Reading at Home

Making reading a part of your family life  requires that parents and children read together and read independently.A combination of both will help make your children lifelong readers who are better equipped to succeed!

Reading Together

This can be accomplished in several ways, but should always incorporate reading aloud. Reading aloud as a family has substantial benefits: it equates reading with entertainment and with special family time; it teaches the connection between the written and printed word; it develops listening skills, it expands vocabulary and exposes readers to enriching language, and it teaches inflection and sentence patterns. Further, it prepares pre-readers (babies, toddlers, and preschoolers) for reading. 

Of course, all of this reading develops and strengthens your child’s reading skills, confidence,  and interest in reading.

Once you begin a routine of reading together, you’ll find that your children will ask you to spend time  reading with them.

In our home, we have read together in these ways:

  • The entire family gathers in the living room and listens as mom and dad read. This works especially well if you’d like to read a novel that is above your children’s reading level.
  • The entire family takes turns reading from one novel or story, sharing the story-telling experience.
  • One parent and child read together, taking turns every other page, or every chapter, depending on the child’s readling skill.

Aim to spend 30 minutes a day reading aloud with your children. If you miss a day here or there, don’t beat yourself up–just get back into the routine.  

Reading Independently

Everyone in the house should spend some time reading alone. When mom and dad read, kids are more likely to imitate. If you are already spending 30-minutes or more reading together, it is not crucial that you read alone daily, though encouraging your kids to put their nose in a book and to take it off the TV screen certainly has benefits.

We’ve found that if our kids have the “right” book, they are willing to read on their own AND read together as a family.  

Make reading part of the day. Our culture has traditionally made this a part of bedtime, but it doesn’t have to be.

Children can rack up reading time:

  • While mom and dad are preparing dinner. Just yesterday, my son read several chapters of a book while I cooked.
  • Before or after the shower/bathtime.
  • In the car. Keep books and magazines in the car at all times. Trivia books, sports encyclopedias, and magazines make great quick reads.
  • Right after dinner.

Parents are a little more pressed for time, and certainly can’t read while operating a vehicle, BUT you should make come changes, however slight, to incorporate reading into your routine, so that your children can learn from your actions. The newspaper counts. Magazines count. Online news/material counts. Just be sure that your children see you reading and see that it is important to you.

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