Teaching Textbooks

What I’m Reading (and the Kids Too)

I know – you are probably thinking, “that looks like a real page turner!” While cookbooks aren’t typically on my reading stack, I have a few that I am reading through to see if there are tweaks and changes we can make to Laurianna’s diet (and ours) to help her out. The last few months have seen a bit of a learning curve, and the words “quick and easy” may have caught my eye. A friend let me borrow her book, and it is laid out much the way my brain thinks, so it moved right on up to the top of my pile. 

Reading glasses though. This past month I finally had to admit that my almost 44 year old eyes needed a little assistance, especially in the early morning or late night. My hubby is having a grand time with this fact (mainly because I have given him much grief over the years about his own – so I’m getting it honestly). :) 

Some of my books that were on my February pile made the shift to March, but for the most part I am making progress on my 2017 reading list (and again loving the Good Reads app to help me track my progress. Feel free to join me there! 

March will have me traveling quite a bit, so hopefully between airports and downtime I’ll have some time to knock out both fiction and non-fiction that is amassing on my Kindle and nightstand. Here’s what I’m hoping to read this month. I know the pile looks huge, but several I’ve already started and am a few chapters in (and honestly I have a little of everything depending on my mood).

The Kids are Reading…

What I Read in February

February was the month I FINALLY wrapped up a book that has been on my pile for what seems like forever. Fervent has been one I’ve picked up, read and contemplated, and then needed to process a bit more than others. It isn’t exactly light and easy reading, but that’s a good thing. Honestly, much of what I read this month, was exactly what I needed, right when I needed it – and that’s a wonderful thing. 

That’s all for this month! I’ll share what I’ve managed to finish next month with you all. What books do you and the kids have set aside to read this month? 

What I’m Reading (and the Kids Too)

I had been hoping to read more last month with my mom having surgery (and spending several days in the hospital with her), but honestly, reading was really hard to focus on and I ended up binge watching a show on Amazon in the wee hours of the morning between resetting all the crazy alarms that continued to go off during the night. Reading normally is something relaxing for me, but I needed something that required absolutely zero effort on my part other than pushing the play button. Shallow, but true. 

This month though, I really do want to get a few books knocked off my stack and have some picked to hopefully fly through, while several (including Ferventare part-way done and I need some focused time to concentrate and absorb the content since they are a little ‘heavier’ in nature. 

The Kids are Reading…

What I Read in January…

Years ago I read the 5 Love Language of Children book and the bulk of our kids were so little it was hard to really put them in a specific area. This time it really was much more fun to read and have the kids take the quiz as well. I’m planning to also read the teen version of the book. 

As far as fiction reading, What She Knew was a very interesting read, and although there were some parts I skipped in Seven Sistersthe overall plot really pulled me in. I am definitely enjoying the Uncommon Heroes series from Dee Henderson as well. They’ve been on my shelf for years and I’m finally pulling them down to read! 

That’s it for this month! What are you reading for yourself or together with the kids? Leave a comment and share. :)

Six Tips for Reading Aloud with Kids

The past few months have been so crazy during the evening hours, that reading aloud together kind of fell by the wayside. During the day we are still having our daily rest time (most days), but when it comes time to sit down together with the kids, we have been running in a million different directions with swim practices and other commitments, so it was put aside. 

And I really truly hate that. Because reading is a HUGE love of mine and I want to make sure our kids have that same love instilled in them – especially our boys. 

We had pulled out The Green Ember by S.D. Smith to read last year…and somehow were sidetracked, but it resurfaced again and we are reading through it now. Each afternoon we’ve set aside a time to pull out our book, we settle down with a cup of hot chocolate or steamed milk, and continue our read aloud adventure. I tried using the audio book (the kids don’t like it because they like the way I read it better – yay, but oh boy for my voice!). I’ll admit that we are having a bit of a hard time getting into it, despite it’s already bent cover and worn look, but it’s one I personally want read because it has come so highly recommended. 

Read Aloud Tips

Maybe your family is having a hard time settling down for a read aloud time? If so, maybe one or more of the below tips will help your family out {especially little ones}.

  1. Let kids do something with their hands. We frequently have crayons and paper handy for drawing or Legos for the kids to build with. Having something to do with their hands helps the attention span – trust me!
  2. Be silly and spice your reading up. Kick that monotone voice to the curb and sprinkle in some fun voices and accents. Read in a hushed voice during parts that are building in intensity. Have fun and enjoy the book along with your kids!
  3. Mix fun in with the serious. While I can’t wait to delve into some of the classics with the kids {and we’ll hit on a few different books during our school time this year}, fun reading is good too! Our family has been wrapped up in several different series that were full of adventure and fun. Not classic literature, but it was still so much fun to read together!
  4. Set a timer. Occasionally we have a kiddo that really doesn’t want to sit down for a story. Setting a timer for 10 or 15 minutes makes it seem do-able and most of the time everyone gets so involved in the book that they want to keep reading!
  5. Set aside a specific time of day to read together. Kids know when to expect the time that you’ll be reading and it will become a part of your daily routine. Whether it be a meal time, bed time, or another time during the day, block off that time to be together!
  6. Talk about the book together! When you come to the end of a chapter (or a suspenseful part of the book), ask your children what they think will happen next. Explain parts of the story that they may not understand (i.e. words or phrases).

What is your best tip for making reading out loud something fun? Leave a comment and chime in with your tips today!


