Squeezing Reading in an Already Jam-Packed Day

Posted on April 23, 2012. Filed under: Education, Parenting | Tags: , , , |

So in-between homework, spelling tests, studying for other tests, extra-curricular activities, home maintenance, dinner and daily hygiene routines, we are strongly encouraged to have our children read 10-20 minutes a day. While no one is arguing the importance of such a task, many parents are wondering just where they will find the time to incorporate this routine in their already jam-packed schedules.

First thing is you must set aside a minimum of 10 minutes a day to read with your child. Maybe turn your bedtime story routine into a partner reading effort where you and your child rotate reading together. In addition, in order to get additional time in, you should encourage your child to spend 5-10 minutes pre-reading the book that you will read together. This stresses to your child that reading is something that she can do on her own.

However, for those days where unexpected things happen and your normal routine has unraveled, here are some tips on how to still get this much-needed practice in for your child.

Incorporate reading time with other tasks – While cooking dinner, doing laundry or yardwork, have your child read his book to you. Listen carefully and make sure to correct him when something doesn’t sound right. Ask him to spell words he can’t pronounce if you are unable to break free long enough to take a look yourself. It is important to still try and make the necessary corrections during this time even if you can’t give your child your undivided attention.

Read on the go – Have to make an unexpected trip? Have your child read her book in the car on the way. Book lights are a great tool to stock in your car to use when you have no natural sunlight. Follow the same tips of asking your child to reread anything that doesn’t quite sound right and to spell out those words she does not know.

Bring books to doctors’ and/or other appointments that your children attend with you. While these places usually have books, bringing a book ensures that your child has a book that he wants to and is comfortable with reading. I also have my son bring books with him to his orthodontic appointment (as I do) so we have something to keep us busy while we wait.

Solicit siblings to assist – If you have older children in the house; recruit them to buddy up with their younger sibling for a short reading session.

In addition, if you have multiple little ones, you can all partner up and read together. You will find this much easier than trying to read with each of them separately. Key tips when doing this is to make sure that all the children can easily follow along. You want her to be able to see the words that your other child is reading. This allows her to learn to recognize words that she may not have known herself. Allow the children to correct each other first and only step in when none of them are able to figure it out. Allow extra time for this task so that each child is getting ample time to read. You may also want to select longer books so that you can stick to one book a night.

Computer Reading Programs – Have your child use a reading program where they can read a story and hear it read back to them. While this isn’t a replacement for having human interactive while reading, it can be used as an alternative when you are pressed for time.

Have an avid reader who wants to read every chance he can get or just want to encourage your child to read more? All the tips above can also be used to get some extra reading time in. Also, here are some additional ideas to squeeze in some extra reading time.

Read together – Usually my weekends are my time to catch up with personal reading. Just last week my step-daughter saw me reading and wanted to read her book as well. What I thought was going to be a nice silent reading session outside in the backyard turned into each of us sharing our books aloud a page at a time. No I didn’t get to read as much as I wanted to but it was really enjoyable for both of us and she even bookmarked her place and asked if we could do it again when she came back from her Mom’s. The bonus is that I tend to read self-help books so I felt that she was getting a little lesson out of it as well. It was an all-around win-win!

Have books readily accessible – Many Moms have emergency kits in their cars that consist of an array of items (such as snacks, toys, extra clothing, blankets, etc) just in case. Make sure books are a part of that kit so that if (or should I say when!) your child is looking for something to do during that long car ride or while waiting somewhere, reading is an option.

The key is to maximize your time as much as you can. Ten minutes can easily be found if you take advantage of those empty moments in your day.Readingcan be done almost anywhere and anytime and by not being afraid to capitalize on these unconventional opportunities, you lift the boundaries on reading in your child’s mind. What are unique ways that you make reading fit in your day? Please let me know, I am always looking for new tips!

Need tips on how to help your child overcome reading challenges? Please click here to view my previous blog on the topic.

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