Friday, June 20, 2014

Inspiring Summer Reading - Nonfiction Reading For Facts

I had a second grade student in school this past year, who despised reading, but loved science.  Instead of spending my time with her, sounding out words in the recommended reader, we did simple science experiments (usually from the back of a Magic School Bus book).  She read the instructions out loud, and we worked through the steps together, and she loved it - reading and all.

It's a technique I've used often at home.  Science experiments, and recipes for that matter, whether they come boxed in a kit, or out of a book, call for very careful reading, and good comprehension skills.  It's not reading for entertainment, but for information - a type of reading we engage in every day.

Which is why, when the younger girls showed some interest in turning the extra cream we had left-over from our tapioca tasting into homemade butter, I gave them written instructions, printed from Scientific American, to follow.

I could just as easily have told them what to do.  Butter churning know how is one of the prerequisites to being a homeschool mom, after all, right up there with baking homemade bread.  How else could we make it through all those Little House on the Prairie unit studies?  But if I had told them what to do, I would have missed out on a golden opportunity to trick them into to inspire summer reading.

Normally my 8 and 9 year old girls would never consider perusing the pages of a layman's scientific journal, much less carefully reading through a three page article with no pictures to speak of.  But, with butter making in the balance... was all fun and games.

E read aloud...

...while C carried out the instructions.

When their results were questionable, they consulted the pages instead of the mom...

...and were encouraged to continue on to success by themselves, thereby...

...honing their reading skills, engaging in a mini-science lesson, using up our extra cream, and providing me with yet another excuse to pull out the Lego minifigure mold.

Lego stud silver dollar short stack, anyone?

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Sheltie Times said...

This is one of the reasons why as a former public school teacher I am such a huge supporter of homeschooling.

Reading comprehension skills are so important. If you have a child who isn't picking up traditional books and you have another way to get them reading, DO IT. That is sadly something we don't have the freedom to do in the public schools.

There are always ways to encourage, engage, and yes trick children to learn if you have the freedom to explore.

Julia said...

I love so much about this post! Im not a home schooler but I have always taught my kids extra stuff at home and during the summer, so I always appreciate new ideas and techniques like this. Plus I really love that you guys made butter! I am going to try and make butter now with my boys. So neat!

Ticia said...

I love that they just kept going back to the instructions. We tried making ice cream once when the kids were little, but I don't think the instructions included were particularly good at that time.

MaryAnne said...

We contaminated our LEGO minifigure mold by using it to melt crayons, but this post makes me want to get another mold for food purposes.