Life is so busy these days, there are times when it’s a huge struggle to even listen to one of my children read after school – let alone all of them! So I’ve decided to try and work reading more into every day life so it becomes a natural thing to do – rather than a “right, it’s time to read now!” sort of thing – which never goes down well when children are in mid flow play. If like me, you’re short on time, here are some ideas to build reading into your everyday life…
- Replace devices with books – this might sound quite difficult, but it’s all about the right circumstances. Last summer I saw a mum on a ferry reading aloud to her children whilst my kids were on an iPad – I thought it was a brilliant idea. Read aloud in cafes, restaurants, trains or whatever – and ask your children to take over for small parts when you get tired! It’s definitely worth reading more challenging books aloud that they can’t read independently, to expand their vocabulary and life experiences.
- On car journeys ask your children to look for lorries and wagons and read what’s on the side – ask them to look out for their favourite shops. This is more fun than it sounds, my kids enjoyed guessing what might be inside each lorry too.
- Cook! Children love cooking and baking. Ask your children to read the recipe out to you as you make buns, soup or whatever you like – or write your own together.
- When you’re watching television, put on the subtitles. It sort of forces you to read and is actually really good for sight recognition.
- Singing – my children like to sing along to their favourite songs but aren’t always sure of all the words. I print out the words for them and the context of the line helps them to work out what each word says. Karaoke is also useful for this!
- Shopping lists – when we go to the shops I ask one of my children to read the list to me as we go along, and help find items too. It’s a surprisingly effective way of saving time on shopping too!
- A lot of reading is about motivation – when you’re choosing books from the library or book shop, focus on what your child is really into – we like the DK readers and Usborne books as they are on subjects kids are really interested in. Or focus your reading on the season, e.g. winter, Christmas – or something that’s happened to them recently, e.g. a new baby in the family.
- Make your own book! We make photobooks with captions and my kids love reading them over and over again. There’s no need to buy them online, you can just print out photos and make your own. Something nice to last forever.
So there’s some free or cheap ideas that don’t involve reading the school books – and involves lots of real life contexts that invite questions, family memories and interactions. Do you have any ideas for “in the moment” reading opportunities?
Images provided free from Pixabay.