Read-Alouds - 2nd grade attention span

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Read-Alouds - 2nd grade attention span

Unread post by TurnOurHearts » Thu Sep 14, 2006 7:40 pm

Toni@homezcool4us wrote:We worked on day 8 today. We had several pages to read from Early American History as well as Pioneers and Patriots. It seemed a bit much for dd to really stay focused on. Just wondering how you schedule it (back-to-back, morning/afternoon, etc.).
Hi Toni ~

I must say, over our short summer break we didn't spend the time reading every day that we had been, and that could be part of our problem.

Another issue is, my son is a math kid - reading just hasn't been his thing. He can do it, but he doesn't love to read (unless it's the directions in his Singapore math!).

I have decided to break up the reading. I require him sit and listen to the history book portion & then narrate back to me. Then, I am waiting til HOURS later at bedtime, to do the Pioneers & Patriots. It's better now. Also, when Max begins to seem wearied by it, I quickly find a good place to stop & say, "Let's see what happens in the adventure tomorrow!" - even if it means reading some over the weekend to finish it up.

I want my kiddos to love learning - with ZERO dread! Is it too much to ask for? I don't think so. I think we just have to try & tailor it to where they are. So, that is my goal. That is certainly something that wouldn't happen in the public school system.

I welcome any other suggestions as well - thanks!

Paige in NC


Unread post by cbollin » Thu Sep 14, 2006 7:56 pm

I don't know if this will help or not. Exploring American History is used again in EX1850, so don't feel like you have to cover everything

My 7 y.o (2nd grader) is doing the 2nd grade supplement with EX1850. She has her delays and struggles with language. On days where we have way too much to read out loud, I have been summarizing and teaching from Expl. am. history rather than reading from it.

I use it to make an outline on the marker board so the story of history is told, but not getting too bogged down in all the details.

I try to dramatically retell the stories in American Patriots Pioneers book. I tend to start history time with this book -- no matter what is listed in the grid. (It is used in EX1850, but only in the 2nd/3rd grade supplement).

We ended up reading Squanto over a few days mostly on the weekend when we weren't doing anything else. Or we could have done it in the evenings at bedtime too. Didn't do that yet, but we could.

There have been days too that we had to spread out the readings a bit more over the week to help with listening comprehension. And we've been enjoying the Schelessinger videos too.


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Unread post by txquiltmommy » Thu Sep 14, 2006 10:09 pm

Hi Toni,

You may already be doing this, but I thought I'd share some ideas for ways we "pass time" during the read alouds. It really helps my boys to be able to sit and listen longer if they have something small (and mindless) to do. I keep it really simple, so they don't get distracted from the story.

Sometimes I print coloring pages off the internet (or enlarge the ink drawings in the history books on my copier) and I let them color with colored pencils while I read. (We add those to our notebooks.) I also bought some very cheap embroidery floss at WalMart in a variety of colors. I was surprised to find that my boys love to braid it! (My dd does this to make friendship bracelets. The boys aren't into jewelry making, but they do find lots of other uses for their colorful braided strips!) Sometimes I use the recipe in the TM to make a batch of homemade salt dough and I ask them to sculpt something related to what we are reading. (They did the Liberty Bell the other day.) That is a particular favorite! My youngest has a guinea pig, and I allow him to hold her on his lap sometimes during history time.

All these little "tricks" seem to prolong their attention spans a bit. The rule is that if you talk or are disruptive ONE TIME you lose the activity and have to sit quietly while I read. So, they are typically very careful to not abuse the privilege! Also, to make sure they are listening extra careful I will announce a "word of the day" and see who hears it first in the reading. That person gets a very small reward. I don't do it every day, but they get excited on the days I do.

I agree with the others that some days no matter how many tricks you have up your sleeve you just have to break up the reading. There is no sense reading aloud if they aren't absorbing it. I also like the idea of paraphrasing some of the longer readings and making it more like story time. On a day when you are particularly pressed, you can read the material yourself, tell your son the story in the car while you are driving somewhere, and call that history for the day! Be encouraged too that there are not many weeks in Adventures when the reading is extremely heavy.
dd (14)
ds(9) - ECC
ds(8) - ECC
and one on the way in December!

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Unread post by Toni@homezcool4us » Fri Sep 15, 2006 12:36 am

Paige, Crystal and Brooke,
I *love* you gals!!! Each one of you gave me MOST HELPFUL ideas that I really believe I can use. I knew I could come here and get some great answers. Thanks so much. Why didn't these things occur to me? Really, your suggestions are just what I needed. THANK YOU!!!
A proud adoptive mom of 4 children,
I invite you to join me THE WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOUSE



Unread post by TurnOurHearts » Mon Sep 18, 2006 11:34 am

Well girls, God is indeed in the business of answering prayer!

I picked up this little $8 book called, "Into Their Hearts," by Janice Southerland. One of the ideas in this book (that she used with her preschoolers-elementary) has to do with teaching listening skills, or teaching kids to listen for key words, etc.

You create a landscape grid (in Excel, Quattro or some other spreadsheet program) in which the children draw a picture of each word they recognize (my grid has 6-box rows & columns). For example, if I were to read, "There was a tree by the house, " the child would draw a tree in the first box and a house in the next. By the time you have finished the story, they have a word-story & they can narrate back from that!

This morning as I was gathering a few last minute materials, the Lord brought this to mind. When we read the intro about Jamestown in Pioneers & Patriots, I had Max listen for words he knew (nouns work best with this type of reading). We went rather slowly, but when we finished that little intro, he had a full story he could recite back to me!!! He was so excited, he ran to get his sister so he could tell her what happened at Jamestown!

I could not believe the difference in his attitude toward reading history. I hope this might be a help to someone else who needs a visual/hands-on approach. I hope this makes sense!! If anyone is interested in using my excel grid, email me & I'll be happy to share.

Paige in NC

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Unread post by NHMom » Mon Sep 18, 2006 2:33 pm

Thanks for that great idea! I can't wait to try it!


[editor's note: more ideas on reading to fidgety kids here: ]

Mom to DS 9, DD 8 (using Adventures)
DD 5 (used MFWK, now using MFW 1st)

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Unread post by kfrench » Wed Sep 27, 2006 4:48 pm

I do the history reading first while the kids are eating their breakfast. They are a captive audiance and also my baby is quiet too. I break up the reading if they aren't paying attention. Then we do more reading at Break time while the eat a snack. They think the reading is a treat because they don't have to do anything.

I did notice that my 6 year old did not listen well when I read aloud until this year. She now listens just fine. We listen to a lot of books on tape in the car and I think this has helped their listening skills.

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