Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Read-aloud time activities

Last year was our first year for an extended read-aloud time each day.  An hour and a half is a long time for my kids to sit still and I don't tolerate fidgeting very well.  So, after reading that Kimberly at Raising Olives allows her kids to do hand-work during read-aloud time I decided to test it out.  The only problem was my kids don't do any hand-work!  After some experimenting I learned that tracing and drawing something appropriate to our lesson did not interfere with the listening comprehension of my 10 and 8 year olds.  In fact, this really allowed us to kill two birds with one stone since I decided half-way through the school year that each child would make a portfolio.  So while I was reading Master Cornhill, my kids might be drawing the life-cycle of the plague virus (from The Story of the World Activity Book) or tracing and coloring a picture of the Old London Bridge (found on the internet).  This helped my kids to sit quietly and still during read-aloud time and it gave them material for their portfolios.  This year we're studying American History and so far I've just purchased one drawing book.  I'm on the lookout for additional activity books though if you know of any good ones.

Remember the Alamo?

And since Twinkle Toes and Measle are learning to knit this summer, they will also be able to do hand-work during read-aloud this year.  With a little brother coming in October they should be quite busy with baby knitting projects until then.

Last year Louie (21 months) was napping during read-aloud time, but this year she'll only nap in the afternoons.  So I've been brainstorming about how to keep Louie and AB (4) quietly while we read.  Louie is blanket-trained, but I've never tried keeping her in one place for an hour and a half!  Last year AB was allowed to quietly work puzzles or play learning games.  This year I'm wondering if I need to set up stations as other multi-level homeschooling moms have done.  I'm not sure yet how formal these "stations" will be, but I wanted to show you some of the games.  Tara at Too Many Kids in the Bathtub made these games and my little kids love them!

Louie needs to work on her counting skills.  She kept going along behind AB and adding feathers.

I'm sure there are many ways you can play this game.  I just put all the pictures in a pile and
let the kids choose pictures to cover up the shapes on their shape cards. 

Another shape game.  The pictures go from easy to difficult and show how rearranging shapes makes different designs.

This is supposed to be a color sorting game, but Louie wasn't quite following it. 
You could also sort the buttons by shape.

This is a variation of the picnic game.  What is it about play food that kids love?

Pattern making is fun with rainbow road.

Who needs 9?  At least they'll know their numbers through 8 with these nifty number puzzles.

Here's the picnic game as it was meant to be played.  Match the foods
to their corresponding picnic blankets.

And here they are- all the little kid games, puzzles, and activities tucked away in the cabinet under our read-aloud shelf.  When Louie has blanket time she gets to have a game or puzzle on her blanket with her.  Maybe we'll have to break every 30 minutes or so to change out the activity. 


  1. So I am down here in my schoolroom, still working! I plan to blog about my progress at some point!
    I am going to pull out 3 activities each day for read aloud time. These are for my 4.5 year old and 6.5 year old. They will also always have the option to draw or color, or just sit in my lap and be quiet.
    I am thinking about doing the history/geography read aloud followed by the map labeling and timeline work in the schoolroom (where all of the preschool activities are located), and then do the read aloud books after lunch when 4.5 year old is napping. However, I am really not sure how my days are going to flow until we actually begin!
    I think that Lu can handle 1.5 hours of reading time if you switch her activities say every 20 minutes. Could a snack be served during that time too? Food always makes them happy!
    Are you doing the history/geography and the read alouds during this 1.5 hour block?

  2. I think that sounds like a good plan, Roan.

    Yes, this 1.5 hr block is for all read-aloud except Bible, which is first thing in the morning. I tried splitting it up into two more equal read-aloud sessions last year, but found that we were hit or miss with the afternoon one. It's all those blasted activities!

    Roan, I'm absolutely not giving Louie a snack in my living room:)! But switching activities every 20 minutes is probably more realistic. For an hour and a half that would be 4+ activities. We may need to try a dry run this summer to see what works with Lu.

  3. My 11 yr old always draws while listening to any read alouds we might have for that day. It works out well. When she was younger I allowed her to play with legos, playdoh, etc.

  4. The only way we have ever been able to do long read alouds is in the afternoon when the littles are sleeping. I am too distracted and so are the kids. The older kids like to draw, chain (making chain maille jewelry), play with legos, even playdough and puzzles, as long as it is quiet. Reading in the afternoon is also our reward for making it through all the "work" of the morning.

    Hope this works out for you. I will be interested in how it goes for you!

  5. What a wonderful collection of so many fun education (and colorful) games and puzzles!



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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.