Charlotte Mason - Teaching Reading

My daughter is 6 and although we have been doing some school this past year (her kindergarten) I have purposefully waited for official reading lessons until this year.  There is SO MUCH to say on the topic of teaching reading!  Before you continue with this blog post, I want you to.......


I will even make it easy for you.  Click this link and read online!  I really feel like the best thing you can do to prepare yourself for teaching reading is to go to the source of the volumes and chew on the ideas set forth by CM.  This is also from a Parent Review article that restates what is written in Volume 1. (If you are also interested in further study, the book CM references "Reading Without Tears" can be found here.)

Now, to quote one of my favorite lines in this section:

"It is not clear yet; suppose you tell me, step by step, how you would give your first reading lesson.  An illustration helps one so much." -pg 211

That, we can see, is done several times for us in this section of the volume.  You can even find it done for you in several other blog posts and series!!!  I encourage you to look at the writings and musings done at these websites because my purpose here on this post is to go deeper into the resources available to make this "First Reading Lesson" and "First Spelling Lesson" work smoothly for your homeschool.

Here are the resources for the step by step process:
1. Discover Reading
2. Reading series written by Wildflower Ramblings
3. Reading videos and posts by Charlotte Mason Soiree
4. Reading series by Joyful Shepherdess

Up until now, we have given a broad look at the process of teaching reading.  If you are a Charlotte Mason follower you know that the mantra "no formal lessons before age 6" is repeated over and over!  As you read in this section, the process of understanding the relationship of letters can be done as early as the child takes an interest.  This instruction should be done through play (drawing letters in the air and sand.)  It may feel like a "snail's progress" through the years but I can state with assurance that this process does work!  My daughter has been "playing" with letters since she was 3-4 years old and has spent her school year at 5/6 years old blending simple sounds and words as given on page 202-203.  Now that she is about to start Form 1B (Year 1) we are ready to jump into the "First Lessons" to give her a vocabulary and toolbox of thousands of words that she can manipulate in making her own sentences and recognizing the words and word families in various reading material.

You might still have the question of how this all works?  I will give another favorite quote from the section....

"I wish some publisher would provide us with what we want - nursery rhymes, in good bold type, with boxes of loose words to match - a separate box, or division, for each page, so that the child may not be confused by having too many words to hunt amongst." -pg 213
Enter my blog!!!  I love making things to share and I think you can find resources through the purchase of Simply Charlotte Mason's Delightfully Reading and maybe even the lesson plans at Discover Reading.  I'm frugal and a DIY queen.  I would rather have something digital that I could offer you to simply print and prepare for your home!  Here is my list of essentials:

1.  Whiteboard or chalkboard for you.  You will need to have something where you can write the words in columns for your children to see at the beginning of the lesson.  Here's a great one on Amazon.
2. Letter tiles.  You can print the letter tiles for free from Discover Reading or you could order a set like this from Amazon.
3. Ziplock bags or other storage box to keep the lesson resources together.
4. Notebook for your child to use for copywork and practice their newly learned words.  I like this one.

Now for the lessons.  I have used the examples from Volume 1, the Parent Review Article, and various poems and stanzas that our family enjoys.  Download them here:

Now that you have experimented with several different verses with your children you are ready to make your own!  I have linked three websites to find more poetry suitable for reading and spelling lessons as outlined by this process.  I hope you find that this post makes homeschooling easier for you and you won't feel like the poor mother in Volume 1:

"Who in the world could get through all the pasting and cutting and general messing preparatory to the great lesson?.....I have no time to make my own apparatus." -pg 216

You still have to download and print!  But oh, if only these Victorian mothers had the internet and printing!  LOL!   Here is a Parent Review article with links to suggested poetry and prose.  Here is a link to a child's poetry anthology.  And finally, one more link to a poetry anthology to find short and appropriate verses to use for your reading lessons.

If you have any questions, find me on Facebook and I'm happy to help!


  1. I love this resource. Do you mind if I use this as a template to use to help Spanish speaking families teach reading?


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