We’ve all had those days. Dragging ourselves out of bed on too little sleep, only to find spit up on the floor, lukewarm coffee, and a laundry pile that has transformed into Mount Everest overnight. Oh, this is the glamorous life of a homeschool mom!
This was my morning.
Do you want to know what saved me? The servant heart of my six year old daughter. She sat down and started reading aloud to the younger kids. “Mom, I’ll read this morning,” she said.
Folks, I ugly cried right there in my kitchen. My daughter is not big on reading aloud. When given the chance, she’d much rather listen to an audio book or have one of us read to her. That crummy morning, she did much more than just read a book. She served her family. She knew the calm and comfort reading aloud can offer. She knew because thanks to Sonlight she's growing up on a steady diet of character building Read-Alouds and a heart for the world.
This day marked a change in our homeschool routine. No longer is reading aloud seen as just a chore or one more thing to mark off a homeschool to do list. Reading aloud is powerful—so powerful that it can be used in places beyond our homeschools. Reading aloud can be a service in our homes, in our churches, and in our community.
Here are a few places where the gift of reading aloud can be of service to others.
1. Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities
Consider calling your local elderly care facility and offering to read aloud to some of the seniors. There are many studies showing the advantages of interactions between the young and the elderly. Perhaps you could adopt an individual who doesn’t get many visitors or who is without family. A weekly or even monthly appointment to read together may become a highlight for everyone. Staff can often point you in the right direction.
2. Day Cares, Elementary Schools, and Afterschool Programs
Preschools and daycare programs are often looking for volunteers to read to the children. Having another child who is slightly older come in and read can be inspiring and fun.
Look for opportunities to read aloud at local hospital and rehabilitation facilities. Children’s hospitals are often looking for volunteers to read aloud to the kids. The stories can help distract from pain and discomfort and give patients an enjoyable experience during a difficult time. Some neonatal intensive care units will permit older children to read aloud to babies since voice and touch are both comforting.
4. Animal Shelters
Getting adopted can be challenging for animals that are shy or overcoming adverse events. Positive exposure to children helps smooth this difficulty and increases chances that a pet gets adopted. A chance to listen to a human voice, while being calmly petted is soothing to both dogs and cats.
5. Mother’s Helper
Think for a minute about a mom of young children who seems overwhelmed and tired. Gift her with a few minutes of peace by offering her a read aloud playdate. Is the overwhelmed mom you? Ask your child to read to his or her siblings when you need a break.
6. Church Opportunities
If your church or parish has a children’s service, encourage your child to volunteer for a speaking role. Look for opportunities to read or participate in choir. One of our local parishes has a kid’s book club, where they share moral stories once a month and have children volunteers read the books to the younger kids.
7. Library Events
In addition to librarian led storytimes, many libraries offer summer programs or after school events that accept volunteers. Some smaller or more rural libraries, like ours, may be open to families sponsoring read aloud events or themed storytimes.
8. Audio Books Recordings
Chances are if you enjoy audio books with your family, you’ve come across a system or two that has volunteers record those books. This service benefits those who are unable to read or are visually impaired. Encourage community service and reading aloud in our children by taking part in one of these programs and taking them along.
Kids are much more likely to read when they realize it serves a real purpose and fulfills a true need. Reading aloud empowers our kids to do good for others.
Sonlight's literature-based curriculum is everything you need to succeed.