03 December 2015

Making Time For Reading: Guest Writer Kaitlin Krull

Making Time for Reading: How to Set up a Reading Routine with your Kids

At some point on the journey of parenthood, most of us will understand the struggle of getting children excited about reading. Turning something that can seem like a chore into a fun experience requires repetition and ingenuity. Help your kids have a positive association with reading by setting up a regular reading routine (and an awesome reading space). Here are some simple ideas from Modernize to get started. 

Start a routine
The best way to get your kids excited about regular reading is to do it yourself. While pretty much all parents know that it’s unrealistic to squeeze in some light reading on a daily basis, try to make it your personal practice to read a little almost every day. Newspapers, magazines, and young adult fiction count just as much as the classics, so don’t shy away from your guilty pleasures (unless it’s Cosmo, in which case maybe save that for after bedtime). 

Schedule a flexible reading time for kids of all ages, even babies and preschoolers. Children thrive on routine, so the more you encourage them to get reading, the more they will want to oblige. Sitting down with them for five or ten minutes at a time during the day is an excellent way to kickstart their reading routine. 

After you’ve set up your regular reading routine, make sure to keep it predictable. If you have a reading session just after lunch, try to stick to it as much as possible. The best way to stay regular is to have a designated spot for reading. Choose a quiet corner of the playroom or your kids’ bedroom and get to work decorating. 

Style your reading space

One of the most satisfying parts of reading is settling into a cozy place that can help you relax while you read. Once you’ve chosen your kids’ reading spot, it’s time to make it as comfortable as possible. 

If your reading corner is on the floor, consider laying out a high pile rug or soft faux sheepskin throw to make it extra soft and comfy. Add lots of big cushions, a blanket or two, and your kids’ favorite stuffed animals for group reading sessions. If you want to push the boat out, a canvas tent and twinkly fairy lights make for a magical reading experience and can later double up as a great den.

Keep books on or low to the ground for easy access, either in low bookshelves or wicker baskets. Most importantly, try to keep the area tidy. No one wants to spend time in a cluttered, messy space (apart from kids, but that’s beside the point) so encourage your little ones to put books away before choosing new ones.

Encourage independence
After you’ve set up your kids’ new reading corner, make sure they know how to use it themselves. While reading with your children is fantastic and definitely encouraged, it’s just as important to teach them how to access their reading materials independently. Accessible book storage is an excellent first step, so make sure everything is well within reach and there are no trip or fall hazards in the area. 

At reading time, encourage your kids to make their own book selections. As much as you may hate reading The Cat in the Hat for the hundredth time, there is something to be said for repetition. Perhaps your children are particularly interested in rhyming words or enjoy the singsong rhythm of the book. Whatever the reason, try to suspend your own personal agendas and go with the flow. 

Remember to continue to model your own reading routine alongside that of your kids. The more you read, the better chance your children will have of achieving regular independent reading time. 

Article by Kaitlin Krull


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