I have a big confession, friend.
I’m an avid reader.
I love reading!
But, when it comes to reading to my children, I really struggle. I find myself completely forgetting, or intentionally ignoring, the task of reading aloud to my children every day.
As a homeschooling parent, this is particularly frustrating to me. I keep telling myself I have to do better. And I usually do… for a week or two.
We all know how great reading aloud to children is for their academic readiness and language growth. Sometimes, though, we still need a little encouragement and motivation to create a plan and stick to it to make sure our children are getting the one-on-one reading time with Mom (or Dad!) that they need.
So, over the last few weeks I’ve revamped my reading plan and want to share it with you. Maybe, if you find yourself struggling to make time to read to your children, too, this will help!
I write out a daily schedule and check off the tasks as we complete them.
Okay, I’ll admit I should have done this about six months ago when we started homeschooling. The problem is, I’ve had a great daily schedule in my mind… it just never made it to paper.
And you know what? Because it never made it to paper, I never really felt motivated to follow it!
In my mind, I would plan for math, spelling, writing, language arts, and all of the other homeschool tasks that involved a workbook. They’d easily get accomplished because they were tangible assignments. Then we’d get to read-aloud time and there was nothing to hold me accountable. No boxes to check showing I did it. No answers to look over and “grade.” No space to write the date of completion on the top of the paper.
Having a written daily schedule forces me to look at my plans and evaluate whether or not I’ve followed them. Reading aloud feels like the priority it is when I see it written down on my plans.
So, if you’re struggling to make the time to sit down and read with your children, put it on your schedule. Every day. Literally.
I pick out weekly reading books and put them in the middle of the living room.
I used to think, “My books are organized nicely in a bookshelf, I’ll just pull them out when I need them.”
Great plan, right?
Some days the effort to make the decision of what book to read was more than I could handle. (PMDD will do that to you, friends). I’d have the best of intentions but absolutely no follow through.
Now, I grab a handful of books and one chapter book at the start of each week and set them to the side of the coffee table in our living room. When I walk into the living room throughout the day, I’m tempted and eager to grab a book, and my children, and start reading.
The feeling of accomplishment that comes from moving the book from the “to read” side of the table to the “already read” side of the table motivates me to finish reading the rest of the books throughout the week.
So, set your books aside and you might find you actually read them!
My children choose three additional books that they want to hear every day.
Both of our kids have very different tastes in books. One likes fiction while the other is only interested in nonfiction. One likes to read the same books daily (he’s at that age) while the other meets any repeats with groans of “We’ve already read that one.”
So, in addition to the weekly reads that I pick out, my children each pick out their own books for the day. These are the books they are very eager to hear read aloud. They usually sit in my lap or close by on the couch to hear the whole story. The books I pick out are usually enjoyed best while coloring, crafting, or quietly engaging in some other activity.
Another great thing I’ve found about having my children pick out their own books is that they have started asking me to read to them more often, especially at bed time. While I struggle to initiate the task of reading aloud, I try not to tell them no when they ask for a book. Finishing some of their books at bed time has been a joy for me. I love snuggling my quickly-growing big kids, and I feel accomplished knowing that I nurtured their minds and spent quality time with them.
I tell my husband my reading goals and plans.
You know what my husband does really well? He is great at helping me achieve my goals and stick to my plans! I have found he is such a good accountability partner. He has truly achieved the balance of encouraging me and offering me grace when I’ve fallen off track.
I’ve learned through my journey that having an accountability partner helps me achieve most goals and stick to most plans. Perhaps you will consider finding an accountability partner if you struggle with making the time to read aloud to your children, too.
Maybe your husband isn’t the best accountability partner for a variety of reasons. Maybe he travels often, he’s forgetful, or it’s just not his forte. Tell a friend or fellow homeschooling mom your read aloud goals and ask her to encourage you to reach them!
How do you make sure reading gets done in your house? Leave a comment below!