Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

First Reading Lesson Charlotte Mason Style

"...now we had six complete copies...line by line, and word by word. We gathered up the words and put them in a box, and our preparations were complete...I write up, in good clear 'print' hand...he watches with more interest because he knows his letters. I say, pointing to the word...which he repeats."

"Then the words in the box are scattered on the table, and he finds half a dozen...with great ease."

"We do the same thing with (other words), till all the words in the verse have been learned. The words on the black-board grow into a column, which (he) reads backwards and forwards, and every way, except as the words run in the verse."

"Then (he) arranges the loose words into columns like that on the board. Then into columns of his own devising, which he reads off. Lastly, culminating joy (the whole lesson has been a delight!), he finds among the loose words, at my dictation...arranging the words in verse form.

"Then I had still one...copy, out of which (he) had the pleasure of reading the verse, and he read it forwards and backwards. So long as he lives he will know those...words....he will read those...words wherever he meets with them." -Charlotte Mason
I then asked him his favorite of these words, and not surprisingly he chose the most deliciously long word there. We played a game where he would close his eyes and I would ask him to picture the word in his mind while I erased a letter or two and he would have to replace them. Soon he could spell the whole word.

"The child should hunt through two or three pages of good clear type for 'little,' star,' you,' are,' each of the words he has learned, until the word he knows looks out upon him like the face of a friend in a crowd of strangers, and he is able to pounce upon it anywhere. Lest he grow weary of the search, the teacher should guide him, unawares, to the line or paragraph where the word he wants occurs. Already the child has accumulated a little capital; he knows eight or ten words so well that he will recognize them anywhere, and the lesson has occupied probably ten minutes."
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Related Posts:
  • Part II: More Reading Lessons with Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star can be found here.
  • Another example of a Charlotte Mason style reading lesson can be found here.



  1. BIG W-I-D-E smile from here! Can't wait to try this too! thank you.

  2. I love it!! This is great! This is fantastic. I am very interested to learn more..

  3. I've never seen a Charlotte Mason reading lesson before.

  4. This is beautiful! I still have much to learn about CM methods! Any suggestions on where to start?

  5. All CM'ers have their favorite books about her. My favorite is Karen Andreola's A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning. I still read my much dog-eared copy from time to time for inspiration. All CM'ers, however, will say that there is nothing better than reading Miss Mason's own writings, The Original Homeschooling Series, which can be found free here: http://www.amblesideonline.org/CM/toc.html
    If I can be of any other help, let me know.

  6. Thanks for a visual explanation of Charlotte's reading lesson.

  7. I'm reading "A Pocketful of Pinecones" by Karen Andreola right now . . .

  8. Phyllis, this is beautiful. You are brave. I haven't had the chance yet to teach reading the CM way. My husband was convinced the first two were going to learn the traditional forced way... so they rebelled (I think) and ended up not reading until 8 & 9 years old approx. Then with Bria I just taught her phonograms and she taught herself to read... and Siah just finished his basic phonograms and between he and Bria over the last 3 weeks he's taught himself too! I may still do some of these kind of lessons though, I think it's still beneficial... kind of like early copywork.

    Thanks for the walkthrough with pictures! love it.

    amy in peru

  9. Excellent post! There is much confusion out there as to how Mason taught reading - and this post clears up much of it.
    Thanks for sharing this practical help,

  10. What a lovely reading lesson! Fun and simple!
    It reminds me a bit if the natural way Ruth Beechick recommends we teach grammar (in her little booklet "A strong Start in Language") where she suggests starting with short, well-known little rhymes, and teach grammar from that. Then she uses that little verse for copywork and dictation too.

  11. Wonderful! Wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing.


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