My local bookstore is my homeschool secret-weapon

I aim to keep my homeschool students busy, interested, motivated; and I love to put an occasional smile on their faces. One secret weapon (I happened to stumble upon) for doing all of these things is my local bookstore.

I thought I'd post a little 'this works for me' sort of post...

We are a family of bookstore-junkies. It is usually the end-destination for Sky and I on date-night, and we've made sure to pass along our bookstore affinity to the kids.
Our thought is that you grow young readers by example, in addition to seeing us reading at home, the kids see their parents enjoying an evening at the bookstore.

We started them on "bookstore night with daddy". The youngest looked forward to learning to read so they would be lucky enough to be invited.

I like to mix it up and take them once in a while during the day. Along with the exciting prospect of being out and about during the day, our trips to the bookstore encourage a love for reading in several (happenstance) ways:

1. The enjoyment of a yummy child's hot cocoa with a good read. I started them off with a few board books, then moved on to children's magazines, and then of course...Calvin & Hobbes [icon status in our home...]

2. reading lessons in a new place. Sometimes I would bring our phonics books with us and conduct a lesson while the other children browsed. I would keep it short and sweet and then let the student reader browse, too.

3. Read alouds. Fun way to dip into some new types of books. We might sit on the stage and be a little theatrical.

4. Prizes. I do not give prizes for expected good/responsible behavior, but I have found that prizes for skills not easily learned are a great motivator. In the past, I have given prizes for each 20 lessons completed in our phonics program - the prize was a trip and a book from the bookstore, and all the kids were invited to come along, so the winner spread the happiness. I've given book prizes for multiplication tables memorized, and lately I've given pennies for classical memory work- which can only be spent at the bookstore.

5. Calvin & Hobbes. If you don't know Calvin, look him will love his imagination and expansive vocabulary. My children were greatly motivated to learn to read so they could enjoy Calvin & Hobbes themselves.

Some of our favorite bookstore finds:

Calvin & Hobbes

Graphic Universe books on classic myths and legends


The Warriors graphic novels

and, why- yes, we were at the bookstore today! :)