WriteShop Homeschool Writing Curriculum

Hello, Read Aloud. It’s Been Too Long!

Lately it seems as all we do is go, go, go. Between carting the kids to swim practice and now adding in Scouts for Zachary, there is little time in the evening to sit, put our feet up, and read together. Winter especially seems like the perfect opportunity.

Somehow (in my head – where many misconceptions reside) evenings seem like the perfect time, even though there are twenty-four hours in a day and reading can happen at any point during that timeframe. (I tell ya – sometimes I just get a little stuck in my head).

We’ve had audiobooks galore accompanying us in the van, but the kids are just plain burned out and getting p.i.c.k.y. on what they like or how the book is read. Apparently they prefer the way I read (I suppose I shouldn’t complain, right?). Needless to say, we’re switching around our day a bit so we can enjoy read alouds together – the way we love to.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Tonight, with the weather cold, a pot of tea brewed, and a fire burning, we cracked open a NEW book and have been instantly taken back to 1899 and pulled into the world of Calpurnia Tate, an eleven-year-old girl living in Texas. We may be a bit into the book The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (aff link), but the kids are engaged and enjoying the descriptive writing style and phrasing, laughing as we go.

Here’s a quick look at what the book is about:

Calpurnia Virginia Tate is eleven years old in 1899 when she wonders why the yellow grasshoppers in her Texas backyard are so much bigger than the green ones. With a little help from her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist, she figures out that the green grasshoppers are easier to see against the yellow grass, so they are eaten before they can get any larger. As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.

Age range: 9-12

Parent note: the book does talk about the theory of evolution. As a family, we learned about Charles Darwin and The Origin of the Species last year, so as we are reading through this story, we are talking and comparing our thoughts/beliefs to what is in the book. (Just wanted to let you all know.)


I’ll keep you posted on our thoughts as we continue reading together. What books are you currently reading as a family?

Our Third Grade Homeschool Reading List

3rd grade homeschool reading list from Homeschool Creations - book choices and read alouds for a reluctant reader

While I managed to put together a reading list for our 5th grader, 7th grader, and 9th grader, I somehow forgot to share our 3rd grade homeschool reading list! I’ll admit there is a part of me that has been hesitant because our 3rd grade boy is very much a hesitant and struggling reader. His older brother was very similar at this age – and truthfully it’s tough.

When you have other children that picked up on rules and fluency with little effort, it’s hard not to compare progress and wonder if you are doing something wrong. When other moms are sharing the amazing progress (and seemingly novel-sized book) their similarly aged or younger children are reading, it’s difficult not to worry that you are missing something.

I mentioned our oldest son (now 11) struggled as well, but last year something ‘clicked’ in his brain and he has been devouring books ever since. Part of it centered on finding books that he truly enjoyed, but once he started – well, now we have to beg him to turn the light off on many nights! Having that in the more recent future has definitely given me hope and a lot more patience in working with Kaleb as I try to remember each child is different and learns at his own pace.

(Can I get an amen?)

With that said, here are the key programs and books that we have been using this year. I’ve listed them out and tried to explain best how we are using them throughout the year, so feel free to ask any questions in the comments!

The ‘Core’ Homeschool Reading Program

3rd grade homeschool reading list choices from Homeschool Creations-2

Our kids love All About Reading and All About Spelling, and although it can be a little more intense for him some days, we are using the last 1/3 of All About Reading 2 as review for Kaleb. When he is ready, we will move into All About Reading Level 3.

The one thing that I love most (and our boys need) is the multisensory approach that All About Reading offers. You can read a bit more about why we love it so much here. We work through one lesson each week (usually Monday and Wednesday), as well as review word cards each day to work on fluency and recognition of phonograms we have learned in past lessons.

Each level includes two readers and about every other lesson has a short story to tie in with the lesson and fluency charts. Sticker dots have also helped our reading time tremendously!  Read more about that here.

Additional Readers

3rd grade homeschool reading list choices from Homeschool Creations-3

Before we started school I put together some various readers for Kaleb with the intention of building his confidence and reading speed, and in September we added the Life of Fred beginning readers set thanks to a great deal from Educents. The independent readers on our shelves are typically ones we use twice a week (Tuesday and Thursday) unless Kaleb really wants to read them another day as well. In that case, we READ!!

