SummaryBreana English loves to find more time to read. Could her 5 simple, creative and family friendly ways to fit more reading into daily life work in your home?
Is it just me, or do you ever feel like sitting down with a good book is an ambition on par with owning a vacation home on a private tropical island?
Or do you wonder how you can possibly encourage your children to take time to read when it’s hard enough to convince them to put on a clean shirt once a week?
Growing up, I read everything: fiction, biographies, books about animals, how-to manuals . . . If it was printed on paper, I would devour it!
As an adult, I still love to read, but in the busyness of modern day life, it’s a struggle to find the time. I’ve found I have to be intentional about making it a priority.
But with a busy homeschooling schedule, how do you find more time to read?
1. Limit the Use of Electronics
How much time do you and your family spend on the computer, iPods or iPhones, or watching TV or movies? Can you cut down that time to free up time to read each day? Books can find it hard to compete with the noisy allure of electronics, especially among children who don’t naturally enjoy reading.
Do you turn off computers, iPhones, etc. at night? If not, consider setting a time, at least an hour before bedtime, to turn off all electronics in the house. It will free up time to read and you’ll sleep better!
Could you institute technology-free afternoons once or twice a week?
Limiting the use of electronics can help create space for reading in your family’s life.
2. Listen to Audiobooks
Over the past few years I’ve grown to love recorded books!
Look for times when you and your children can listen while you are busy with something else.
Does your car have a tape deck or CD player? You don’t have to wait for a long car trip! As you run errands around town, try listening to short stories, interesting non-fiction books, or books that you have already read and enjoy.
Can you listen to a book on tape while doing chores or cooking?
What about while you exercise?
Audiobooks can be fairly expensive, so I prefer to borrow them from the library. Most libraries now have electronic systems that allow you to download both recorded and print books directly to your iPod or iPhone. It saves you a trip, and, best of all, the books are returned automatically, so there are never any late fees!
3. Read Aloud as a Family
We tend to stop reading to children once they can read to themselves, but it’s amazing how much older children can profit from (and enjoy) being read to!
Could you carve out a little time each day, or even a few times a week, to read a chapter or two aloud as a family?
If you have older children who eat quickly, you might assign them to read a chapter while everyone else finishes breakfast or lunch.
You could set aside ten or fifteen minutes to read before or after breakfast or lunch, or before the youngest children go to bed. Keep their hands busy while you read! Having them color, build with Legos or do crafts can improve listening skills in children and make the time even more enjoyable.
If your children don’t get carsick, they can take turns reading during car trips.
Oral discussion and summarization help children grow in their comprehension skills, and often lead to amazing conversations on all kinds of topics. Reading books aloud gives you the perfect opportunity to encourage this!
As you read, or after you finish a chapter, try asking a question or two about the book. Discussion questions don’t have to be elaborate. In fact, I find that simply asking my students’ opinions is often a great way to get discussion rolling. Try questions like ‘What do you think of what this character just did?’ or ‘Was this a good ending? How would you change it?’
4. Schedule Free Reading Time as a Family
Of course, allowing children to pick out their own books is important too!
Can you find an hour or two, or even a full morning, once or twice a month for everyone to sit down together and read their own books?
Consider planning a few fun snacks, reading in your pajamas, and/or having everyone bring their pillows down and creating a comfy ‘reading nest’ in the living room (or outside, if the weather is nice!).
As summer approaches and children are impatient to be finished with school, plan to surprise them by announcing that you are all taking the afternoon off to go outside and read.
Making free reading time extra fun and special can help encourage reluctant readers.
If you have children who are too young to read, try keeping aside for this time a few special quiet toys or books they enjoy looking at. Or, there’s always naptime!
And don’t forget to choose a book for yourself! Children learn best by example, so seeing Mom get excited about sitting down with her own book can be a wonderful incentive for them to read.
5. Think Outside the Box
Besides books, are there other things you can encourage your children to read? Try to be creative in finding simple ways to work reading into your daily life.
Encourage young readers to read things that you come across in your daily life, such as signs when you are out on a walk, cereal boxes when you are eating breakfast, etc.
Mount poems on scrapbook or construction paper and post them around the house where your children can easily read them.
Subscribe to a quality children’s magazine. Magazine articles are short and easy to read, and getting something in the mail each month can add excitement for reluctant readers!
How do you find time to read? I would love to hear your tips!