Reading together as a family can be such a fantastic foundational experience (for everyone!). But, like any family activity, it’s a fine balancing act to ensure you keep it fun, engaging and something your little ones actually look FORWARD to.
That’s why our team have put heads together to come up with a simple step-by-step formula for helping you create a winning family reading routine.
First, start with the basics…
Generally, most people recommend daily reading – usually at bedtime. That’s the simplest way to create a routine, giving your child the opportunity to hear a wide variety of books, which helps to develop their language skills, broads their knowledge and is also a great way to bond as a family.
Start with YOUR own motivation. Why do you want to carve out time in your and your little’s one’s day for reading? What do you hope to achieve with it?
That’s what will help you stick to the routine in the long run.
There are so many amazing benefits to reading to your child, including:
If your reading time feels forced or out of place in your daily routine, it becomes a burden, rather than the special connecting, imaginative and fun activity everyone looks forward to.
That’s why most people opt for bedtime stories.
But if that's not possible, afternoons or before dinner might work too.
Ideally, you want to keep it at a time when you want to create quiet time, bringing energy levels down a little.
Any good routine needs a stage!
It can be helpful to have a designated reading area in your home, such as a comfortable chair or a cosy corner with pillows and blankets.
Usually, for bedtime stories, the bed does perfectly!
Even apart from your normal reading-time books, it’s good to have a variety of books and other reading materials – magazines or even comics – within easy reach. You want them to be readily available when anyone needs them.
A monthly or fortnightly library visit adds excitement – not to mention helping you save on the cost of new books.
It’s a great opportunity to let them explore and introduce new books and topics. Maybe even let them choose a few stories that take their fancy!
This works especially well as kids get older.
Let them pick some themes in advance, and then choose books around those.
It gives some direction, but also creates excitement around reading time.
Especially in their independent reading.
Having your child page through some of their old favourites is a great way to re-engage them in the joy of stories – if they’re into it, give them a whole pile to work through.
It takes time to establish a routine. Try fast-forwarding by putting structure into the process. Maybe you’ll be:
For example, 30 minutes of reading per day – that’s 20 minutes of reading together and 10 minutes of independent reading.
Don’t worry if they don’t sit still long enough in the beginning. You can gradually work towards your time frames.
Just stop, don’t force it.
If your child becomes distracted and you’re battling to settle them, close the book and continue tomorrow.
Remember: The goal is not to finish a book or read a certain amount of books, it's about creating joy! So keep it light and fun.
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