Whether your child is a baby, a preschooler, or old enough to
read independently, finding time to read is important to developing
literacy skills. And there are many easy and convenient ways to
make reading a part of every day - even when it's tough to find
time to sit down with a book.
Finding the Reading Moments
Car trips, errands, and waits in checkout lines and the
doctor's office are all opportunities for reading. Keep books
or magazines in your car, diaper bag, or backpack to pull out
whenever you're going to be in one place for a while. Even if
you can't finish a book, read a few pages or discuss
some of the pictures. Encourage older kids to bring favorite
books and magazines along wherever you go.
Other reading moments to take advantage of throughout the
- in the morning, before breakfast or getting dressed
- after dinner, when kids are relaxed
- bath time (with plastic, waterproof books)
Reading opportunities are everywhere you go. Read signs aloud to
your baby while you're driving. Ask your preschooler to
"read" pictures on boxes at the store and tell you about
them. And have older kids tell you what's on the shopping
Even routine tasks around the house, like cooking, can provide
reading moments. With younger kids, read recipes aloud; ask older
kids to help by telling you how much flour to measure. Give your
child a catalog to read while you look at the mail. Ask relatives
to send your child letters or e-mail and read them together.
Even when you're trying to get things done, you can
encourage reading. If your child complains of boredom when
you're cleaning, for instance, ask him or her to read aloud
from a favorite book to you while you work. Younger kids can tell
you about the pictures in their favorite books.
And make sure kids get some time to spend quietly with books,
even if it means bypassing or cutting back on other activities,
like time in front of the TV or playing video games.
Most important, be a reader yourself. Kids who see their parents
reading are likely to join them and become readers, too!
Laura L. Bailet, PhD
Date reviewed: February 2007
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice,
diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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