Carving out family reading time is easier than you think—and a great way for families to connect and have fun at the same time. Here's how to make it a habit:
- Nourishing the Meal Time Have your kids read recipes aloud to you while you’re cooking dinner. From ingredient lists to cooking directions, this kind of family reading will help build vocabulary, fluency…and dessert!
- Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? While your family is eating together, discuss what your favorite characters would have for dinner – Harry Potter might like pumpkin juice and chocolate frogs while Geronomo Silton could crave some cheese! Incorporating characters of favorite stories into your eating routine is a delicious way to promote deep thinking about character traits and motivation.
- Story Charades Choose a story your family knows well — like a well-read book or fairytale — and act out the beginning, middle, and end of the story. If you have more family than characters, a few could do the acting and the others can be the audience or be the narrator. This activity helps readers reexamine and understand story lines and details.
- Who Am I? Choose one of your child’s favorite book characters, then describe his or her personality traits, problems, and physical descriptions until she guesses the character’s identity. This game is a fun way to pass time when you’re stuck in traffic or at a bus stop.
- Book Nooks Create “book nooks” with your child. Book nooks are comfy places to sit and read. They should have good lighting and containers filled with sticky notes, colorful pens, pencils, and a small dictionary. Book nooks will motivate your children not only to read, but to select favorite parts with sticky notes, or look up words they don’t know.
- Marking the Spot Making book marks together is a great, simple family reading activity. Just cut bookmark-sized cardboard from cereal or shoe boxes, then get crafty! Use brightly-colored markers to write titles, authors, and favorite quotes. Younger readers can draw or cut and paste pictures from old magazines.
- Reach Out and Read Boost family reading by involving loved-ones who live far away. Using Skype or another video conferencing program, have your child share a book with relatives. Make sure the book is one that your reader has read a few times already; repetition is a fantastic way to enhance reading skills. Younger readers love to show-off their fluency, and oral reading builds confidence. Grandma will be pretty thrilled as well.
- Kid Karaoke Download songs and their lyrics for a family karaoke night. Seeing words and singing them at the same time is a fun way to develop vocabulary…and practice your Elvis impersonations!
- Family Reading Web pages Using simple and free online programs, create a family reading Web page. Include sections for each family member’s book reviews, favorite book lists, “authors I’d like to lunch with” lists, pictures of famous authors, links to local libraries, kid-safe fan pages, and reading games.