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Don’t interrupt the flow of the reading.

Heart of Dakota Teaching Tip - Don't interrupt the flow of the reading
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Teaching Tip:

What is a “living book”?

Heart of Dakota’s curriculum is full of living books. Each living book is typically written by a single author who is very passionate about his/her topic. These books stand out for their conversational, narrative style and their ability to make almost any subject come to life. Living books are read in smaller segments slowly over time to allow your students to “live” with the books.

As you read aloud a living book, don’t pause during the reading to explain or question.

In a Charlotte Mason style living book reading, it is important not to stop and explain or question during the reading. You may be tempted to define difficult words, explain what is happening, or question your child to be sure he/she is understanding. While you may think you’re helping your child comprehend better by doing these things, you really aren’t!

Interrupting the flow of the reading makes it more difficult for the child to comprehend and make connections.

Charlotte Mason says that stopping during a reading to explain or question actually interrupts the flow of the reading. This makes it more difficult for the child to comprehend and make his/her own connections. So, whenever you feel the urge to pause during the reading to “help” your child, resist the urge and read on!

Reading without interruption, helps develop the habit of attention.

As your child learns to attend to a single reading, your child will be developing the habit of attention. This is a much needed habit to cultivate and isn’t one that occurs naturally in all kiddos. Try making a point not to interrupt the reading and see if your child eventually begins to attend better. I know I have been pleasantly surprised with my own boys when I tried this essential step when reading aloud!


This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Renee

    Thank you for sharing this! I am guilty of interrupting during reading to explain or define a word I assume my children might not know. I will definitely stop interrupting our readings and keep the flow going! However, my children are big interrupters during readings, as well. Is this something I should discourage or is it okay when they’re the ones talking? Often it is something from the story that reminds them of something else, or perhaps a question about the story, but there are times when their comment has nothing to do with the reading.

    1. This is a good question! Charlotte Mason would say save comments and questions until later. Interrupting the flow of the story takes away from the storytelling style of the author, from making real connections that are memorable, and from comprehending the story more fully. Oral narration or written narration should be the first response to the reading, if they are assigned as a follow-up. Ironically, I just saw an example of this during lunch today! My oldest son was telling a story. He started, and someone interrupted to ask something about the soup I made. My oldest son tried continuing on with the story, but the doorbell rang with a package being delivered. Once again he tried going on with the story, but another person interrupted to ask if the story was related to another story, etc. Oh my goodness! I was exhausted trying to follow the story! I finally asked Wyatt to start his story over, and I then asked everyone to listen without interrupting and to save their comments and questions until the end. We all understood it much better then!!!

      1. Renee

        Thank you so much! That helps a lot! I will try that next time.

        1. You are welcome – glad to have helped! Have a wonderful week homeschooling with HOD!

  2. Robin

    What about stopping at the end of a chapter fir oral narration from a 7 year old? I found she narrates best one chapter at a time.

    1. Hi Robin! Carrie has planned for children who are 7 years old to narrate on a minimum of pages, usually a chapter or less. The progression for oral narrations starts in Little Hearts for His Glory in response to Storytime read-alouds. About a chapter is read each day, and each reading is usually just a handful of pages or less.

      In Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory, oral narrations are given in response to the Storytime genre-based read-alouds. The plans note to spend 20 days reading each book, except for Folk Tales, which are shorter and spread out over 10 days of reading. With the exception of just a few books, the books have 20 chapters or less, resulting in only a chapter (or less) being read each day.

      Finally, in Bigger Hearts for His Glory, oral narrations continue being given in response to Storytime read-alouds with the same pacing of 20 days with books that have about 20 chapters or less. Science and history oral narrations are added, but only in response to usually a handful of pages or less. So, by following the plans in the guides your little one will only be narrating on a chapter or less, give or take a few times for the books that have 22 or 23 chapters. Hope this helps!

      In Christ,

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