You probably already know that READING ALOUD to children is VERY good for them, specifically their brains…and hearts. It’s a beneficial daily learning vitamin for so many ages. Not just the under five set. All ages! We only just recently stopped reading aloud to my 14-year-old daughter. (Sob!)
Let me just recap the big benefits of reading aloud which you probably already know…
- It boosts cognitive development.
- It predicts literacy success later in life.
- It builds vocabulary.
- It increases a love for stories and books.
- It builds a loving relationship with a child.
- It grows a child’s empathy.
- It increases a child’s reading comprehension strategies as well as complex thinking about text, especially if you’re engaging in conversations about the text.
I could go on and on…
Reading books to your kids is AMAZING.
It’s such a simple activity but its benefits are long-lasting and far-reaching.
But, what if you’re a busy family and find it hard to fit in reading aloud with other things?
Here are practical, easy ideas for how you can fit in read aloud every day.
7 Creative Ideas for Finding Read Aloud Time
1. Read aloud at meals.
No one ever said that you have to read aloud only at bedtime. Sure, that’s a great habit to get into– one that my kids never let me skip if I was tired — but it’s not the only time you can read.
Does that sound weird? I have a busy, active, never-sit-still kiddo who only sat still (more or less) at meals so she could eat. I used this time (breakfast, lunch, snacks) to read her a picture book. Happily eating, she would actually look at the pictures and finish at least one entire story.
2. Read aloud at the library.
Grab your book bag and let your kids fill it up. Then, find a cozy spot at your library and read aloud some of the books. My library has a coffee shop so we’d sit there. Maybe yours has a bench outside or a comfy area with pillows. It’s immediate gratification to check out a book, then read it.
3. Cut out something else so you have more time in your schedule.
If you could read all the research on the life-changing benefits of reading aloud to kids, you’d sign up to read for hours a day. So just consider what a big brain-boosting gift it is and get creative about saying no to something so you can say yes to this.
4. Read aloud at bath time — be careful of library books.
Again, for those wiggly kiddos who need to be doing something while you read, the bath time story can be valuable. Sit on the floor or a closed toilet seat and while they’re playing or washing, read a chapter.
5. Listen to an audiobook in the car. (Or anytime.)
Audiobooks are wonderful. They give you a hands-free way to immerse yourself in a story. What’s more, they’re modeling for kids fluency and inflection, sharing new vocabulary words, and engaging kids in the richness of a story.
6. Invite guest readers. Like grandma. Or a big sister.
You don’t have to be the only person reading aloud to your kids. Audiobooks work. Friends or family even on a video call can read aloud.
7. Read aloud some time during the day. Even if it’s only 10 minutes.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all that we have to do in a day — work, cook, pick up, be amazing, all the things — which makes it hard to fit in reading aloud. Which is why you might just make small goals — one book, ten minutes, that sort of thing. And if you’re too tired at bedtime, read aloud in the morning.
Lastly, remember that your kids will look forward to this time and associate books with love. So lean into it. Cozy up to pillows and stuffed animals. Make reading time special and nurturing whenever possible. It doesn’t have to be perfect, there’s no such thing. Just do your best and it will be enough.
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