20 Best Tips
Teaching Textbooks

My 2019 Reading List

Each year I like to make a list of books that will not only be fun reading, but also focus on a few areas: personal growth, spiritual growth, family, and marriage. The bulk of my choices this year have come from either personal recommendations of friends or Good Reads finds when following others (I’m LOVING using the app to track my reading and see what friends are up to as well). 

Because non-fiction books are a little more difficult for me to get through (at times), I try to limit my “to read” pile to around twelve – and then feel wonderful if/when I finish more than that. It’s the little things that keep me motivated. 

Also – I know that inevitably more books will pop up over the year that I’ll want to grab and read as well. New books are published and I have a hard time waiting to read 

Fiction is never a problem. I read it quickly and typically fall asleep each night reading with my Kindle in hand. I am ever so thankful for the book light cover that shuts off when I fall asleep and often wake up still holding my Kindle hours later. 

I also happen to know that my eyes (and desire) are bigger than my actual time to read. But they still let me check out books from the library, and for that I am thankful. 

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to track my reading over the last few years has been via the GoodReads app.   Following friends, seeing what others are reading, and being able to quickly rate a book I’m reading – love that (because my memory isn’t what it used to be!). Join me there and let’s read along together!

All that said, here’s a peek at what books are in each of my piles for the upcoming year. 

My Main Reading Pile

 

Fiction Books & Series to Read


 

“If There’s Time” Pile


 

If you’re interested, here are my 10 favorite books I read last year (a mix of fiction and non-fiction). I’d love to hear what books you have on your shelf for the 2019 year and and recommendations for me to add to my list! 

Don’t forget to join me on Good Reads so we can keep up on each other’s reviews! 

What We’re Reading December 2018

I’ll admit that I’ve gotten a little distracted from my reading pile the last bit – ever since all the new Hallmark movies started airing. (cough) And this month with baking and getting ready for Christmas, it’s definitely easier to have a movie playing in the background than to sit down and read (and rest). 

The week of Christmas I’m hoping to have some time to just sit, put my feet up, and do NOTHING at all – other than read. 

Right now my 2018 Reading List is close to wrapping up, which I’m excited about! I’m also getting a bit distracted and have far too many Amazon tabs open as I am looking forward to my 2019 list and keeping it diverse (personal growth, family, marriage, and other learning). 

If you have any suggestions to add to my list for next year, I’d love to hear! 

Feed readers can click here to see my books for December

*all links are referral links


What the Kids are Reading


One of the best things happened this past month: Kaleb saw the newest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book at Costco, picked it up, immediately started reading it, and has been busy reading the rest of the series since then. Meanwhile, Zachary started reading one of the Harry Potter books and has been pulled into that series as well, reading well past his bedtime several nights now (WIN!). 

What I Read Last Month (and Quick Thoughts)

Overall I didn’t read too much last month (five books), managed to shelf a few (they just didn’t “click” with me and one was a little too much for me), but there was one that I did get to read and love. 

Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely by Holly Gerth (finishing up from October) – I’ll confess – when I started, it really took me about eight or nine chapters to get into the book. For a few weeks I had picked it up, read a chapter or two, and put it back down again. Then I picked it back up, flipped forward a few chapters, and decided to just get it over with. I later went back and read the chapters I skipped. Underlined and dog-eared pages. While it isn’t a sequential writing, per se, it’s written in short snippets with various life lessons focused on in each chapter. Gerth shares life stories and weaves in lessons of faith into each one, encouraging women to embrace who we are each created to be, as we already are. Hugely encouraging. (5/5 rating)

You can follow along with me via the Goodreads app where I share my reviews and additional thoughts. What have YOU been reading this month? 

 

Small Steps That Make You Cry

Over the years I’ve shared that our two boys have struggled a bit more with their reading. For me personally, as an avid reader, it’s been really hard to comprehend at times. Both of our girls jumped into reading at an early age and devoured books. 

But the boys – not so much. 

We read the same books together. Read aloud as a family. All the same “ingredients” as far as teaching goes, but both boys were just not as keen on it overall. 

Different learning styles. Different learning struggles. Instead of reading they prefer science and math. They excel in different areas. And sometimes waiting for them to “catch up” if you will can be hard for me to wait on as a mom – and especially as a homeschool mom. 

And then there’s the whole issue of wanting our kids to read all the books they are SUPPOSED to read – you know… the ones that everyone else’s kids read years ago, and yet my kid struggles to read. 

The biggest thing though – I want our kids to enjoy reading and find FUN in it. So last week when we were walking through Costco and our youngest saw the newest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book and wanted to get it – despite the fact he’s never read any of the other books in the series – we threw it in the cart. 

Before we had even left the store, he had already cracked open the book AND IGNORED ANY FOOD so he could read. Four chapters in one night – a huge milestone for him. 

You all. I cried in Costco. And yes. I took pictures to document as a reminder that sometimes these small steps (and what may seem like a normal moment to others) are the ones that can be the most meaningful – especially to a momma’s heart. 

 

What We’re Reading November 2018

 

Is there a book you’ve read recently that you couldn’t put down and have been telling everyone about? I’ve had a few this past month that I absolutely loved – please leave a comment below and let me know your suggestions too!

When I flipped the calendar page this past week and realized we are so very close to the end of the year, it makes me wonder where all the time has gone this year. In some ways I am amazed at how quickly the time seems to have gone, but then another part of me wonders how wisely I’ve spent all those hours. I suppose that is a never ending cycle, isn’t it? I know there is always more I can do, but it’s finding that balance that is tricky!

