School is starting and that means parents are adding one more thing to their already busy lives–reading homework!
When I taught, I always asked my families to read for 20 minutes a day. It’s a common homework assignment for good reason! A child who reads 20 minutes a day will encounter close to two million words a year . . . 1.8 MILLION to be exact!
That’s a lot of words.
As students are learning to read, they benefit by hearing a variety of books. They need to not only read on their own, but also hear fluent readers as well.
Getting those 20 minutes in is one of the most important things you can do to help your child succeed. It helps
- Promote brain development.
- Encourage language development.
- Expose children to other ideas so they can see how the world works.
- Improve attention and behavior.
- Strengthen relationships between parents and children.
In the school where I taught, we always had kids who told us that the reading homework was too much. They didn’t have time.
But the truth is there are many ways you can fit reading homework into your schedule.
It just takes making it a priority and sometimes getting creative. By taking advantage of small moments you can rack up those minutes easily.
So how do you get it all in?
Here are 5 ways you can sneak in those 20 minutes of reading each day.
Read a Book Before Bed
This is something a lot of families do early on. As kids get older, it is still a great tradition to keep.
Reading one picture book before bed every night makes reading part of your normal routine. That ensures you will get at least five of those minutes of reading homework in no problem. And it’s a great way to connect with your child each day.
One bonus is that mom and dad can read books their children can’t read alone! This means that your child gets to hear higher level words which is great for their vocabulary development.
Squeeze in some of your own childhood favorites and take a walk down memory lane.
Read in the Car
This is one I would totally take advantage of if I didn’t get carsick. I knew several families who kept a few books in their car. That way their kids could get minutes in on the way to and from school!
If you have a five minute drive to school that means your kiddo could log HALF their reading time just during the drive.
Now if your kids get car sick like me, this won’t work. But if not, this is a great chance to get that time in!
Reading Homework at Snack Time/at Restaurants
These are times we don’t often think about for getting in some reading homework. If your child has a set snack time each day take that opportunity to get some reading in! It sets a specific time each day, which means you definitely won’t miss it.
If you keep books in the car as suggested above, it’s easy to grab one when you go out to eat. Instead of giving your child a phone, go ahead and read with them. It’s a great chance for you to connect with your child after a long day and eats up that waiting time.
Rally the Troops
When parents get home after working all day there’s tons to do. Between making dinner, transporting kids to and from activities, and getting everyone ready for bed, it feels like there isn’t enough time.
If your child has older siblings go ahead and get them involved!
Having your kids read to each other is a great way to get everyone’s reading homework done.
It’s sometimes difficult to get the reading in for the youngest students. Since they can’t read on their own, someone needs to help them.
(However, teaching your child to create their own stories from the picture is totally fair game and GREAT for their reading comprehension skills!)
Schools in APS have access to online books. Although I’m partial to reading a traditional book, this is a great option for when you need help getting that time in! Just contact your child’s librarian to find out their login information.
You can also get online books and books with CDs from the public library.
All of these help those younger kids hear fluent readers on days mom and dad can’t find that time.
Just make sure they are still getting some face time with physical books. Some research suggests that comprehension and learning from a text can be less effective when using screens versus traditional books.
Need more ideas to fit that reading homework in?
Here’s how some of our Albuquerque Moms Blog writers get the time in with their kids:
“My kids like to make a fort and read inside the fort.” – Jennifer Bryant
“My daughter likes to read while I do her hair.” – Kandy Scarpelli-Sandoval
“I have them read anytime we have to go somewhere that requires waiting like the doctor or dentist office. Also, sometimes if I need to get work done, we’ll go to a coffee shop and they’ll read while I work.” – Vanessa Bush
“[My kids read] while at a siblings activity. For example, my son reads while we’re at my daughter’s dance class.” – Cari Davis
And don’t forget about the Read to the Dogs Program from the Albuquerque Public Libraries!
Kids can read to trained service dogs. It’s great for reluctant readers who love animals.
No matter what your days look like finding that time to read is not only important to your child academically but in all of life.
So which techniques will you try out this year to get that reading homework done?