The concept of a Family Reading Time may be foreign to some families who are bound by busy sports schedules, an overload of assigned homework, and general housekeeping duties. Here are some ideas for starting and maintaining a Family Reading Time.
Set aside as little as a half hour every day for reading. This will benefit your children enormously. Be a strong role model by having your own book (either paper or electronic) handy. If you use an electronic book, don’t cheat and read emails while your children read Oxygen Finds Friends.
By the time children reach school age, their reading habits have already been established. Even infants benefit from the cadence of a parent reading Dr. Seuss to them. Reading aloud while others read silently can be very distracting. Tell the older children that you will be having a special Family Reading Time with the non-readers.
If you read to them only before bedtime, they will come to view reading as something to cause sleepiness. Schedule a Family Reading Time before prime time TV to avoid conflict with preferred programming for the children and the adults in the house. After dinner is a good time for most families.
Sometimes it is difficult to schedule a common Family Reading Time. Ask your children for their input and see if you can establish a common time when they can all agree to read their favorite books. You may only be able to establish a Family Reading Time once or twice a week, rather than once a day. That’s okay! Reading every Sunday night is better than not reading at all. Set your child up with his or her own reading nook like the one pictured - easy to do and fun for reading!
Remember that the Family Reading Time is for extra reading. Assigned reading for school or work belongs outside of the FUN Family Reading Time. Magazines don’t count, either. People tend to look at the pictures rather than read the stories and articles they contain.
Schedule a monthly trip to the library. Most libraries have four-week intervals for their circulation. Know how many books your child will read in a month and only get that many. If you overload a child with ten books when he or she may only read two in that time period, your child will become overwhelmed and may jump between books without finishing any of them. Be prepared to renew a book for two more weeks if your child doesn’t finish in time.
Take a break from the Family Reading Time occasionally to have a Family Book Event. That might be the creating of book marks (put out poster board, markers, crayons, etc.) and then laminate them. Or you might simply have a discussion about books in general. See what everybody likes about the books they have read. Keep the discussion positive. Don’t allow negative comments. You might even decide to all read the same book and then watch the accompanying or related movie. However, everyone, even the adults, needs to agree to read this book! If only one person does not want to read the book, this event won’t go well. Consider using this time to write letters to grandparents, telling them about the book that their grandchildren just read. What fun!
Set up a reward system for reading the books. I don’t mean you should offer candy for each book read. I mean that you should verbally recognize the reading your child has done by discussing the story. Tell about your book, as well, so he understands that reading isn’t just for kids! Consider creating a Family Reading Time bulletin board or album with pictures associated with the books currently being read, or that your family has finished. You might even have a thermometer poster where the red goes up as the number of books read increases. When the red reaches a certain level, go out for a family event like ice cream, pizza, or a movie. Get creative with your reward system and customize it to your family’s interests.
The EnteleTrons© books are a perfect addition to family reading time. Children learn intellectual STEM topics and moral lessons while they increase their literacy and love of learning through reading about the adventures of the EnteleTrons©.
Author: Renee Heiss