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Change Your Family's Life in 20 Minutes Each Week

The "Family 20" will change your family's reading life.
on February 23, 2015

It may seem like a longshot, but I'm willing to stand by the title of this piece. You really can change your family's life in 20 minutes each week.


It's easy.

What do you do in those magic 20 minutes? You read together.

Pure and simple. You read together.

And it's not just two of you or three of you or one of you. It's all of you—the entire family.

How will this 20 minutes change your family's life?  You'll see.  Before you know it, you'll have stronger readers, more interesting conversations, and a happier family.

Here are some simple steps to follow so that you can change your family's life starting today:
1.    First things first: your partner or spouse must be on board. This must be a whole family event.
2.    Gather the family for a quick meeting.  (This could happen at dinnertime.)
3.    Explain that you are trying something new and exciting as a family and that everyone participates to make it work.  
4.    Tell them that what you're doing is called ‘The Family 20" and it will make them smarter, stronger, and more exciting people.
5.    Then tell them to park (turn off) all electronic gaming devices.
6.    Tell them to grab a book, magazine, or newspaper of their choice.  (Consider having a basket of "just right" books and reads nearby.)
7.    Set the timer for 20 minutes, and read, read, READ!
8.    Once the timer goes off, everyone shares super-quickly what they read and carries on with their lives.

Please note:
•    Now, of course, many families today have their reading material on their mobile device, and that's fine! Just make sure that reading is being done and not secret game playing!
•    Snacks make every event more fun. Consider having a few small snacks nearby.
•    Decide on the same day and time each week for your "Family 20" because that's how habitual behaviors are best created.

Why will this work?
There's strength in numbers, friends. When everyone's reading, everyone's reading. You may be pleasantly surprised at how soon kids will request a second "Family 20" or how soon those 20 minutes morph into 30 or 45 minutes.

What are you waiting for? Let's start reading!

How do you keep your family reading? Is it true what they say: The family that reads together stays together?   We'd love to hear it!

Please share your thoughts on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page, or find Amy on Twitter, @teachmama, and let's continue the conversation!

Read all posts by Amy Mascott.

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Get the latest advice, tips, and resources on helping your child read at every age and every stage. Each week, find kids' book reviews, ways to extend the reading experience, and tips on how to spark a reader's interests from our expert contributors and editors.

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