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How to make time for Reading with Children

Posted by on Sep. 28, 2010 at 10:41 PM
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We're all well aware of the benefits of teaching our children to love reading. Less easy to do, however, is finding regular time slots to read to our children. Here's some ideas to help you fit in regular reading sessions with your children, no matter what else is going on in your lives.

Select a suitable time of day. The most suitable time of day is often bedtime but it might not be suitable for you. It is very important to take into account your own energy levels and availability throughout the day. If reading a goodnight story at 8pm has you yawning and trying hard to remain awake, perhaps a story before dinner, or a story in the afternoon will work out better. You need to direct this decision to make it fit in rather than miss it.

Select the particular days. One good idea is to alternate days or to only read on certain days. For example, you might read weeknights only and not weekends. Or not read Friday and Saturday nights. Or read every second night. Provided that you set in place a regular and consistent reading routine, this will still work really well. It can help you to work around the ebb and flow of dealing with other children's activities, work-brought-home, night meetings for clubs, church, etc.

Break down the reading. Rather than trying to go through five chapters of a large book each night, cut it down to two chapters. Rather than read five storybooks, cut it down to two. When the alternative is nothing at all, less chapters or books will be much preferred by your child.

Read together. When you have more than one child, make reading communal. Where an older child is able to read finds this "unfair" or "annoying", suggest that they do their reading time alone (and you can check the story's content later). Another way to engage more than one child is to read a story pitched at each age group and have each of them listen politely in turn. You will also find that "family favorites" develop over time that all the children will love hearing. And don't forget recounts of your own childhood!

Read individually. Even where you adopt the group reading, make at least one time a week per child to read individually. This is both a bonding exercise and a source of encouragement for your child.

Talk out loud when you are reading. If you're reading a newspaper article or something online and you think it would interest your children, read it out loud to them. This can happen at any time and is a good indicator to children that reading is an everyday, useful activity.

Visit the library once a month for story telling. Make use of your local library's story telling facilities; take your children when these are happening. While they are listening to the story, you can be relaxing or borrowing some books for your own interest.

Praise your children. When your children read anything - be it the label off a cereal packet or a book, be sure to praise their reading at every chance you get. Creating a reading culture in your family is an important way of helping children cope with their feelings and problems, as well as answering their curiosities, and developing their imagination.

Read everywhere. Take advantage of every reading opportunity. Play games in the car such as Who can read what a sign says the fastest, or explain to younger children what a sign says and what it means. You can do similar activities in the grocery store. doctors office, etc.


Best wishes and Happy reading!

Shauna Morris

Independent Educational Consultant

Usborne Books & More

by on Sep. 28, 2010 at 10:41 PM
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