Reading with our children, starting today.

Out of all of my interests and hobbies, and work and everything else I enjoy doing, nothing brings me more pleasure than reading with my son (or watching his papa read with him).  It’s truly the most simple thing in the world, but I love just sitting down with him, a few minutes each day and reading with him.  Recently, I listed to a video, and they said:  It’s JUST as easy NOT to do something, as it is to do it.  AND this is why a lot of us get turned around, because NOT reading with our kiddos each day is JUST as easy as reading with them.  It’s a bit of an effort to get into the schedule, but once you are there, it’s a breeze.

I’m not judging if you have yet to get started.  My son did K last year at a Catholic school in our neighborhood, and we read with him maybe 2-3 times each week, and not even that often this past summer, but things have changed, and you can quickly go from not reading with your child to reading with them once or twice per day, every day of this year.

I have to give major kiddos to my son’s teacher, because at the end of October she sent home a simple reading log.  The instructions were that each time you read with your child, or they read, you logged it.  You also were able to rate if the book was easy, or just right or hard. Each Friday the folder was due back to the teacher.  Well, I have taken this little assignment and we have totally ran with it.

It took a while to really get started, and get into a groove, but now my son knows that he needs to read, and sometimes we read in the AM and PM.  He, like most boys that are six in 2018, loves his iPad.  He loves to play this snake game on there, he plays Madden, he builds teams, he builds things on mind-craft, he watches wrestling on YouTube, he watches other kids play Madden on YouTube.  Though, the iPad is a reward, and first we must read.  I also try to limit the iPad to post math or post reading times but at times he gets too much iPad.  Instead of fighting the iPad time constantly or feeling guilty that he was on it too long, we increased our reading time.

And holy moly does practice make perfect.

At first, when we started reading consistently, he was able to get through just a few pages of a book, and then really get exhausted, or we got exhausted of correcting all of the words.  Then, his stamina increased and he started reading more and more pages, yet still needed a lot of corrections.  Then, I noticed he still took his time but was able to sound out a lot of words he didn’t know.  Then, his reading went from reading just 3-6 pages, to be able to get through 18 pages of a book.  Now, I noticed, that he’s reading quicker and he’s able to sound out all words, because he knows them or is more familiar with them.  Most lately he’s comprehending what he’s reading.

This is obliviously a good thing, but we’re doing a lot of stopping because he’s perplexed in his little wise boy brain why he’s reading that Curious George spilled BLUE ink everywhere, but he color on the page is BLACK!  “Mom, is that really BLUE ink?”  We were reading a Bernstein Bears book, and there was a Santa, but he was a bear in the photo.  He’s like “Mom, does that REALLY look like Santa to you?” while rolling his eyes!  Needless to say, watching him progress in his reading skills makes me laugh, and makes me proud at the same time.

He has a personality that makes this daily exercise easier than other children.  Even if he sighs loudly, rolls his eyes, tells me he doesn’t want to read, he still will get it done.  I don’t ask him to sit me or his father for an hour straight reading, but 10-20 minutes of reading and chatting, once in the AM and once in the PM is doable.  At first, we skipped reading on Fridays and Saturdays, but now, we read then too.  We either read in the AM (especially on Fridays), or read during the day.  The best part is that it’s easy to quickly ask your child to sit and read with you, and make it a surprise read.  Especially when he asks for the iPad, I tell him he can certainly have it, but let’s get through 15 pages of Amelia Bedelia first.  He might be reading too much of those books, because he told me I remind him of Amelia Bedelia, and if you read these books, that’s not a good thing! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Where did I get all of the books?

His sister is 15 so we had so many neat ones from her childhood!

Also, I went on a local mom’s FB group and asked if any mamas had books their kids outgrew.  A local beautiful mama shared all her books with me!  We are keeping the ones we have in great condition, and once my daughter outgrows them, we’ll share them with another family as well.

How do you get started?

I need to get reading with my daughter, because we don’t read yet with her, but this is the best way I figure we’ll get started.

First, have your child repeat the words or sentences from a book.  We have a Daniel Tiger neighborhood book, and this is what I do with Alegra.  I have her repeat one word or a few words at a time.  When she gets older, I’m going to read the “harder” words, and she can fill in with the easier site words like “I” or “the” or “one”.

And if your child is already 5 or 6, they can certainly look for the words they know and fill it in.  We haven’t re-read a lot of the books, but this is an awesome practice too.  They might use their memory to remember the words, but even so, they are learning how to recognize the letters and what they spell.  It’s fun to see my son read a book we read a while ago, and see how much he’s improved, and what he already remembers from reading it in past.

We lay down my daughter to bed at 730-8pm.  Once she’s in bed, we go and lay down with my son and either my husband or I read with him, for a few minutes.  If he’s absolutely exhausted or passing out – this is not the time to do this, and let your child go to sleep.  But my son is usually still pretty awake and can do 10-20 minutes of reading.  You can always move up bedtime by a few minutes to get some alert time with your little boo boo.  Also, when my son wakes up and we have extra time – I love reading with him in the morning best. He’s fresh and rested and what better time than to get his brain active and reading and comprehending.  It’s just my favorite.  We do this each weekend because we have extra time to lay in bed and snuggle and read and just relax.  We don’t have to rush to get ready to go to school, and the most perfect way to kick off a weekend.

Make it a habit.  If you get started today – it’s the most perfect day.  And then do the same for tomorrow.  If you have to start off with one page, go for it.  There’s no rush, but be ready to see progress.

Log it.  Log what you are reading, with a little log or enter into a notebook.  Maybe show your child what you will be logging to get them excited about this as well.  How fun will it be to see their enthusiasm and confidence build as the pages fill out.

No stress.  I know it can be stressful to start reading with someone that doesn’t like reading or doesn’t believe they are good at reading just yet. So keep it light and keep it fun.  I don’t mind helping with words, or having him re-read some pages.  I don’t mind cutting his reading short if he’s feeling tired.  I know as working-loving-caring parents this is at times the last thing we want to do – but fake it till you make it.  Get a few pages in, log it, and be proud that your little human went to sleep by working out that brain one final time that day.

I want my children to feel excited about going to school.  A lot of interest in education and learning is dependent if children feel confident in their ability to learn and their actual knowledge and learning skills.  Reading is a simple yet such a beautiful practice, and if we can help them start to love it a tiny bit more than they did yesterday – it’s a true WIN, and an ongoing WIN for life.

Cheers beautiful people.  Let’s all do tiny little things to set our children up for a lot of personal and humble success.





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