It is by far my favorite part of the day. The R's are done and checked off and now it's time to settle in. Everyone finds a spot, either next to me or around the floor and with projects selected. As I read, another world opens up before my children and I as we enter in and "live" with the characters in the story from long ago. Almost everyday I hear.... "ahhh do we have to stop now" or " please, please, please just a little bit more" very seldom if ever is it "can we stop now". That says 2 things one the book is a good one and the story is alive in their minds.
Back when I first started reading aloud to the kids I found it hard and awkward. I wasn't following along with what I was reading so I assumed they weren't either. I'm so thankful I didn't give up. I also checked out a lot of the stories on tape. Listening to someone else read aloud helped me to develop my skill. In time I have found it gets easier. I guess starting with Winne The Pooh didn't help me either.
At the begining of the year I select a time in history and then we work our way through it finding and reading great books. There are so many wonderful lists out there. While the kids were little (under 3rd grade) I primary focused on American History. I have a wonderful little book called TURNING BACK THE PAGES OF TIME by Kathy Keller. It list books by time period and breaks them down into grade levels. Before they can read they can listen to stories read above their grade level then once they can read I always had them reading below so they build good reading self-esteem. Beautiful Feet has great book lists too. Last year Kelsey was in 5th and Jake was in 3rd and we started Ancient History. We started in creation (being christian this is import to us) Ruth Beechick had a great book we loved reading through GENSIS - Finding our Roots. Then we moved into Egypt, Greece, Rome and we are now getting ready for Medieval time. For our lists I use a book list I got at a seminar by Carol Joy Seid. I love her. Usually my oldest likes to make costumes while we read. Then at the end of the section/unit/book we take a photo either as characters from the book or from the time period. So much fun. I don't worry about them knowing specific dates, or special "History" data that would be found in a text book. I'm really just hoping for them to grasp what is was like during that time period and how people lived then, some names are good. It's building a skeleton or foundation. When they are in junior high and high school that's when we'll building on that foundation and gain the "History" facts found in textbooks but they have something to hang that information on to now that we "Lived" in that time.