Home School Reading:
Ideas And Tips

How do you teach home school reading? Get top tips from fellow homeschoolers who can show you how to help your child learn to read.

home school reading

Help and advice from fellow homeschoolers who have different reading methods to share.

Teaching ideas for home school reading

Homeschooling Methods To Teach Reading

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Firstly, Don't Panic!

Carol Black quote about the dangers of children being forced to keep to a set timetable of learning by a certain age

N.B. This page starts with a health and safety warning!

However hard it is as a homeschooling parent (and my daughter couldn't read until she was 8) these are great ideas to help you teach reading BUT please don't panic if your child just isn't ready yet.

The great advantage of homeschooling is that you can go at your child's pace.  Your goal is to create a love of learning that lasts a lifetime, not to tick a box.

Reading Ideas

Make A Reading Theme

Making a theme around the books you want to read is a brilliant idea, as Jaime Krouk shows with her lovely beach:

Make a reading theme

"Where we live, it feels like it's been winter for far too long, so I am surprising the kids with an indoor beach day!

My children are already having a blast! They keep rearranging the shells and love the clam & crab puppets! They've now got their beach towels laid out and bathing suits on!"

~ Jaime Krouk, Courageous Homeschooling Facebook group

This is such a lovely way to encourage your child to love home school reading.

Tying imagination into your teaching works wonderfully, and we all look forward to Spot coming out to play.

"What a sweet idea!" ~ Jennifer, Courageous Homeschooling Facebook group

Start With A Book

Reading rockets
Reading rockets Department of Education

This is a US Department of Education site. The 25 reading and writing activities have been developed by national reading experts for you to use with children, ages birth to Grade 6.

Book Boxes

book box

Having a special place to store your child's favorite books is a great way to encourage reading.

Your child will love to steal away and pick out their special story.

And Ange explains how you can use a book box to encourage your child to write  their very own book.

Free Literacy Resource: Famous Actors Reading Stories Aloud

Storyline Online free literacy resource

A free and fun site, Storyline features the world's best storytellers reading books aloud. Each video includes an activity guide with lessons for K-5 students to do at home.



Many homeschoolers recommend Starfall.

It's a free public service to teach children to read. It has expanded to include language arts and mathematics for preschool, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and third grade.

Starfall’s emphasis is on phonics and aligns with Common Core.

Rhyming Books

“We use rhyming books such as Dr Seuss. My daughter loved those books. Your little one can follow your finger as you read she will also remember the rhymes which will help her to learn to read. Also Hairy Maclary books are great rhyming books. All three of mine learned using them.” ~ Sylvia x





"There is a free online based program called Teach your Monster to Read  which is quite cute and which my son dips in and out once in a while.” ~ Diana

Teach your monster to read

"I love reading with my boys! 

  • Make a den and then read good books...
  • Pick a nice location and go for a picnic and read good books...
  • Go book shopping then hit up a cafe and read said books...
  • Write and illustrate books and read them to each other!"

~ Ange, Courageous Homeschooling Facebook group

Play Reading

“I started when my daughter was tiny, just playing with foam bath letters then blending them to make simple words. We had a reading tree set but needed more stuff on each level. Your library should have more. My daughter blended letters to make really simple words at 3, it's something that just happened through play but then when she saw it tell a story her eyes lit up!! Never stopped since then.” ~ Sheila x

Phonics Reading Books

“I used unschooling methods when teaching my kids to read and write, in other words I pretty much left them to work it out themselves, and they did. I had tried to teach them the phonic sounds of the alphabet. They caught on to some of it but soon lost interest.

After a while...they started showing more interest in reading, so to encourage them I bought a set of phonics reading books which were very helpful. As they worked through those they kind of learned the rest of the alphabet as they learned to read sight words and other aspects of reading. So they did it all together rather than in set-out stages. It worked for us anyway.

For phonics reading books I recommend the Julia Donaldson collection. Also keep reading to your child, read lots of books together and point out words as you read.” ~ Brigid



Explode The Code

“My son absolutely LOVED Explode The Code. It's phonics, but in a fun manner.” ~ Laurie



Best Books For Kindergarten

When your children reach about age 5 to 7 years-old, how do you make the transition from picture books to chapter books?

Teaching reading for children at kindergarten age

This is something many homeschoolers struggle with. 

You will find ideas for books that work best and also methods you can use in our page on kindergarten reading.

Teaching Reading With Phonics

Phonics Table

As you can see, some people have used phonics very successfully to teach home school reading.

  • You can see the rules of phonics and tips on how to teach it here
  • This page has phonics activities to help you


homeschooling with dyslexia

If you would like some reassurance, tips and advice on teaching reading with dyslexia check out our pages on:

Home School Reading Advice

The best advice when it comes to home school reading is that every child is different and what works for one child (even an older sibling) WON'T necessarily work with another.

Also, it is very important you don't get anxious and stressed about HOW OLD your child is when they start to read.

No one is going to ask your child when they are an adult what age they were when they started! 

If you would like more help with how fellow homeschoolers with teaching home school reading or any other subject, please do come and ask in the Courageous Homeschooling Facebook Group.

We are there to support and encourage each other along our homeschooling journey.

”I feel so privileged to be part of this group and to have gained so many lovely friends,”  ~ Simone

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