Reading. It can be one of those make-or-break homeschool subjects. So many homeschool families feel frustrated with the strategy of teaching reading and the specifics of actually choosing the right books for kids to read.
How do you know if it’s the right level? What if the book isn’t hard enough? Are there books that every kid should read?
What if the book we pick is morally or theologically inappropriate?
Can you relate? I sure can. I’ve got a master’s degree in education and I STILL found myself asking some of these questions when I began homeschooling. I was particularly concerned about finding books that I could trust!
The truth is, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all reading solution. Every child will have different needs, strengths, and interests. There are a LOT of choices for helping us get there.
But before we get to our free printable homeschool booklist chock-full of our favorite Christian books for kids, I’d love to help answer some of those difficult reading questions.
How do you pick the right level books from the homeschool booklist?
Choosing the right level for your books is important, but it’s not going to make or break your curriculum. So don’t fret on this one.
When your kids are first learning to read, having books on a manageable level is important so they don’t feel frustrated. After that, it’s really not that big of a deal.
Besides, we want about 75% of our child’s reading to be practice–that is, words they already know and feel comfortable with. This is the best way to build fluency and comprehension. So, books that are a little too easy are a good thing, not a bad thing like you might expect.
If you are really stuck and don’t know where to start with your kids who are LEARNING to read, this book is a great resource. Becky is also a former teacher who now homeschools her kids. (Plus, she has an entire website dedicated to teaching kids how to read!)
Personally, I love a good booklist! I tend to look over the lists others have created and let my kids choose something they would enjoy from that list. (If you can’t wait, jump to the bottom of this post and check out our free printable homeschool booklist. It’s chock-full of great Christian books for kids by age level.
I also really love leveled readers, as they take out all the guesswork. Just remember, no child fits in a box, so always look through the book to make sure it’s a good fit.
Is it really ok to let my child choose what they want to read?
It’s more than ok to give your kids a good quality homeschool booklist and let them decide. In fact, I believe it’s the key to growing readers who absolutely love being educated. God did not create us all to be the same, so why are we boxing kids in? Trust me, give them the license to read what they enjoy and they will read far more.
My oldest is an avid reader. When I say avid I mean she literally will go to the library and get 7-10 novels and finish them all in a week. She stays up all night reading, reads while walking in the grocery store, and would rather read a book than do just about anything else.
I firmly believe she got to this point because I allowed her to read freely. More specifically, I allowed her to read as many horse books as she wanted. Yes, I was a little concerned that she was only reading fiction stories of girls who loved their horses. So instead of making her read a book about the Civil War, I went out and found a horse book that also covered the Civil War. I found nonfiction books about horses, too. Because I was sensitive to what she enjoys, it was easy to get a wide variety of books even on a narrow topic like horses.
And now? First, you should know that she reads a variety of literature, from missionary biographies to old English favorites. She is graduating from high school a year early and sailed through the reading portions of the ACT.
Those horse books didn’t hurt her. They served as a catalyst for learning and education. They created in her a love of reading!
When should my child start reading chapter books?
This question always gets feathers ruffled. I really don’t know why, but parents get all kinds of offended if you tell them their child is not ready for chapter books. I went through this multiple times every single school year when I taught first grade.
The short answer: Don’t rush a good thing. There are too many books out there to enjoy.
Often, once you start chapter books, kids never go back. Don’t rob them of the beautifully complex plots and award-winning pictures that can be found in those beloved picture books.
And yes, I think every first grader is too young. Not because the level is too hard for all of them; it’s not always. But the content is generally not appropriate and they miss thousands of wonderful books by rushing it all. You can read more about this here.
Homeschool Booklist By Grade Level
Now that we’ve gotten the questions out of the way, it’s time for the good stuff.
There are a LOT of great booklists out there, so we aimed to do something a little different. This homeschool booklist is 100% comprised of Christian books for kids!
Sometimes, those books with excellent morals are much harder to find at the local library. They don’t always show up on lists and we often miss the opportunity to share these treasures with our kids.
So we created a huge list of all our favorite must-read books for character growth, apologetics, and anything that will help kids GROW in faith!
To get your FREE printable homeschool booklist, click on the image below.
Is your favorite Christian book for kids on our homeschool booklist? If not, drop it in the comments! We’d love to hear your ideas, too.