Creating a Habit of Reading

In part two of this article, we will discuss some of the reasons why we may not read to our children and solutions to these reading challenges.

I recently read a great article, It’s Science: Reading aloud to your kids makes them smarter and kinder, which has been the inspiration for this two-part post. Kelly Holmes has some really great tips for how to fix our most common problems with reading to our children.

Here are a few reasons she lists of why we may not read to our children:

  • We are too busy
  • My child is too active to sit and listen
  • My child can read on their own
  • I don’t like reading out loud
  • I am not good at reading
  • My child wants to read the same book over and over

The fixes:

To busy or your child won’t sit still-

Reading during bedtime, bath time, meal time, or while your child is getting dressed are perfect if you are busy or if your child won’t sit still. You are already with them and there is no need to set aside a separate time for reading. As for the active child, they are already contained so during another activity, like mealtime, would be perfect.

My child can read on their own

If your child is able to read on their own, start up a family read time. Ask them to help you pick out the book to help ensure they will enjoy the reading time as well. Set aside a specific time each day for this reading time. Again, meal time is perfect for this. Everyone at the table can take turns. Another idea would be to read a play; everyone can have a part or two. If you are feeling really adventurous, you can even act it out.

I don’t like reading out loud-

If reading aloud is a problem for you, try to re-frame how you think about it. Think of it as bonding time with your child, a time for you to cuddle and build a deeper connection. Or think about some of the benefits of reading to your child. For example, reading to your child allows them to have a bigger vocabulary, or they will be more empathetic and caring. If it is easier for you, describe what is going on in the pictures. With little ones, you don’t have to read the book verbatim. You can talk to your child about what is happening in the pictures or make up your own story with their help.

I am not good at reading out loud-

Maybe you don’t like to read aloud. You may feel like reading doesn’t come naturally to you, or you think you don’t do it well. To help, you could try reading the same couple of books to your child. Rhyming books like Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss make reading aloud easier. It has a fun rhyme and repeats the same words throughout the book. Repetition is a wonderful way to become better at reading!

My child wants to read the same book over and over-

Finally, if you are tired of reading the same book over and over again, you could hide the book for a while. If you don’t want to hide the book, you could set a limit to how many times you will read it in one day. Say you will only read once or twice a day. Or if neither of those work, try to make it fresh at each reading. Do different voices, or activities while reading, be creative!

Whatever the reason that reading to your child doesn’t happen every day, keeping track of when you read can help. Make sure you keep track somewhere that you will see it. For instance, make a daily reading chart to hang on your fridge. Your phone is also a great tool. You can set a daily alarm to remind yourself in case you forget. And of course, the more you do it, the easier it will become to remember. Soon it will be second nature.

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