Finding time to read with your child can be difficult. If I were thinking about how to teach my child to read, finding the time is one of the first steps. In addition to being a certified teacher, I’m a parent also. I bet you’d think I wouldn’t struggle to find time to read with my child, right? Wrong!
I struggled to find time to read to my daughter. Like a responsible parent and teacher, though, I did my research and I found some great ways to read with my daughter with limited time!
Hearing books read aloud is one of the single most determining factor in a child’s success in reading, especially during the the early years. When I was trying to figure out how to teach my child to read, these ways to find time to read have helped immensely:
- Make a Schedule
- Have a plan!
Make a Schedule
All families and kids are different. Some have activities early in the morning. Others in the afternoon. Some eat dinner at 5, others not until 8.
There’s no ONE right time to read to your kids.
If you can find 20 minutes a day to read to your child or even have your child listen to a book, you can improve your child’s reading.
Some times that I’ve found work really well for reading:
- While making a meal
- After eating a meal
- In the car (I’ll get to this)
- Before bed
- WHENEVER IS BEST FOR YOUR FAMILY
Audiobooks and Podcasts
Have you listened to an audiobook? Maybe a podcast? Or you’re subscribed to 10 different podcasts on your favorite podcast app? No? Then, I’m sure you’ve listened to talk radio. Or you’ve listened to your mom tell the same story for the millionth time (and details are being increasingly exaggerated).
No matter how you’ve consumed audio content, you got drawn in by the voice and the story. Audiobooks and podcasts just happen to be the latest iteration of the oral tradition, which is probably one of the oldest human traditions.
As an adult, can’t find time to read at home? Download an audiobook from Amazon or Audible. All of a sudden your commute is your time to “read” a book from your favorite author. Doing the dishes or cleaning the house turns into learning time.
Most times when we can’t read or watch something, we can still listen to audio. Reading books aloud or having books read aloud to you is just plain efficient. That’s why when I was thinking about how to teach my child to read, I incorporated audiobooks.
IT’S THE SAME FOR OUR KIDS!
As a parent, one of your big worries is that your child will fall behind in reading. I know. It’s one of my main worries as a teacher for my students. That’s always one of the first questions I get from parents at parent teacher conferences and then: How to teach my child to read? It’s a worry of mine for my own daughter, AND I’M A READING TEACHER!
Isn’t listening to audiobooks NOT reading?
Why do we read? We read to learn, to be entertained, and to be informed. When we listen to audiobooks, we do ALL of these things. What’s more, we experience language structures we would not normally come into contact with in normal conversation.
Actually reading words on a page is just a part of what reading is. Understanding a book and the language used is far more important.
Listening to an audbiobook IS READING.
There are certainly other parts of reading, and audiobooks cannot replace all of reading, but in a pinch, it gives you and your child more exposure to books and stories that you may not have been able to find time for. Want to know how to teach you child to read? Have them listen to a book: audiobook or regular book.
Let me hit you with some research:
Who am I? I’m just a teacher, father, and reader who loves picture books and reading them. If you’ve ever taught young readers, it’s almost immediately evident which kids have been read to at home and which haven’t. In my experience, those kids are the ones who advance in reading far faster than those who have not been read to.
What’s crazier? My bilingual students who have been read to in their first language also learn how to read far faster in their second language. That is, my English dominant students who have been read to at home in English learn how to read in Spanish faster than my Spanish dominant students who have not been read to in Spanish at home.
Don’t take my word for it though. Check this out:
When should I stop reading aloud to my kids?
Reading out loud to kids no matter what age is engaging. Reading books aloud, whether chapter books or picture books, draws people in. The illustrations and photos in picture books pull you into a completely different place. I’ve seen wordless books like A Stone For Sascha tell stories so complex that middle school students spent a half an hour debating about the ending and the theme. Even picture books give kids a lot to discuss.
Emma Rodero, a professor at Pompeu Fabra University, said:
“Audio is one of the most intimate forms of media because you are constantly building your own images of the story in your mind and you’re creating your own production.”
Have a Plan
Do you want to teach your child about the history of voting rights in the United States? Grab Lillian’s Right to Vote.
Want to teach figurative language forms like metaphor, simile, or personification? Bam! Owl Moon, it is!
Trying to teach comprehension strategies with chapter books? Boom! The Wild Robot.
Knowing what books to read to your kids for what you want to teach them is important.
Having good questions to ask them as you read or they read is ESSENTIAL. You don’t have the time to do that, though.
Figuring out what questions to ask that are appropriate for your child’s age is even HARDER!
You’re not a trained teacher.
You don’t plan out reading aloud to your child daily nor do you have the time!
That’s why I want to give you a free lesson for one of my favorite books to read aloud as well as the questions I ask. If you’re a homeschooling parent or you just want to have your child practice writing, there are also writing activities.
These lessons are designed by me, a certified reading teacher, to be used in a classroom, but the questions as well as things to look at are just as good to use with your child at home.
You can download the lessons, questions, and writing activities by signing up with your email below.