The Importance of Reading

The Importance of Reading (with Arline Helms)

🎙Principles in Practice Homeschool Podcast. Join us for Episode 36: The Importance of Reading. This takes about 17 minutes of your time.
Join us as special guest Arline Helms talks about the importance of reading, Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, and Teaching Phonics. These all weave into one valuable topic for homeschooling parents to know.
Arline is a former Biblical Classical homeschool mom who included some of the register trademarked The Principle Approach®(1) materials in her homeschool. And she owns the Facebook page Reviving the Foundations with Arline Helms where you can learn more about the Biblical Classical Approach >>>

*Edit to the info on the graphic for this podcast episode: Currently, Arline Helms is not certified through the Foundation for American Christian Education’s Master Teacher program (circa 2020) so she is not technically considered a The Principle Approach® homeschool mom. That said, she did use some of the registered trademarked The Principle Approach® materials in her homeschool and taught with a historic and authentic Biblical Classical education.

Transcript Teaser

I know that some individuals prefer to read vs. listen to a podcast, but transcripts can be rather lengthy for an article. With this in mind, here is a little bit of a transcript for those who prefer to read. Please do take a listen to the whole podcast though.

The Importance of Reading Introduction


Heather has invited me on her podcast today to talk about reading. As I was preparing for this podcast, what came to mind my is the fact that what we read and learn today will impact our future.

I’m going to discuss with you the importance of Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary and the importance of teaching the phonics method.

You may already be thinking that discussing the Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary first—before a child even knows how to read phonetically—is a big jump. I’m doing this for two reasons:

  • 1. Many of you may already have children who are reading and are not in need of teaching your children phonics. But, you will learn why it’s important to use the 1828 Dictionary as a resource.
  • 2. I’ll be discussing both topics throughout to keep everyone’s interest.


First Things First


Before I begin, I’d like to thank Heather for inviting me—once again—on her podcast. I’m thankful for all that she is doing for her family, and home education, and for her education of the other families around the nation for such a time as this. I appreciate all you are doing and sharing, Heather, through your Biblical Classical Homeschoolers Facebook page. And, congratulations on becoming a Master Teacher through the Foundation for American Christian Education program!


Aw, thanks so much Arline!.

The Topic of Reading


So, let me begin. The topic of reading is vast. So, I’m only going to highlight a few important aspect regarding reading. I’m going to talk about a few resources that every serious reader and Christian should use. And, I’m going to discuss phonics. Even if your children are grown and are reading on their own, I welcome you to continue to listen. Because like so many things, there’s more to phonics than meets the eye. And, keep in mind that one day you may have the privilege of becoming a grandmother or a grandfather and you can tuck this information away for later.

Hopefully these few things that I will discuss with you today will help you to:

  • think and ponder
  • hopefully peek your interest to provide information and direction
  • inspire you to take reading seriously rather than just taking it for granted

The Big Picture of Reading


Let’s look at the big picture first. Readers are life-long learners.

Life-long learners can accomplish much.

Readers are also writers.

Key Individual Noah Webster


One great example of a reader who became a writer is Noah Webster—who was known as the father of American scholarship and education. Noah Webster is also known for writing the 1828 Dictionary.

Did you know that it took Noah twenty-seven years to write the dictionary? And that while writing the dictionary, Noah learned twenty-six languages (give or take a year)?  I’ve seen different years in there so that’s why I say give or take a year.

He could not have done what he accomplished had he not been able to read. The task of writing the dictionary was given to Noah, and Noah alone. God equipped him fully to accomplish this important and necessary task that continues to serve people to this very day. I’m going to emphasize the fact that his task served the people in his day and continues to serve the American people today. And, people around the world, for that matter.

It was no easy feat. Think about it. In the 1800s he had no computer or cell phone to plug in to Google and gather his information from. On top of all of that, he was also learning while writing the dictionary and acquainting himself with many authors such as:

  • Shakespeare
  • Milton
  • And many other famous people who he quotes throughout his dictionary

Noah Webster Quoted the Bible


Another important aspect to using Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary—rather than the modern version—is because in the 1828 version Scripture verses are also quoted throughout.

Every serious reader needs to know about the 1828 Dictionary in order to better understand and have a better grasp on the original intent of our vocabulary. The modern dictionaries today water down and misrepresent the true meaning of words and steer the learner away from God, His Word, and His concepts, and principles.

Noah could not have accomplished all of this if he was unable to read. And, had he not been a reader of the Bible, he would not have left us with a Biblical foundation for us to learn from and define America’s rich vocabulary.

Now, I’m telling you all this for two reasons:

  • First, so that everything else that I’m going to talk about with you in this podcast and,—and the next—might seem less daunting to you. If you aren’t familiar with the word daunting, go ahead and look up the word.
  • I highly recommend using the 1828 Dictionary . . . I also highly recommend that you have a hard copy of the dictionary in your home. There is an app, but since I first began using the app, I’ve been noticing more and more lately, that the words . . . many words . . . often are missing. I’m not sure why that is. If anyone knows why, please feel free to reach out to me and let me know. I recommend that you make your purchase through The Foundation for American Christian Education [go here].  This will be one of your  most valuable resources to add to your library, if you don’t already own a copy of Webster’s 1828 Dictionary.

Just Imagine Where We’d Be


Imagine where we’d be as a society if Noah had not written the American dictionary in the fashion that he did. If we are to keep the Republic, we must use materials with Biblical teachings, concepts, quotes, and principles.

[End transcript teaser]


Listen to the podcast to learn about the importance of reading with phonics and more about Noah Webster.

Footnote 1: The Principle Approach® is a registered trademark of the Foundation for American Christian Education.

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