Guest post from Sarah of Early Bird Mom
Reading to kids regularly is a fabulous frugal summertime habit. It costs little to nothing if you get your books from the library or trade with friends, and it’s a great way to spend quality time together.
My mother tells a story of how she started reading to me when I was just a few months old. Actually she was reading Little House books to my older step-sister and I came along for the ride. That tradition continued in our family until I was well-established as a bookworm myself. Now that I have 4 boys of my own, reading together is a favorite activity in our house as well.
Reading to your kids isn’t automatically an easy thing to do, especially if you have kids of multiple ages or have a very active kid who doesn’t like to slow down to listen. If you’d like to spend more time reading together with your children, here are 10 tips to help you get started!
Here are 10 tips for reading aloud to kids:
1. Make it a habit.
Pick a reading time and put it on your schedule. After breakfast? At bedtime? After lunch? If you work it into your day, you’ll be more likely to do it and your kids will come to count on it.
2. Stop before they get tired.
Some kids can listen to books for hours. Some will only sit for 5 minutes – try to stop before your kids get antsy.
3. Remember that picture books aren’t just for babies.
There are lots of great picture books for elementary school and beyond.
4. Don’t require kids sit still.
If your kid won’t sit quietly while you read, never fear! Lots of kids listen better (and retain tons) while playing as you read. Offer Play-Doh, toy cars, crayons, or Legos. My 3-year-old has a habit of getting out his fire trucks when I start reading. He will stop playing to come see the pictures every now and then.
5. Don’t be afraid to dump a book that’s not working.
I’ve had plenty of duds – either the book was too long or my kids just weren’t interested. There’s no point in forcing a book that no one wants to read. There are too many other great books waiting to be enjoyed.
6. Turn the story into a craft.
If you’re feeling extra crafty, you can find easy projects to go along with most children’s books on Pinterest.
7. Keep your car stocked with books.
You never know when there will be an opportunity for an impromptu reading sessions with the kids.
8. Use audiobooks!
These are great for quiet time and car trips.
9. Keep a list of books you’ve read together.
Kids will enjoy looking back over the list and remembering their favorites. You might even get them to write a short review.
10. Build up their attention spans.
If your kids aren’t used to long read-alouds, start small. A short chapter of a Lemony Snickett book only takes 10 minutes. Shut the book when it’s done and your kids will be begging for more!
Reading aloud is an excellent habit to build with your kids! If you’re not completely convinced, read my 9 reasons to read to your kids this summer.
What are your best tips for reading aloud to your kids?
Sarah Mueller is a child of God, wife and homeschool mom to 4 boys, from toddler to teen. She loves helping busy moms develop simple systems to help their homes run more smoothly. You can find her at Early Bird Mom.
Download our FREE Kid’s Summer Reading Printable Pack!
Looking for a fun way to encourage and motivate your kids to read more?
Be sure to download our FREE Kid’s Summer Reading Printable Pack! It comes with a reading challenge, reading time tracker, and fill-in-the-blank summer reading list.