This week we have written about three habits you can start now with yourself and your family in order to build reading habits for the lifetime of your children.
The most important is to read every day. Twenty minutes is the recommendation but don’t let the number keep you from building the habit. Any amount of time spent in reading is helpful in future literacy success.
Knowing what books to read also helps build successful reading habits. Balance what your child loves to learn about with good quality picture books that highlight the six pre-literacy skills. The content will motivate her to hear the story and while she listens important literacy building blocks happen.
Lastly, be a reader. Our kids watch everything we do and love mimicking our actions. Make one of those parroting activities be reading. Read while you wait for appointments, read while your child plays independently or make a space for independent reading every night for your family. Make sure your child catches you reading everyday.
Start with these three habits and see how your child’s reading explodes over the course of the year.
Planning is an important part of completing any task. The more prepared you are, the easier it is to get something done. It’s why we meal plan, or make to do lists, create outlines for papers or set goals. Knowing what we will do, makes it easier to do it. It is no different when we read to our kids.
Yesterday we talked about setting the habit of reading every day. You have decided on a consistent time, a time you know you will be free, now plan what you will read during that time. Having books on hand will help to make sure you are able to use your reading time fully.
There are a lot of ways to find good books. This blog, amazon, bookstores, libraries, friends, Facebook groups and more. Plan out a trip to the library or bookstore each week so you have books on hand to read with your child. I always want reading to be child directed but you are your child’s best teacher. Take them with you to choose books. I always make a pile and go through it with my kids. It helps them select books they might not normally have picked up and I also know what catches their eye for next time.
Know what your child is interested in. I know one of my kids prefers books with tons of pictures. Another child prefers fantasy and another loves to learn facts. Use conversations and screen time habits and creative play to help guide book choice. The more a child enjoys the material she reads, the more enthusiastic a reader she will become.
I love Amazon and Goodreads and other websites to help discover books I didn’t know about. In Amazon you can search a book you know your child likes and it will show suggestions for similar type books. Goodreads offers book reviews. And don’t forget your local librarian. He or she will love to help you discover new books or favorite authors.
Being intentional with reading is one of the best habits you can build this year. It will make the time you spend reading more impactful and enjoyable.
The advice most parents have heard in recent years to ensure reading success for children is read at least twenty minutes every day. We want to do this, because, who doesn’t want their child to succeed. But there is work and playdates and school and activities and housework and the list goes on. Somehow it gets to bedtime and you realize you haven’t picked up a book today. You promise to do better tomorrow and tomorrow comes and the same thing happens.
I believe strongly in setting smaller goals in order to accomplish big things. Sure, twenty minutes is the ideal. It is the sweet spot of introducing new vocabulary and familiarizing our kids with story narratives, how books work and much more.
But twenty minutes is intimidating in a world that never seems to stop. What I always suggest to parents is find a consistent time, no matter how long, and read.
If you spend a lot of time in the car, pick up an audiobook from the library and the picture book to go along with it. As you taxi your family from place to place, turn on a book and make the most of the time in the car.
Reading doesn’t have to happen at bedtime. If mornings have more time, make your day start with reading. Or if bathtime is the only time you have your child’s full attention, read a book while he splashes in the tub.
Reading happens more often than you realize. Any time you are driving, in a store or at an activity there are words around you. Point this out to your child wherever you are. Create a story with the signs you see. The important part isn’t how great of a story you tell, but the word connection your child makes in the world around him.
Choose a book the whole family can listen to. For me, the kids are at all different stages of reading. Trying to fit in twenty minutes of reading with each of them is impossible. Pick a classic story or a brand new tale and sit down as a family and read. It can be at the dinner table or the minutes you have before you head out for the day. A family who reads together, grows together.
Don’t worry about how much time you spend. I believe you will find more time as your family reading habit grows. Just like when you start eating better or exercising more, the less pressure you put on yourself to be perfect, the easier it is to achieve your goals.
Make 2017 the Year of Reading by starting with the habit of reading everyday.
What tips or tricks do you have to include reading time each day? Share in the comments section.
Every New Year’s we make resolutions to improve ourselves. We promise to eat better, sleep better, exercise more, be better employees or spouses or friends. There are many ways we can improve our lives but I believe the best gift to ourselves and our children is to make 2017 the year of reading.
This week I will post a reading resolution each day. Choose what works for your family and focus on that one change. We don’t need to do everything in order to build future readers, but we need to start somewhere.
Make this the year your family commits to reading.
So if you answer yes to most of the questions you are ready to start choosing your first chapter book with your child.
Make sure the story fits your child’s interests. Like choosing a picture book, we want to make sure our child engages in the story. Look for books where the main character shares hobbies or is in a similar life situation.
Pictures still help. Choose a book that still has pictures throughout the story. It breaks up the text and provides an opportunity for you to talk about what you have read. With more listening than looking it might be harder for your child to hold the story thread in his head at first. Practice stopping every few pages and asking questions.
Start Small. There are a lot of great beginning chapter books like The Magic Treehouse series or The Clubhouse Mysteries or Matt Christopher or Mercy Watson among many others. The sentences and chapters are short and there are usually no more than 5 paragraphs per page.
Slowly start adding chapter books to your daily reading habit. Increase the number of pages you read and don’t worry about reading a full chapter! Since the stories aren’t necessarily driven by the pictures, let your child explore legos, coloring, blocks or another activity while you read. Just because their hands are busy doesn’t mean they aren’t listening. Always talk about what you read the previous day before you start reading. It will help them learn to hold the story in their heads for longer amounts of time in between readings.
Before long your child will ask to add a chapter book or two to the library basket but never stop reading those picture books because they are still a great source of unique and rich vocabulary and reading fun!
(I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on the pictures it will take you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I receive a percentage of the sale.)
What our family is currently reading together: