Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How to Cultivate Read-Aloud Time

So you want to read aloud to your kids more...  You understand how important that can be...

Where, oh where do you start with growing those precious times of reading aloud to your kids?

Here are 5 ways to cultivate your read-aloud times!

1. Keep it Short, Do it Regularly
The key to making a habit of reading aloud to your kids is ROUTINE, ROUTINE, ROUTINE!  If your kids are young, or you haven't done very much read aloud, you'll also want to keep those time periods short as you get started. 

Plan times into your day for just sitting down and reading. In our home we start the day on the couch and end the day reading to them in bed!    This is a great place to start.  From there you can add reading for longer periods as they grow to enjoy those special times!  During these hot summer months, we enjoy sitting around in our damp swimsuits, under the fan with a good book!

2. Plan Strategically for Books that Stretch Them
For books that might be a bit of a stretch for my boys, I'll read during lunch or at bedtime.  Lunch time reading has been especially beneficial as we've transitioned into reading more 'informational' books that don't have a story involved.  With tummies being filled, they were happy to listen  and ask questions.  The downer with this is that I end up scrambling for time later to wolf down some food.   So obviously, we don't do this all the time.  Chapter books at bedtime work beautifully because they are always looking for any excuse to stay up just a bit later and my younger one's don't mind the lack of pictures as much.  We love to hear 'just one more chapter, please!'

3. Go With Your Child's Interest
Picking books that your pique your child's interest is a great way to nurture the desire to read and be read to.  This is very important with a reluctant reader/listener when you are wanting to boost your read aloud time.  Does your child like horses?  Find some stories centered around horses.  Do your active little boys like battles?  Find some engaging picture books about knights or the revolutionary war.  Meet them where they are at and pull them into the beauty of reading.

4. Choose Well-Written, Beautifully Illustrated Read-Aloud Books
Never underestimate the power of a good picture book.  When I find one with beautiful illustrations and a captivating story line, we will enjoy it over and over again.  Picture books are not just for the really young.  A good picture book will delight any age.  While my kids enjoy the Froggy books, I can only handle them in {very} small doses.  The kids find that those kinds of books 'need' to be returned to the library quickly while the more interesting or creatively illustrated books tend to stick around much longer.  I'm always game for a Tomie dePaola book (like the one's I've mentioned herehere and here) or Robert McCloskey (written about here and here).  In the next couple of weeks I'll be sharing lists of my favorite authors/illustrators and some of our very favorite books!  In the meantime, I've enjoyed the book suggestions in Honey for a Child's Heart and at Simply Charlotte Mason (picture books or by grade level) if you are hankering for some good suggestions right now.

5. Pull in Books Relating to What You are Learning About
Much of our read aloud time is centered around interesting fiction books that relate to what we are learning about!  You can do this no matter what curriculum or educational approach you use and it really goes a long way in not only creating interest in reading, but increases interest in the subject at hand too!  If you check out my books-kids category, you'll find many examples where we've done just that!

How does read-aloud time work in your home?  Would you add anything to this list?  I enjoyed reading some of your ideas on the benefits of reading aloud and I'd love to hear your thoughts on the 'how to' of this as well.

This little series on reading unofficially started with sharing about some of the little sweet rewards of reading and reliving some small portion of the story. Next we discussed some of the many benefits of read-aloud time.  I love talking books!  For the two or three weeks we'll be talking more about cultivating a love of reading for our children!


  1. Thanks for being an encouragement with this. I struggle with reading to my boys every day so I needed this list! I mean, I know it's important but it helps to hear it!

  2. I love these ideas. I like how you said you start and end the day reading. Routine is key. If I don't intentionally plan time to read, the day gets ahead of me and it doesn't happen. We often read around the table as well. But I don't always get to eat much either LOL! Your posts are full of wonderful information! I always enjoy visiting here! Thank you! www.Tips4Mom.com