Books We’ve Previously Read Together

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

Audiobooks for Families to enjoy


Brown Bear, Brown Bear Vocabulary Cards – Free Printables

Brown Bear Brown Bear Vocabulary Cards

Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr. is such a classic children’s book, and with my nieces and nephew working on books together with their mom, I put together these Brown Bear, Brown Bear Word Cards for them to use in the upcoming weeks – and thought you all might enjoy them as well!

 Brown Bear Brown Bear vocabulary word cards for Read Build Write Mats from Homeschool Creations

There are three different pages of word cards – a total of 35 vocabulary words in all for Brown Bear, Brown Bear. Words include: bear, sheep, bird, dog, frog, horse, duck, fish, cat, teacher, students, as well as color cards. 

You will need TWO downloads (both free!!) to use the word cards – both the word cards and the Read! Build! Write! Mats.

All downloads are in the green columns on the Read! Build! Write! page

The Read! Build! Write! Vocabulary Mats

Not familiar with the Read! Build! Write! mats? Basically, they are a fun way to work with your child on word identification and spelling.

Read, Build, Write collage

Here’s how the mats are used:

Read: Place one of the vocabulary cards in the top box and read the word together.

Build: Use letter tiles or magnets to build the word in the second box.

Write: Finally, practice writing the word in the bottom box.

Print the mats onto cardstock and then laminate them so that you can use Vis-à-vis markers or dry erase markers on the mats.

Read, Build, Write collage 2

Check out the Read! Build! Write! page to find additional themed vocabulary cards to go along with all of the Early Learning Printable Packs that I’ve put together so far.

All downloads are in the green columns on the Read! Build! Write! page



Hope these help you all out! Feel free to ‘pin’ the printables and share them with others! If there are some other vocabulary cards that you would like to see me put together, leave a comment and let me know!


Reading List for 6th Grade

 6th grade reading list - assigned literature for the school year

This year Zachary and I will be sitting down together quite a bit to review his reading and I am very much looking forward to that! In years past with our girls, we typically wait until we are finished with the book, but this boy requires a little more…umm…hands-on to make sure he is staying on target with his reading. Much of the time together will be spent talking about the various books and discussing the story lines in-depth.

In addition to his assigned reading list, we are trying to push him outside his comfort zone a little and have him choose a book he wants to read for fun. While our girls were both voracious readers and this wasn’t hard with them, it has been more of a struggle with him. That’s not to say he isn’t getting there, but there are so many other exciting things in the life of a sixth grade boy.

A Peek at the Assigned Reading List

6th reading list 2016

Several of the books on this list are based on the Ready Readers 2 guide that we are using this year for literature and reading, or the alternate suggestions. A few of the books also tie in with the historical period we are studying as well. During the week we are using Ready Readers to look at our current book and take a comprehensive look at the conflict, plot, setting, characters, theme, literary devices and author of the stories. The guide provides us with a fabulous set of questions (and answers) to get us started – and it has already been great! 

Additional Reading

Along with the above books, I’ve pulled together some additional books using the  Reading Roadmaps guide (also put out by Center for Lit). Overall, I’m really appreciating the book suggestions it offers for grades K – 12. Although it doesn’t offer the same in-depth questions and comprehension as Ready Readers 2, it does provide some basic information for discussion (theme, plot, and conflict) for all of the recommended stories.

We’ll be filling out a book report form, story chart, or creating a simple literature summary for the below books (including plot, characters, setting, theme/conflict, and one literary device used in the story). Overall, the goal to have Zachary learn more about various aspects of literature and assuring that he has a firm grasp on key literature terms, literary devices, and knows how to look for those things in his reading.

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


Additional Reading Lists

American Literature high school reading list 2016_edited-1

8th reading list 2016

Our 8th Grade Reading List

8th grade reading list 2016 

While McKenna is excited to start earning a few high school credits, she is also a little nervous because one of her credits focuses on literature this year. She enjoys reading, but the different types of papers she will be writing this year scare her a little bit. Many of the books on this list are similar to ones we have used in years past with Laurianna because they go along with the guide Introduction to Literature by Janice Campbell. McKenna will be reading one book a month for our literature class and writing three papers based on each book or short story. For writing reference, she will be using the book Excellence in Literature – Handbook for Writers. If you’d like to take a look at all of our 8th grade homeschool curriculum picks, you can do so here

We have added in a few additional books for her to read since they go along with the era of history we are studying (American History), and there are a few we’d like her to read before seeing some movies! Her typical pace is one book per month for the literature class, with three papers/essays assigned per book.

For the additional books she and I will have a discussion together, but otherwise, no special papers. The below books also do not include any book choices she makes during the year or read-alouds/audiobooks we work through together as a family. 

Our 8th Grade Reading List:

Many of the books also have a video version, so we’re hoping to watch them together (after we read the books, of course) and compare the book to the movie version. It’ll be a little something fun we can do with our co-op friends. Here are a few in our queue: 

A Few Extras on the List for 8th Grade:

8th reading list 2016

To go along with our American History learning, we’ve added in a few biography books for her to read as well as a few classic literature books. 

Overall not a huge list for the year, but several of the books are fairly hefty and will involve a lot of essay writing and discussion, so definitely enough to keep her busy for the year!

What books are in your kid’s reading stack for this year?

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 year by clicking on the images below. Stay tuned for our 4th and 6th grade reading choices!

American Literature high school reading list 2016_edited-1

Homeschool Reading Lists for our Other Children

Check out our reading choices for this and past years by clicking on the links below. Stay tuned for our 4th and 6th grade reading choices for this year too!