After lunch, the kids had rug time while I read "Understood Betsy" and "Pilgrim's Progress". (The big kids always ask for "just one more" chapter of Pilgrim's Progress, but I like to end with a cliffhanger, so they don't always get their wish! Better to keep them wanting more than to have them beg to stop - that's my theory.)
Back to rug time- I keep special toys for this purpose in our under-stairs closet. To be considered a rug time toy, it has to meet two criteria: it has to be something you can play with alone (although they rarely do!) and something you can play with quietly.
Isaac playing with gears
Daniel and Lydia playing with magnetic dress-up dolls. (LOVE these!)
Chloe was very proud of her doll creation.
When I finish reading a portion of the story, I pick a kid to narrate back to me. Most of them do very well at this when their hands are busy. It's amazing! Chloe does much better narrating through drawing (it's impressive the details she can remember if she draws out the story), so I've learned to make sure she's doing a mindless task on the rug. Otherwise, the whole story is lost on her. Figuring out everyone's learning style has helped me so much. Then I knew what skills I needed to work on with each of them!