The Life of Fred readers have been AMAZING for Kaleb. While they don’t follow a phonics program, they have induced more giggles (and attention from the older kids as well) in the few months they have been in our house. Kaleb prefers to read these over and over again, building his reading fluency and speed as he goes through them – and I LOVE that. You can learn more here.

Other independent readers on our list:

Read Aloud Together

3rd grade homeschool reading list choices from Homeschool Creations-4

After going through Reading Roadmaps: a Literary Scope & Sequence for K-12, I picked out six books to read aloud with just Kaleb throughout the year. While the other books on our list focus on what he can read independently, these are books that we’re reading together.

When reading these books we are talking more about the plot/summary, story themes, different stylistic devices used in the stories (alliteration, rhyming, etc…) and getting a bigger picture of literature as a whole. I have found Reading Roadmaps to have some wonderful suggestions by grade level (you can get a peek inside here).

What’s in YOUR child’s reading pile this year?


Have You Tried Buddy Reading?

If you have a child that is a reluctant reader as well, one thing working well for us this year is something called buddy reading. When Kaleb is feeling overwhelmed or needs a little help, we take turns reading pages in the book – and then the next day switch to read alternate pages. Check out this post for more information on how it can help out (be sure to read through the comments as well – there are some additional great tips to try with your kids!).

Homeschool Reading Lists for our Other Children

Interested in seeing reading lists for our other kids as well? Check out our reading choices for this and past years by clicking on the links below.

Polar Bear Pack – Limited Time Freebie!

Polar Bear Reading and Spelling Pack

Just in time for some winter fun, All About Learning Press is offering a limited time freebie for reading and spelling practice – the Polar Bear Pack! This full-color pack contains 30 printable pages of delightful reading and spelling activities that are positively popping with polar bears. Included in the pack you will find:

  • Polar Bear ABCs – practice letter knowledge, handwriting, and letter sounds with some help from these cheerful polar bears! Perfect for preschoolers!
  • Rhyming Polar Bears – Match up the pairs of rhyming polar bears and build important reading skills.
  • Polar Bear Word Searches – Word search puzzles are a great way to practice reading and spelling skills, as well as a great way for children to have fun with words. Great for all ages!
  • Arctic Animal Fun Facts – Polar bears live in the far north, but many other birds and animals live in the Arctic region as well. Explore sixteen different Arctic inhabitants in this fun fact booklet.
  • Polar Bear Breakfast – A fun polar bear breakfast treat to enjoy on a wintry morning.
  • Polar Bear Library List – A list of books you need to check out at your local library!

All of the activities included in the Polar Bear Pack correlate with All About Reading and All About Spelling and will give you a fun peek into the quality of their products. If you aren’t using either of those programs, don’t worry – they will easily go along with any curriculum you are using and will be a fun addition.

free polar bear printable pack

Grab the FREE Polar Bear Pack HERE!

      See Why We LOVE All About Learning Press!

    Curious about All About Reading and All About Spelling? Our family has been using both programs for years and we highly recommend them. Get a peek into some of their different programs and how they’ve worked with our children in the following posts:

    Audiobooks We’re Enjoying – Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

    When you all are driving around town and have a van full of kids, does silence seem to disappear? Our kids are rather boisterous (I’ll admit it), and we have two kiddos that tend to find every little reason to pick at each other. It can drive one crazy. Audiobooks have become a great way for us to all relax and enjoy something together, especially since we’ve been in the car a lot lately with swim meets and nightly practices.

    In the next few weeks I’m hoping to share a list of our favorite book series, but in the meantime, there is a new set of books that we are getting hooked on. When I say hooked – I mean, absolute golden silence abounds as everyone in the vehicle listens to catch every single word from the narrator. Blessed moments. For the record, I won’t take phone calls, and I’m as equally enthralled when we really get into a book and the CD player is running. It’s a family venture, these audiobooks!

