Our goal has always been to get Jonathan reading well and then to use real books to facilitate learning in all subject areas. The Well Trained Mind gives suggestions for how to do this using narrations and such. Narration, put simply, is having the child tell back to you what he has just read.
At first, I was trying to pull books from our history and the suggested reading list from CC, but this didn’t work out quite as I had hoped. I also wanted to delve into reading good books that didn’t necessarily have anything to do with the time period or peoples we were studying. That’s why I made the decision to start using the reading schedule available at Ambleside Online for our Literature.
This makes planning easy because everything is laid out in a week by week schedule. We were able to jump into year 1 in the middle because there aren’t any long term readings scheduled for this year. We were able to completely transition to this list alone because Jonathan is reading very fluently. You'll want some sort of structured phonics and basic reading instruction if your student isn't a fluent reader. We used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, but some children need some work beyond that.
I break up the AO weekly readings among the 4 days that we do school at home (1 day we are at our CC community meeting), and we tackle those. Right now that means we read a poem from A. A. Milne each day. We usually have 2 different selections from Aesop’s Fables every week. These are short, and Jonathan reads them to me. Then he gives me a narration for that selection. Most of our narrations are oral right now, but we will transition to written narrations as time goes on. At times I have Jonathan dictate to me, and I write for him. Sometimes we just talk about what we've been reading.
We also read longer selections from Just So Stories, basic “fairy tales” from The Blue Fairy Book, and prose forms of Shakespeare. There are often 1 or 2 longer selections each week. We read a few pages aloud each day, and we talk about what is happening every few paragraphs or so encouraging narration. I sometimes include alternate forms of narration such as illustration or acting out the stories.
Jonathan also has a silent reading assignment from the additional reading portion of the AO list or from the suggested reading list for history. For a while he read 1 chapter from Peter Pan each day until he finished it. He’s also supposed to do at least 30 minutes of free reading each day, and he generally does this before bed.
I was very much influenced to being using the AO reading list by Edie because I just love her approach to schooling her girls, and it fit well with what we were already doing. If you ever get a chance to read about Charlotte Mason and her approach, it’s definitely very interesting. I think implementing some of her ideas into our study of literature is going to work well. We both love it so far.
Other posts in this series:
Spelling and Handwriting
Science and Art
A Few Random Thoughts