Drop Everything And Read
School is out. Summer has begun. But as a teacher by trade and a Mom who likes her children to succeed and grow and continue learning no matter the season, we will be reading every day this summer.
First of all, my kids love the library, they love books, and they love reading. I wrote this exact post almost 3 years ago, and my son was only 2 at the time and my daughter was only 3. I started bringing Julia to the library by the time she turned 6 months for the baby story time class. I started bringing Marky when he was 4 months. I think Micah was 2 weeks old the first time he went on his first trip to the library!
Now, reading is a whole new ball game! Both of them are actually READING! Julia started reading fluently this year in First Grade (technically she's a Kindergartner by age by I homeschooled her a year early because at 4 1/2 she was ready for Kindergarten material). Mark started reading mid year and he is in Pre-K. He just turned 5, 2 weeks ago.
Before when we did DEAR time they were choosing books they loved hearing and reviewing the pages and reliving the stories by memory. (A great starting point for babies and toddlers). I will never forget picking up Julia from Sunday School class when she was 3 and hearing her teacher say, "Julia CAN read already?" Julia was in the middle of the floor "reading" a book. "Well," I answered, "Not quite, she's using her imagination, looking at the pages, and predicting what the story is about." But because she was such an animated reader she even had the adults fooled!!!
Why Allotted Reading Time Works
1. My kids like to predict what they are doing next! Since they know we do DEAR time 20 minutes before nap time, they grab their pile of books, maybe a pillow and get comfy on the rug or couch. It's just part of our calm down routine in the afternoon.
2. Start kids young! Micah, who's only 1, walks around during this reading time and listens to each big kid read. He even joins them sometimes for a snuggle or he sits in my lap and wants me to read to him.
3. The kids can ask me how to pronounce words they don't know! They are broadening their vocabulary by choice! I just love it!
4. The kids ask me questions about the plot and characters or information they are reading. It's like a school lesson without it being planned. This past week Julia chose a human body book for kids and it showed how a baby grows and gets nourishment inside the mother's body, how it breathes, why it cries when it is born, etc. Julia was amazed! We talked about that for a lot during reading time and afterwards. It was a great learning time for her.
5. Encourages the young ones to model the good reading they hear. Mark is so determined to read Julia grade level books now! He is pushing himself to read harder material because he sees her enjoyment of reading.
6. It gives parents (Moms) a time to read a magazine, a devotional, the Bible and model good reading to the kids. Our kids should always see us learning more, and gaining knowledge. We want them to see that reading and research and learning is a life skill, that it is important and that there is incredible value. We have to model it!
7. It encourages my kids to want to read even more throughout the day because if they start a book they haven't finished they bring it to nap time and read it, or they wake up and want to finish it. It cuts out "I'm bored!" And it limits TV time. We rarely watch tv during the day. I want my kids playing outside, using their imagination, or reading, writing or coloring. I don't want them in front of an IPAD or TV. Seriously. I don't.
How to Start it:
1. Grab some books for your kids.
2. Set the timer! We started at 10-15 minutes when they were 2 and 3, now we go for 20-30 minutes. You know what your kids can handle.
3. Choose a cozy spot. Add pillows, a favorite blanket or beach towel or find a soft rug.
4. Set some reading rules: Read quietly, Whisper read, After you finish a book start a new one, do not get up from your cozy spot, do not disturb your friends aka siblings, etc.
5. Model reading with them!
6. Try to do it at least once a day at the same time to start a routine!