Knitting & Reading and Writing with Ease

Knitting a barn sweater from taproot and reading Writing With Ease Knitting a barn sweater from taproot and reading Writing With EaseI’m still working on the Barn Sweater. This time knitting it at the right size…there is nothing more humbling than having to rip back a skein and a half of knitting. Since I am joining up with Ginny’s Yarn Along, I thought I’d focus on something I learned from her. If you have a struggling reader, or a child learning to read, it can be terribly frusterating to listen to them struggle as they read aloud. My patience has been held in place, ever since I learned to knit while they are reading. Before I would focus and toil over each and every word they read, every letter they sounded out. In my head, I’d get caught up in thoughts of, ‘Why is this so difficult for them? Why don’t they get this yet? Oh, they are reading so painfully slow! This is taking forever!’ I’ve learned for some children reading takes time and much practice. Knitting gives me something calm to focus on while I listen. Giving my hands something to do has taken off some of that focus and stress for me and allows me to relax and let them do the work. All the while I can look over what they are looking at and with patience and a calm voice I can correct or help them. Knitting and listening to reading together has been a game changer.

I don’t home school, we send our children to a Montessori school. But I very much admire Susan Wise Bauer, who has spearheaded homeschooling in a classical style. Since my children don’t receive homework at their school, every day after school we do a little home school homework. Which includes an exercise in Susan’s Writing with Ease and 10 minutes of reading aloud. The wee one, who just turned four, gets a lesson in letters and their sounds. Which to my great relief she is picking up effortlessly!

I’m looking for a new book to read, have you read anything good lately?

Curious to see what I’ve been Sewing & Listening (to)? See for yourself on facebook.


  1. Jean says

    Jessie Dora Saint, writing as “Miss Read”, is an English author who has written several series of books set in rural England. I would suggest starting with the Fairacre series; the first one is “Village School” which was published in 1955. These books are about the schoolteacher & the children & the characters who live in the small village.

    • DanielleB says

      I can second these books. I have enjoyed reading and rereading them. Right now I am going through Gene Stratton Porter’s books again. Girl of the Limberlost and Freckles being my favorites here.

  2. Leslie Jenkins says

    this doesn’t have anything to do with anything you wrote about above..was wondering if you have a tried and true beard wax recipe? I’ve used several of your others and really like them.

    • says

      Hi Leslie, not I haven’t tried a beard wax recipe….might have to get Scott to grow out his goatee a bit and mess around with a recipe! Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Karen says

    Love your writing and your creativity and talent!! New book to read that’s a beauty…Saving Simon by Jon Katz…a wonderful read your children may even enjoy hearing…

  4. Gin says

    Kendra: One of my very favorite writers is Elizabeth Strout. She wrote Olive Kitteridge a real winner and
    my book club (a serious bookclub) just finished The Burgess Boys, her latest book. Couldn’t put it down once I started reading. Love your blog! Can keep track of you and your family. Also just had a long, long
    talk with your Mom this morning. All’s well. Aunt Gin

  5. kipper says

    I’m reading Burnt Toast Makes you Sing Good by Kathleen Flinn and Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller. Two very different childhood experiences-the first one in the Midwest, the second in Africa. The former has some really great recipes ! I’ve read Jon Katz’ blog and just reading about Simon there has made me weepy. A story with a very happy ending.

  6. Britta says

    I love Tamar Adler’s “Everlasting Feast”. Keep rereading it. I also have loved “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” (but you have to love dry english wit), For fast paced witty mysteries and language, any of the Rex Stout “Nero Wolfe” stories.

  7. says

    I recommend you read “In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex” by Nathaniel Philbrick. There actually is a film based on it coming out soon. Despite it being historical, the way it is written from detailed accounts feels a lot more like what you would expect from a novel. It’s a sobering look at humanity and the famous island of Nantucket in a different era.

  8. says

    You have a beautiful way of expressing yourself! Our youngest was a slow reader and I did the same: knitting while she worked. Even now at eleven when she sometimes has a funny day when she reads poorly I have to remember to stay calm and not make her feel frustrated. Its such a useful tool! And voila- there is a sweater at the end of it all instead of a crying child!

  9. says

    I have thought often of Ginny’s lesson in that area as well as I am teaching our oldest to read. She is almost five and really catching on quite fast but even so, there are times I am tempted toward great impatience even with the pretty rapid learning process so eventually I will need to have knitting on hand as I homeschool her since we are so similar there are sure to be clashes of personality.
    Such a pretty color for your yarn!

  10. says

    We use Writing With Skill at our hybrid school, and I have loved the reading selections that have encouraged me, not my reluctant reader, to check out some of the books. I also found that having my knitting helped me sit still at the table while they did their work. I am perfectly happy to stay there ALL day to listen, help, and supervise!

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