There is something about reading that just relaxes me. Throw in a warm cup of tea and a cozy blanket, and I am a happy girl! So when our first born became interested in books as a toddler, we started reading as a family. At first, my husband and I would take turns reading aloud to our son. He would stack books as high as him on the floor, and be ready for us to entertain him with our animated voices and sidebar commentary.
Fast forward a few years and add another child to the mix, and we still read as a family. Things are slowly evolving into more reading on our own, but we enjoy doing it together!
We eat as a family and we read as a family.
Family reading may not happen every day, but we attempt it several times a week. We try and make reading a part of our nightly routine, but understand that it may not always work out for everyone at the same time. What we found is that reading forces us to slow down and helps us connect as a family.
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
– Albert Einstein
We may talk for an hour after reading. We like to finish a book and go through a comprehension review, letting our children explain what they think happened in the book. Often this leads to collaboration between the family where we basically write our own sequel to the story, by verbally telling it. I can tell you that our children have a much better imagination than we do! It is quite entertaining to hear what they can come up with.
Want to start reading as a family? Here are some quick tips for creative ways to make reading as a family fun!
We have books in every room, which means we do not always read in the same place. It is fun to change scenery and often helps with imaginative play. For us, this also helped with time away from a screen, by not always being in the living room with a television near. On nice days, we may even read outside!
Visit Local Libraries
Head to your nearest library and have everyone pick out one or more books they are excited to read. This way when you sit down at home, or even at the library, each family member has a book they are excited to read, learn and share about.
Invite Others to Family Reading
Involve extended family or friends in your reading adventures. You can do this virtually or in person, or treat it like a book club. We invited cousins to read with us and then as a takeaway, you can have the kids draw out the rest of the story and share it the next time everyone is together. Grandparents make great reading buddies too!
Make Reading Lead to Hands-On Learning
Several of our non-fiction books easily lend to follow-up activities. For example, you may be reading books on the weather. After reading, go outside and let them explain what they have learned. We enjoy watching and listening to our children explain what they have comprehended from their book. Half the time, we learn something new!
Add Food and Drinks
Popcorn or hot chocolate are some of our favorites to enjoy during family reading time. My husband tries to read ahead and incorporate any food items mentioned in the stories, if possible. Try reading recipes too! This helped our children become more involved in the meal plans for the week, by reading the ingredients or preparing a meal by reading the recipe.