Eight Tips to Fit Reading in and Make it Count

Tips to Fit reading in and Make it count:  

  1. It all adds up! You don’t have to sit down in a chair with your child in your lap for 15-20 minutes straight each day. If you read to your child a couple of minutes here and there over the course of the day, it will add up to 15 minutes each day.
  2. Have fun! How you share the book is just as important as how often you read it. Snuggle up if you have the time. Read in loud, soft or silly voices.
  3. Make it age appropriate. Babies can benefit from reading just as much as preschoolers. Here are tips on how to do it for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, first graders, second graders, and third graders.
  4. Use the book as a tool for conversation. Sure, there’s benefit in just looking at a book and reading it. However, there is exponential benefit when using a technique called dialogic reading. Ask questions about the book, in addition to reading it. We teach the “CAR” method:
    1. Comment on the picture. “Look, there’s a dog in the picture.” Then wait for the child to talk about it.
    2. Ask questions about the picture. “What color is the dog?” Then wait for a response.
    3. Respond by adding a little more on top of what your child says. “Yes, the brown dog is walking down the street!”
  5. “Reading” can happen anywhere. Weave it into your day. You don’t necessarily need a book to help your child with early literacy skills. If you’re at the grocery store, pick up a piece of produce and ask your child something about it. You can use the same “CAR” method without the book! Or while you’re in the car, ask your child what vehicle is next to you. Ask him where he thinks the person driving it is going.
  6. Bring books with you. We do a lot of waiting around each day. In the checkout line. At the doctor’s office. On the bus. Keep a couple of books with you at all times, that way you can seize those moments when you don’t have anything else to do. Giving a child a backpack with a couple of books in it can help encourage this!
  7. It doesn’t have to be the parent or main caregiver every time. Reading is beneficial to your child no matter who is doing it. And it still counts toward that 15-20 minute daily goal. Older brothers and sisters can read to their younger siblings. Grandparents and babysitters, too!
  8. Go to your library often! When children have the ability to pick out their own books, it gives them a sense of ownership and excitement. Take advantage of story time while you’re there. They do activities to teach children the six pre-literacy skills they need to start kindergarten.