This Reading Mama

http://thisreadingmama.com

This Reading Mama is a site dedicated to sharing printables, activities, and practical tips for parents who want to make reading and writing fun for their child.

beckythisreadingmama is a winner of Top 25 Homeschooling Moms - 2013

Do you have any tips for helping kids concentrate on their studies?

1- Devote a space to "schooling", whatever that looks like. This has helped my kids focus better and keeps the distractions out. We do not limit learning to this space, but it gives my kids a few more boundaries {rather than trying to work on reading while toys are all around us in the playroom}.
2- Create natural breaks in your schedule {snack time with read aloud, outside to play, time on educational apps and websites, etc.}. as homeschooling is more intense than the time in the classroom. {Because the teacher is more 1:1, kids can't get off-task as easily.}
3- Make learning fun and purposeful. No one likes to concentrate and do things they feel has no purpose. Neither do kids. Yes, there are those times when things just aren't fun or it feels there is no purpose, but this should be the exception; not the rule.
4- Integrate the learning done during "school time" with life. For example, if your child is learning a particular phonics pattern, point out that it's on the menu he's reading right now! This kind of goes along with point #3, but help them to see that they can apply their learning to the every day.

What's an educational game or activity you and your kids love?

My kids like to play any game that has movement. I adapt most of them myself and get inspiration from the simple games of hopscotch or tag. I try and incorporate these games {by adding numbers, letters, or sight words} into our school day at times.
A recent one we just did was a syllable game where I put the numbers 1, 2, and 3 on the wall with sticky notes. I had a stack of picture cards. My 4 year old identified the picture, clapped the syllables, then ran down the hall to tag the number that corresponded with the syllables.

How do you encourage a love of reading in your kids?

1- Read alouds- funny poetry, books about their favorite subjects, Bible stories, books related to what they are learning, etc. Read aloud time is integrated into all parts of our day.
2- Teach reading/reading skills at their developmental level. Kids will let you know when they are frustrated {younger kids simply lose interest and older readers tend to say, "I can't do this!" or "This is boring!"}. Follow your child's lead and teach in their zone of learning. If we are observant students of our kids, they will also let us know when they are ready to learn something new. This doesn't mean you can't introduce new concepts before they are ready; just be sensitive to how they respond to it. Don't "push" because the book/another mom tells you to if they aren't ready.
3- Encourage them. When they make a mistake and go back and fix it say, "Wow, you did an awesome job by going back and fixing your mistake!" When he reads that "hard" book by themselves for the first time, make a big deal about it. Call grandma and brag on him.
4- Encourage them as writers. Writing and reading are connected in such amazing ways. Help young readers understand how a story line works and encourage them to write their own stories. If your child likes to draw, encourage her to now write a sentence or story about her drawing.