our children to excellent books that will encourage, inspire, and help them flourish into adults who have a love of literature.

In our home, each child has his or her own book shelf. Every Christmas everyone gets their own books!

Book baskets are all over the house–with picture books, magazines, art books, and piled with all sorts of genre’s of interesting tales.

In our library, we have overstuffed recliners so anyone can go read in comfort at any time.

At bedtime we kept baskets of short stories and picture books and chapter books to keep going one more chapter each night. (and of course we always followed with cd’s of favorite music that placed beauty in their little heads as they drifted off.)

Mediocrity is natural. There are a lot of time wasters out there. However, as mothers, God has called us to the supernatural–the above and beyond of ideals that Jesus wants us to understand. We must rise above what our culture views as normal  activity and cultivate minds and hearts in our children that are excellent, joyous, and full of wonder. What we feed our children’s minds will in many ways determine what they will have in their soul to respond to when they are adults.

3 Excellent Picture Books to Introduce to Your Family This Month:

1- Tuesday by David Weisner
2- Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey
3- Song And Dance Man by Karen Ackerman

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  1. Dena says

    Thank you for the concrete examples to follow. I appreciate that. Sometimes I get frustrated if there’s a great idea but I don’t know how to implement it. This is something I can definitely do. I appreciate all the effort you put into making the lives in our homes beautiful and not just keeping all those great ideas to yourself. :)

  2. Emily says

    Hi Sally,
    I find your blog so encouraging and would love to find a book list of quality literature to read to children (particularly young children at the moment as I have a toddler and newborn) have you put a list like this up or can you recommend where to find one?
    Thanks again to the time you put in to encouraging us young mums- I am in Australia and there are many other mums I know here who you have also inspired to disciple our children and embrace the role of mothering that God has gifted us with.

    • says

      Hi Emily, I wanted to jump in quick to let you know that I just bought and read through Sarah Clarkson’s book, Read For The Heart. If you’re looking for a great resource, Sally’s daughter has done a phenomenal job. Each recommendation comes with a small paragraph about the books recommended, the title, author, and even the age-group. I’m sure you’d love it as much as I did!

    • Marci says

      I second what Darlene says. Read for the Heart is a great resource! I love books and booklists. I have several boards on Pinterest devoted to them based on Read for the Heart, Educating the Wholehearted Child and Charlotte Mason plus ones I have found on my own. Thrift and library sales are great places to stock up on quality books for reasonable prices!

      Happy Reading!

  3. says

    Thanks, Ms. Sally for this list of book, I will be sure to check them out.

    Yes, it is a wonderful practice for mothers, or fathers, to read to their children daily. My husband and I read to our children every night. We read the Bible to them every morning and for bedtime they get to choose a Bible story or a good book for themselves.

    I have always had books, like you, all over my house and that as encourage them throughout the day to just pick a book and read the older they get.

    Please mothers, don’t stress over it, introduce books to your children, read to them every change you get and they will pick up the habit. Children live what they see.

    Peace to one and all.

  4. says

    picture books! yes!! my kids love to read, but left to their own devices, they get stuck in comics.
    i want their hearts full of great literature.
    thank for the real booklist.
    i’m going to add them to my library queue right now.
    (& keep the suggestions coming. i SO appreciate them!)

  5. Tara Burton says

    Thank you for the encouragment to keep doing what I know I should be doing – reading to my children! We are starting the 6th book in the Narnia series today … they are in Kinder & First and have LOVED them – along with the Boxcar Children, Five Little Peppers and lots of picture books – Time of Wonder is an excellent book, as well as Robert McCloskey’s other stories. I haven’t read the ones that you mentioned so I will definitely check them out at my local library!

    My 1st grader has actually started crying at the end of a good book!!

    Thank you for taking the time to encourage those of us who read your blog!

  6. says

    Sally, I loved reading your daughter’s book. I just purchased it last week and read it in two days because I just couldn’t put it down. There’s so much good insight into the benefits of reading to our children. I knew reading was a good practice to take up. I have even prayed about it. I have a 6yo daughter I homeschool and I was really hitting the wall for the last couple of months. I’ve felt exhausted and drained. In prayer I felt God saying, “Read to her. She’s learning so much and bonding with you through the process.”

    It was such a simple answer to a mother’s burdened heart. But, I still didn’t know how to go about it. Your daughter’s book answered so many questions for me and it gave me such a vast number of recommendations. I felt like God put this book in my hands. I felt like He answered my questioned above and beyond what I could imagine. He made this part of our journey so doable!

    Love the work you and your family do. Praying for you all. May God continue to use you for His glory on all your endeavors!

    (Feeling the same way about Educating the WholeHearted Child and The Mission of Motherhood!)

  7. Abby says

    We found “Song and Dance Man” on the discard shelf at our library a few years ago and it’s not a cherished family favorite. Thank you for the wonderful suggestions, I’ve already added them to my list at the library!

  8. says

    I’ve LOVED Sarah’s book, “Read for the Heart,” since I bought it a couple years ago after the Mom Heart Conference. With my oldest being 3-years-old (at the time) I thought I’d get a head start on educating myself on what educating my children at home would look like. It was actually my youngest (1 at the time) who seemed to show more interest in books, pulling them off the shelf to look at them. But picking a book to read before naptime and bedtime became a routine and I discovered that my oldest did like reading too. At the last Mom Heart Conference I was encouraged to make the Bible the most important book read to my girls and they look forward to hearing a story at breakfast from “The Jesus Storybook Bible” that was made available to peek inside and purchase on your conference book table. We’re our second time through since February and my 4-year-old’s new favorite word is “rescue.” My 2-year-old will even say, if we hadn’t gotten to it yet during breakfast time, “We didn’t read a Bible story yet.” All this to say that I’ve been GREATLY encouraged by your family’s love of good books and our family has benefited from checking out Sarah’s recommendations (in Read for the Heart) little by little through almost-weekly library trips and getting a glimpse inside books on Amazon. (when the option is made available). I’m planning on posting pictures of the books the girls and I have checked out and loved in my “Good Reads” Facebook photo album and sharing the book reading encouragement and book recommendations I’ve gotten from both “Read for the Heart” and “Educating the WholeHearted Child.”

  9. Charity says

    One of my children has dyslexia and hates to read simply because of how laborious it is for him. It makes me so sad. He loves it when I read to him so I do a lot. He loves classics like Chronicles of Narnia and other books like Scout and The Hardy Boys, but only when I read them aloud to him. I looked forward to days where we took turns reading to each other. My prayer is that as we continue to address the dyslexia and continue to work with him on reading that he will one day find some enjoyment out of it. My other son is an emerging reader so he reads every word he finds every where so hopefully he will grow up to enjoy reading.

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