There are only a few key books remaining on my 2018 Reading List  and I’m not sure that I will finish them all, but I am definitely going to try hard! Our boys have a swim meet coming up this next weekend and I’ll be the parent on deck, so that means I will definitely have a book in hand while watching between heats. Meanwhile I’m already working on my 2019 list. :) 

Feed readers can click here to see my books for November

*all links are referral links

While I had hoped to finish Fiercehearted last monthI honestly came to a bit of a standstill on that one. It’s had great reviews, but somehow hasn’t quite clicked at this point. I’m going to give it another go though before I decide to put it aside permanently. 

What the Kids are Reading

The boys and I are still working through The House With a Clock in Its Walls by Bellairs. While it’s one that we should have finished rather easily, we had quite a few afternoons that involved company, LEGO League, or games, and that’s okay too. So we continue and add on a new book as we do finish it. 


What I Read Last Month (and Quick Thoughts)

I Want God: Forever Changed by the Revival of Your Soul by Lisa Whittle – This is one book that I’m still mulling over. It’s a fairly short/sweet book, but has left me with some questions and thoughts that our small group has been discussing, which I love. (5/5 rating)

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – This is one that I borrowed randomly from the library via Kindle because it was available and I wanted something to read. It ended up being a fairly interesting read, following the life of a girl who grew up in the foster system and learned about the meaning behind various flowers. (4/5 rating)

Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah – After reading The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah I didn’t think I’d find another book by her that I liked (I’ve read several others as well). This one started off a bit slower and took me a bit to get into, but once the story began unfolding, I LOVED it. Anything that ties in history and has me look at an era in a different light is one I really enjoy.  (5/5 rating)

Below are a few others read: 

You can follow along with me via the Goodreads app where I share my reviews and additional thoughts. What have YOU been reading this month? 

 

Writing About Books: Book Reports and Beyond (Limited Time Freebie)

WriteShop

Maybe your kids are all that into book reports. I get that, we’ve had some kids who do and some kids who whine until all eternity. Especially if you have kiddos who aren’t strong readers. Our boys have been anxious enough about reading, so when writing a report is added in, it makes it tough. 

That’s one reason I am SO excited about this limited time freebie from WriteShop. 

The Writing About Books: Book Reports and Beyond e-book offers loads of ideas that get kids talking and writing about the books they are reading, from the earliest picture books to high-school level novels. The various activities will invite them to do one or more of the following:

  • Show how well they understand what they have read
  • Describe parts of the book
  • Summarize the story by giving an overview of the book’s theme, plot, and/or main characters
  • Give an opinion

In addition, you’ll find printable reading logs for all ages, book-themed journal prompts, and other creative ideas to encourage children and teens to respond to literature. Sprinkle them into your weekly reading and writing lessons and watch students make more meaningful connections with the books they read.

What Is Included in Writing about Books?

Discussion Activities and Tips for Writing about Books

  • How to choose picture books—plus links to top book lists for children
  • How to use picture books with middle-grade students
  • How to teach young children to talk about books they have read
  • How to teach middle-graders to respond to literature 

37 Ideas for Creative Book Report Alternatives

Go beyond book reports by encouraging your kids to try alternatives to writing about books. Some activities incorporate crafts, drama, or games. Others stretch higher-level thinking skills as students imagine a new setting, keep a journal, map out a character’s journey, or think about plot twists. And many of these ideas can be adapted for different ages and interests, from pre-writers to teens.

There’s something for everyone, including:

  • The crafty kid
  • The list maker
  • The letter-writer
  • The imaginative student
  • The map-maker
  • The deep thinker
  • The student who loves technology

17 Printables for Writing about Books

  • Reading logs for K-high school, suitable for both fiction and nonfiction selections (can serve as book report alternatives)
  • Printable writing prompts about books and literature
  • Book discussion bookmarks
  • Elementary and teen pages for recording favorite book quotes and passages

Writing About Books is designed for grades K-10, they can be adapted for other ages. This freebie is a special gift for subscribers of the WriteShop site (and you’ll get other great tips and freebies along the way!). Be sure to subscribe to get your free copy. Future purchase will be $3.50. 

Helpful Guide for Choosing Homeschool Literature for K-12

At a homeschool convention a few years ago, I sat in on several sessions by Adam Andrews from Center for Lit. After pouring for quite some time over their resources, one of the books that made it into my bag was Reading Roadmaps: a Literary Scope & Sequence for K-12.  Since that day, there are multiple dog-eared pages in the book and it has become one of my favorite helps for choosing books for our children.

Reading Roadmaps literature suggestions for homeschool

When I shared a post on Instagram about this book and immediately received several emails from readers asking to know more about the book (and why I liked it). So – here goes! For those of you wanting a peek inside the book, watch the video clip below.

feed subscribers can view the video here

Reading Roadmaps contains and entire year’s literature suggestions for each grade level from K-12. The lists are sequential (so they build in difficulty) and multiple models are provided. You can choose a weekly, monthly, six week, quarterly, or seasonal model which will vary the reading and study time.

Each book title recommended includes the following: plot summary, conflict, story themes, stylistic devices used (alliteration, rhyming, etc…), additional resources if available, and an alternate story suggestion. The last few chapters of the guide offer a variety of literature teaching helps: assigning and grading essays, grade level objectives, grading and credits, and time periods in the history of literature.

Overall, this has been a great ‘go-to’ resource for me and is how I am building each of our children’s literature lists for the year and one that is kept handy and within reach.

Reading Lists for Our Children

Interested in seeing reading lists for our children this past year? Check out some of our past reading choices by clicking on the images below.

 

4th grade homeschool reading list 6th grade homeschool reading list 9th grade reading list