8 Tips to Becoming a Read-Aloud Family

I’m so excited you’re here! I hope you’ll take time to make room for reading aloud in your life.

I promise doesn’t take a heap of time in your already busy schedule and it will be well worth it.

There is no commuting | No scheduling conflicts | Win-win for the whole family

Remember, don’t try to do all the things. Try a few out and see what works best for your family.

The fire of literacy is created by the emotional sparks between a child, a book, and the person reading. It isn’t achieved by the book along, nor by the child alone, nor by the adult who’s reading aloud – it’s the relationship winding between all three, bringing them together is easy harmony.

Mem fox

1. Keep books in view and easy to reach

Forward-facing book displays are best for little ones.

Think of it like the impulse aisle at the grocery store… 2 sections of chocolate, gum, and magazines looking right at you as you stand in line to check out. Begging you to take them all home.

Being able to see the covers of books is more interesting and more inviting until kids can learn to read well enough on their own.

2. Something is better than nothing

It’s okay if you don’t read together every. single. day. Keep your expectations of yourself and your family realistic.

It’s not about checking a box on a habit tracker or logging reading minutes (really, it’s not). It’s simply about looking for small moments of opportunity that add up over time to make reading an enjoyable part of your family culture.

3. Make the most of your commute

You have to drive your kid’s places, there is no getting around it. Use that time. Squeeze in some extra bonding over an audiobook you can all listen to in the car. It’s not a replacement for sitting together and reading aloud to them, but it’s another way to create a habit of listening to stories and following along quietly.

Think of it like bonus points for read-aloud time.

4. Take advantage of dinner time

When your kids are older, mealtime is one of the few times where you’ve got a captive audience. Make a dinner routine, whoever finishes first reads aloud at the dinner table until everyone is done. Give everyone a chance to practice reading aloud and practice being an attentive reader. Lead by example!

5. Let them wiggle

Sometimes we mistakenly think that if our kids aren’t giving us their undivided attention, sitting quietly on the couch next to us, then the reading doesn’t “count.” In reality, giving kids quiet activities that occupy their hands (but not their minds) while you read can actually improve their comprehension…and increase their attention span.

Playing with playdough, colouring, doing puzzles, and building with Legos are all great read-aloud activities. You sometimes doodle while on the phone right?

6. Create the right mood

Allow your listeners a few minutes to settle down and adjust their feet and minds to the story. If it’s a novel, begin by asking what happened when you left off yesterday. Mood is an important factor in listening. An authoritarian “Now stop that and settle down! Sit up straight. Pay attention” doesn’t create a receptive mood.

7. Make it non-negotiable

Reading to your kids is a parenting SUPERPOWER Remembering this fact can make it easier to set aside time for it. Set a realistic reading schedule for your family and stick to it.

When a day feels like it’s spiralling out of control, you’ll be amazed by the calming effect of reading together. Grab a book, snuggle up, and press that super easy reset button. A favourite picture book is a great choice.

You will never, ever regret reading aloud to your children. Even if everyone ends up disliking a book you read, it’s still shared memories and time spent together. These are the things they want and need from you more than anything.

You won’t look back on their childhood and wish you’d browsed social media more often. You’ll be sentimental about the time you spent reading with them, and they’ll remember it fondly. These are the memories we all want to create.

Whatever things help you simplify reading aloud to your kids, just go for it. Move forward by trying one or two ideas and see if they help. What works for you might be different from someone else, but the goal is the same.

Simplify and prioritise read-aloud time to connect as a family!

8. Remember the art of listening is acquired

It must be taught and cultivated gradually—it doesn’t happen overnight.