One of the things that I think about when planning my daughter’s Reading course of the study is how to “color the canon” and provide a variety of writers of color in with the typical white authors.
However, before choosing the reading material, it is important to look at the what The Tornado needs to learn to become a proficient reader. Reading is a skill and it is more than just being able to pronounce or define the words on a page.
(Note: If you are looking for a program that teaches your child HOW to read, I suggest All About Reading and All About Spelling.)
1. MAKE CONNECTIONS:
- Good readers make connections between what they’re reading and what they already know from past experience or previous reading.
- Paint a picture in your head – imagine the setting, characters, and actions or description of the text.
- What will happen next?
- Read to confirm or revise your prediction.
4. SET GOALS
- Have a purpose for reading before you begin.
- What will you be reading for?
5. ASK QUESTIONS
- Ask yourself questions as your read.
- See if the text answers your questions.
6. ADJUST READING SPEED
- Good readers monitor the text they are reading and adjust their speed accordingly.
- Make sure you understand what your are reading:
- Reread unfamiliar vocabulary, use what your already know about the topic to help you understand.
- Sum up to check your understanding.
- Reread if you don’t understand.
- Put the main ideas in your own words.
In the early grades (elementary) these skills are modeled using read-alouds and questioning. The more you do this with your child, the better equipped they will be to do them for themselves. Remember, these are skills that we do naturally but children must be taught to do and must be allowed to practice.
Of course there are other things that you should consider when planning your curriculum. Students will need to identify the following:
THE ELEMENTS OF FICTION
- Plot (Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, Resolution)
- Characters (Protagonist, Antagonist, Flat, Dynamic, Round, Static)
- Characterization (Direct and Indirect)
- Conflict (Internal and External)
- Point of View
Of course, if your child is in first grade you don’t have to teach all of these, but your child should be able to understand, identify, and explain these by the end of middle school.
And now we choose reading material. I consider myself a classical homeschooler in that I do believe that my daughter needs to be familiar with those authors of “The Classics,” but I include other authors as well. Here are some suggestions for adding diverse writers.
Poetry and Poets
- The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou by Maya Angelou
- Spin a Soft Black Song: Poems for Children by Nikki Giovanni
- The Dream Keeper and Other Poems by Langston Hughes
- Poetry Speaks to Children by Elise Paschen (Editor)
- Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People by Monica Brown
- A Movie in My Pillow: Una película en me almohada by Jorge Argueta
- The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich
- Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
- The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros – this is a novel written in vignettes and can be used as short stories. “Eleven” is a great read for young children.
- One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia
- P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams Garcia
- Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams Garcia
- Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
- Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
- Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
- Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
- Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
- The Watsons Go to Birmingham–1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
- Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
- A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams
- Tomas and the Library Lady by Pat Mora
- Chato’s Kitchen by Gary Soto
- The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton
- Nadia’s Hands by Karen English
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
- Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti by Gerald McDermott
- Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: A West African Tale by Verna Aardema
- Eight Days: A Story of Haiti by Edwidge Danticat
- Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale by John Steptoe
- Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco
- The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco
- Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco