You know that you want to read to your kids more. What is stopping you from building that habit? Are you anything like me? Are you waiting until you can do it “just right”? Or waiting for the right time? Well, the right time is right now! And the rest, well, just start and it will all take care of itself. It really will.
Do any of these roadblocks sound familiar?
- I will start after we get back from vacation.
- I want to get a new book to really grab their interest.
- I don’t think my kids will sit through a story.
- I am not sure what reading level I should chose for reading aloud with them. One of them is an advanced reader and the other is struggling.
- We don’t have a consistent bedtime routine in the summer.
I have heard and/or entertained these and many other similar ones over the years. The basic theme has to do with wanting to do it “right” which prevents us from doing anything at all.
I knew that I wanted to start a blog to help you read to your kids more. But I was waiting for the right time. I needed to make sure that I have 10 articles ready to publish. I needed to do a photoshoot for my graphics. I needed to make sure that these beautiful ideas in my head come to fruition exactly the way I imagined them. Does this sound familiar to you? Can you see that I am getting in my own way as well? And the perfect becomes the enemy of the good enough and nobody benefits. Here I am, starting with my imperfect and incomplete vision and you can do it, too! We are in this together!
Now, let’s step around the roadblocks…
I will start after we get back from vacation.
Why wait? Pick up a book while on vacation as a souvenir and add to the memories you are making. Even a magazine or a travel brochure is something that you can read to your kids. It doesn’t have to be a storybook, all reading together has benefits. Or read some interesting items from the newspaper from where you are vacationing.
I want to get a new book to really grab their interest.
While this is a wonderful idea, don’t let it be a roadblock. Reading some old favorites from your bookshelves can be just as enjoyable. You have the added benefit of being able to talk about how you felt the first time you shared it together. Read something else while you wait for that new book to be delivered or until you can get to the library. You will be happy you did.
I don’t think my kids will sit through a story.
I get it. I have 3 busy boys, so I do truly get it. But do they really need to sit still to enjoy the story? They can still pay attention if they are doing something else at the same time, and sometimes this helps them pay attention even more. Try letting them have play dough or supplies for drawing or blocks for building while you are reading. Better yet, just grab something to read and start reading while they are already doing one of these or similar activities. Another time that worked for us was to read while they are eating a snack or meal. (I often read our history reading during lunch.) Also, you don’t have to read for a long time to get the benefits. Even 10 minutes is a great start. Or less if that is what they can handle. Stamina is built up over time. Any minutes are better than zero minutes.
I am not sure what reading level I should chose for reading aloud with them. One of them is an advanced reader and the other is struggling.
This is a common concern and one that I will write more about in the future. For the purpose of reading aloud, the reading level is less important than when you are choosing material for the child to read on their own. Most children can understand content on a higher reading level than they can decode on their own. So just chose something with age appropriate content and read to them. They will each take away what they can at their own level. They may even surprise you with just how much they take away from the reading. The same goes for a lower reading level. Do you love picture books? I do! I still enjoy them even though they are not on my reading level.
We don’t have a consistent bedtime routine in the summer.
That is OK. Many people don’t. You don’t even have to read at bedtime. There, I said it. You really do not have to read at bedtime. You can read at other points during the day, whenever you prefer. I will say that when you are building a habit, it helps to tie that new habit into something you do on a daily basis, but it does not have to be bedtime. You can tie it to a mealtime, a certain activity, whatever you do regularly. Or even just set an alarm on your phone and read when it goes off each day. You have the freedom to decide what works for you.
It is OK if your kids don’t fall in love with the first book you start together. It is OK even if you don’t finish it and choose something else. It is OK if your kids do something else while you read to them (mine like to build with Legos or draw). Just start. You can do it. We will figure the rest out as we go. I will help you. You don’t need to see the finish line, just the starting line.
I don’t have 10 articles to publish yet. But I am going to start with just this one. Just start. Here we go…we will do this together. On your mark, get set, START!
If you have a roadblock not discussed here, or want more ideas or encouragement to get started, let me know in the comments below. Also, if you have worked around some roadblocks yourself, please share to help others.
And stay tuned because I will be adding more resources here to help you continue to build the reading habit that you are starting today!