    While I love reading out loud with the kids (and we do that together too), in the last bit audiobooks have been a huge blessing with late night practices (no time for read-alouds once the kids get home) and quick turn around times to be out the door for things. Part of me misses the cuddles on the couch and the opportunity to read together in the traditional sense, but for the stage of life we are currently in, I love that I can listen and enjoy it as well, and we’re getting other things done too.

    Found - The Missing series by Margaret Haddix

    A few weeks ago we picked up Found (aff link), the first book in The Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix (aff link).  Our oldest read the first book several years ago and it was one she wanted to continue with, so we borrowed the audiobook from the library.

    The Quick Summary:

    One night a plane appeared out of nowhere, the only passengers aboard: thirty-six babies. As soon as they were taken off the plane, it vanished. Now, thirteen years later, two of those children are receiving sinister messages, and they begin to investigate their past. Their quest to discover where they really came from leads them to a conspiracy that reaches from the far past to the distant future—and will take them hurtling through time. (via Amazon description)

    Recommended grades: 4-8

    What We’re Loving

    The kids have enjoyed the twist of future/past time travel and the different ideas presented in Found (aff link), along with the plot twists and mystery that surrounds the children on the plane. It is full of suspense, trying to decide who can be trusted and figuring out exactly what is happening. The end of the book left the kids hanging – literally – in time.

    While the first book is set in modern time and begins to explain the time travel possibility and a peek into who the children really are, the second book begins in the 15th century, and future books involve different time eras as well. I’m interested to hear how historical figures and such are handled, especially when some different names were mentioned and the kids are trying to ‘fix’ some of the problems created by several people that messed with time.

    There are a total of eight books in The Missing (aff link) series, but we are obviously enjoying these so far. While Kaleb (almost 9) needs a few things explained to him and doesn’t always grasp all the time travel explanations, he is still enjoying them as well. Have you listened to them or read The Missing series? I’d love to hear your thoughts too!

    What are YOU reading or listening together right now?


    Books We’ve Previously Read (or Listened to) Together

    Here are a few other books & series that we’ve read together and blogged about. Click over to see our thoughts on them!

    Audiobooks for Families to enjoy

    Our 5th Grade Homeschool Reading List

    5th grade homeschool reading list - book choices for the year from Homeschool Creations

    Last year was HUGE for us in the area of reading with Zachary. For years the boy had struggled with his confidence in reading, and he finally started picking up books independently and finished his first book – cover to cover. Yes, he was in the 4th grade, so I’m sure you can understand my overwhelming joy (and tears) that went along with that!

    On a complete sidenote, if any of you all have kids that struggle with reading, can I encourage you? Hang in there! Rather than go the route of reading regular chapter books, he was more interested in historical periods and biographies. And Diary of a Wimpy Kid – while they are silly and really non-sensical, he laughed and learned to love the written word, reading them over and over again. They wouldn’t have been my choice of literature for him, but they were fun. We also knew there weren’t any underlying issues (dyslexia, etc…) and being patient was hard, but he has been reading so much since then, which just brings me such joy!

    Zachary’s list is built in part from suggestions from  Reading Roadmaps. If you haven’t picked up a copy of it, I highly recommend it to help build quality literature lists for your children.

    Our 5th Grade Homeschool Reading List

    5th grade homeschool reading list

    You may be scratching your head at a few of the books (The Bee Tree and Elbert’s Bad Word) and wondering why in the world they would be on our 5th grader’s reading list. In a few weeks we are going to switch up how we ‘read’ our books a little bit and get into more discussion time about what is happening in the story: rising action, crisis, falling action, etc… In order to teach that, we’re going to use some shorter books to map together and then focus on the bigger reading pile.

    For each of the books, Zachary is also filling out a book report form. The above list doesn’t include his ‘fun’ reading – these are just books that we’re focusing on for our homeschool time. Currently he is reading The Lightning Thief and also the first book in the Gregor the Overlander series (one of of favorite series!!).

    Homeschool Reading Lists for our Other Children (and Years Past)

    Interested in seeing reading lists for our other kids as well? Check out our reading choices for this and past years by clicking on the links below. Stay tuned for our 3rd and 5th grade reading choices!

    What books are on your child’s reading list for this year?

    5th grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations Take a peek at our 5th grade homeschool curriculum choices as well and see what we’re up to this year!