5 Ways to Spend More Time Reading as a Family

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written by Jodie Rodriguez, Growing Book by Book

Are you craving more family reading time? Try these ideas to spend more time together with great literature while at the same time building great memories

Family Dinner Book Club

We have been doing Family Dinner Book Clubs for over six years.  Each month we enjoy a book together as a family.  Then, we let the book inspire a special meal for our book club discussion.  For example, reading Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White might inspire a farm menu or perhaps a dinner filled with state fair foods.  Remember all those items that Templeton gorged himself on.  We make special table decoration crafts.  Then, during dinner, we talk about the book. Sometimes we even follow up with a family service project inspired by the book.

Sometimes our year of Family Dinner Book Clubs has a theme to them.  One year we traveled around the world and this year we are focusing on celebrations. I have over 70 Family Dinner Book Clubs archived for you to enjoy too on my site, Growing Book by Book.

For a scaled-down version of Family Dinner Book Club, try Cookies & Bookies.  Make a new cookie recipe together and read a themed book. For example, read The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord and then make sandwich cookies.

Food and books go together like socks and shoes. They are great partners.

Traveling With an Audiobook

Planning a road trip soon?  Load up your digital library app with great audiobooks.  One of our family’s favorites is The Wild Robot by Peter Brown. And, you can’t go wrong with any of the Beverly Cleary’s series.

You will also find a list of favorite audiobooks here on Imagination Soup.

Even if you aren’t planning a long trip, we enjoy listening to audiobooks while running errands.  Want to complete a story in one short car ride, try podcasts? My kids have enjoyed the podcast, 6 Minutes.  You guessed it, each episode is only six minutes long.

Book and a Movie

One of the biggest motivators for getting my family to read together is the reward of watching a movie when we are done.

We select a book that has been turned into a movie. First, we read the book and then we watch the movie comparing the two. Spoiler alert…the book wins almost every time.

We are currently reading Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo and will be watching the newly released movie with donuts very soon.

Find a list of books adapted into movies here on Imagination Soup.

Reading Challenges

I appreciate an achievable challenge. Reading challenges can be a simple way to motivate more reading in your household.

One month you could pledge to read in four new locations as a family. One week go to a coffee house. Other destinations could be a park bench, blanket on the grass in the backyard, piled up in a bed together, or the library.

Another month, you might try to read the book that won the Caldecott Award for each birth year of the members of your family.

I have 12 reading challenges you can download on Growing Book by Book.

Monthly Book Buys 

If I could only pick one thing to motivate my family to read more, it would be to let each member pick a book they each want to read and buy it.

We borrow countless books from the library each month, but there is something about building your own personal library that makes reading extra special.

If my kids fall in love with a book at the library, we buy it. If it’s part of a series, we seek other books in that series. My oldest son is on a quest to collect every Boxcar Children and Dog Man book out there. And, my youngest son wants every Goosebumps book he can get. They each have bookshelves in their room for their reading collections.

They are building reading memories one book at a time and I couldn’t be more delighted.

I hope these ideas inspire you to carve out more time to read with your family. Imagine all the amazing reading memories you will be building together.

Thanks so much to Melissa for allowing me to share these tips with the Imagination Soup community. Melissa has lots of terrific reading recommendations here. I also invite you to the Growing Book by Book community if you have or work with children ages 0-8. I specialize in read-alouds for young children, book activities, and building pre-reading skills.

About Jodie Rodriguez

Jodie Rodriguez is a mom of two young boys and an early childhood/elementary educator with over 20 years of experience. Jodie’s passion is helping parents, teachers, librarians and anyone else interested in nurturing and reaching ALL of our youngest growing readers.

Note from Melissa: Isn’t Jodie amazing? She really knows literacy and how to make reading engaging to children. I’m grateful for her wisdom and encourage you to check out her blog and many resources on Growing Book by Book.

5 Ways to Spend More Time Reading as a Family

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    Hi! I’m Melissa Taylor, mom, writer, & former elementary teacher & literacy trainer. I love sharing good books & fun learning resources.

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