The practice of ladies getting together to read aloud cannot be traced to an exact date, but is referred to sometimes in historical writings and old stories.
My friend, Lisa Anne, who is also my video lady, gave me the idea to have "A Reading" by telling me about something she read:
Ladies in the past would sometimes ask the youngest girl in a reading group to read to them. The hostess would decide what was to be read and who would do readings. That way the material was first looked over for suitable content.
A reading is not same as a book review. Materials used can be letters, poems, articles from periodicals, fiction, history and even old cookbooks with all the notes of the cook.
With a friend, I have been doing "A Reading" every day. My friend is reading from a new category of fiction called "clean romance." The book, "Immigrant Brides" has 12 stories of immigrant brides from various parts of the world in the 1800's. She reads one chapter each Reading, and stops to read dictionary definitions, locate places on the map, and make observations about certain points in the story.
She is also reading parts of "Flowers That Never Fade" by Leroy Brownlow, a gift-book with wisdom and scripture and interesting observations about life.
In our readings we also tell about the authors and the era in which they lived.
Included in these daily readings are poems and character lessons from the Fascinating Womanhood workbook, which is a classic. Homeschoolers could glean a lot from this workbook that would help both boys and girls, and it contains scriptures pertinent to character, work, suffering, and more.
My reading yesterday was from the recent Tea Time magazine, (May-June 2016) "Will You Share a Dish of Tea With Me?" (This reminded me of Prudy in the 2015 movie "Poldark" saying to the under-servant "Brew me a dish of tea while I mend my broken wing." when she had sprained her wrist.)
A friend in England meets with me sometimes on Skype and reads from the Miss Reed series of books. I read to her parts of Linda Lichter's book about the customs, character, beliefs, work and art of the Victorian era.
If you are homeschooling, I would recommend a daily reading in place of curriculum.
If you are a homeschool graduate, have a reading once a week or daily, with your mother. Choose something that delights you to read to her, and let her read something to you.
If you are a veteran home schooler whose children are finished school, you will be revived by having a daily reading. You can do this on Skype or some other media. It is enormously comforting and fulfilling.
Our reading ladies are veteran home schoolers who miss having discussions with good values. We call these discussions "Home school Revisited" and have mutally agreed that "Readings" are superior to any homeschool curriculum.
One lady in the gathering, so impressed with "Readings" as ennobling the spirit and refining the soul, said the cure for homeschool burn-out is to "burn the curriculm." She had discovered so much learning for children in the daily readings that she was no longer dependent on the boxed curriculums. She promotes the gentle home teaching method of "readings" and discussions, enhanced by reference materials such as the dictionary, map books, Haley's Bible Hand Book and Young's Analytical Concordance.
Had there been more time during yesterday's "Reading" I would have pointed out the reason the Mothers and the homes are the best curriculum and how to tap into that source, as well as how curriculums can distract you from actually raising your children.
I hope you consider having "A Reading" one day this week with someone for half an hour.
To prepare for a reading, we dress up, fix an elegant tray with a shining tea pot and fine tea cups, gather our reading materials and take turns reading. If the day is cold we wrap ourselves in comfy shawls. The sessions last 20-30 minutes out of the ladies daily home responsibilities.
I am looking forward to today's reading because my friend, a fellow-homeschool Mama, is reading with great expression and drama another section of the Immigrant Brides historical romance book. The story is "Blessed Land." My friend will bring her shining Spanish fan with her (she has a partial Spanish heritage) because the characters in the chapter are Spanish.
Things I have read aloud in "A Reading": The Wife, by Washington Irving -- takes some careful concentration and expression, as it was written in the 1800's and you have to read it understandably with expression. When Queens Ride By -- both available on the side bar of this blog. Also Poems by Edgar A. Guest can be found by using the search area on the upper left of this site, by the "e" -- type in Edgar A. Guest in the space. Also you can start reading my story about Cowrie Point, or write your own stories to read aloud! May I also suggest using the phone with someone for a brief reading and discussion. I like a coumnist named Mrs. minerva who writes for English Home magazine. Her article on how women used to take to their beds when they needed relief from tiredness, stress, a vacation, some luxury, was so good.
Please enjoy the photos here, and I hope to explain more about this in a video. You are welcome to post these on your pinterest.