Although having a family reading time is important to my family, I realize that with the numerous other obligations a homeschool mama has, reading aloud as a family might not seems doable. Our family reading time is one of our favorite times of the day, but it didn’t always look like it does now. Here are five easy tips to help you and your family have an awesome daily reading time together:
1. Be choosy about the time of day.
Your family reading time will be affected by the ages of your children and your daily activities. It may also change over time, depending on how your schedule shifts through the year. Choose a time of day that is more relaxed. If your evenings are always very hectic, that probably isn’t a good time for you.
We used to read in the mornings before school until the baby became a toddler. Our family reading time suffered while our mobile little sweetie was getting into everything under the sun. To say she was distracting is an understatement. We ultimately moved our reading time to evenings after the baby was in bed and after the older kids were showered and ready for bed themselves. Changing our family reading time to evening made it a great transition into bedtime.
2. Choose books that interest your children.
If your children can’t stand fanciful stories, don’t read them. Find an author that they love, and read his or her books. My kids love Roald Dahl! On the flipside, challenge your kids to try new literature styles, too. But make sure that they are having fun. Family reading time should not be torture.
3. Read an array of books together.
Sometimes I chose books that correlate with the season or an upcoming holiday. Sometimes my selections go with what we are studying in science or history. Other times they don't match our homeschool lessons at all.
The point is that I select a wide variety of books, authors, and subjects. Changing it up keeps family reading time from getting dry and boring. Let your children suggest books they want to read. Other times choose for them.
4. Keep little hands busy.
I have been reading to my kids for a long time, ever since they were very small. I’ve even read chapter books to my three-year-olds, but to expect them to sit still and not wiggle is unrealistic. Have a special activity that your little ones can do while you read. Make sure this activity is mostly mindless like these examples:
- squeezing silly putty
- stacking and unstacking blocks
- matching socks
This kind of physical action will keep them mostly stationary and quiet while you read. They may still be moving while they do their activity, but they are listening!
5. Be consistent.
When I’ve tried to read only one chapter every week or so, I almost never finish the novel. Being consistent in your reading time is key to being successful. With too much space between reading sessions, your kids (and you) will forget what is going on in the story. Shoot for at least reading four times per week. It will start to become part of your daily routine, and your kids will miss it when you don’t read.
Happy reading to your family!
About the Author
Alicia Hutchinson is the homeschooling mom to four. She and her children love reading and history and exploring outside. They are just settling into their new home in the Minneapolis area, where they just relocated from North Carolina.
You can read more about Alicia and their homeschooling adventures, current projects, and thoughts on motherhood at her blog Investing Love.