Everyday Reading Opportunities

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Finding time to read is important to developing literacy skills for all kids. And there are many easy and convenient ways to make reading a part of each day — even when it's tough to find time to sit down with a book.

Finding the Reading Moments

Car trips, errands, and waits in checkout lines and the doctor's office are all opportunities for reading. Keep books or magazines in your car, diaper bag, or backpack to pull out whenever you're going to be in one place for a while. Even if you can't finish a book, read a few pages or discuss some of the pictures. Encourage older kids to bring favorite books and magazines along wherever you go.

Other reading moments to take advantage of throughout the day:

  • in the morning, before breakfast or getting dressed
  • after dinner, when kids are relaxed
  • bath time (with plastic, waterproof books)
  • bedtime

Reading opportunities are everywhere you go. Read signs aloud to your baby while you're driving. Ask your preschooler to "read" pictures on boxes at the store and tell you about them. And have older kids tell you what's on the shopping list.

Even routine tasks around the house, like cooking, can provide reading moments. With younger kids, read recipes aloud; ask older kids to help by telling you how much flour to measure. Give your child a catalog to read while you look at the mail. Ask relatives to send your child letters or e-mail and read them together.

Even when you're trying to get things done, you can encourage reading. If your child complains of boredom when you're cleaning, for instance, ask him or her to read aloud from a favorite book to you while you work. Younger kids can tell you about the pictures in their favorite books.

And make sure kids get some time to spend quietly with books, even if it means bypassing or cutting back on other activities, like time in front of the TV or playing video games.

Most important, be a reader yourself. Kids who see their parents reading are likely to join them and become readers, too!

Reviewed by: Laura L. Bailet, PhD
Date reviewed: February 2010

Related Resources

Web SiteReading Is Fundamental Founded in 1966, RIF is the oldest and largest children's and family nonprofit literacy organization in the United States.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.
OrganizationAssociation for Library Service to Children This organization works in cooperation with the American Library Association. The site has a list of links for parents about safe Internet surfing as well as information about finding available resources in print, nonprint, and emerging formats.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.
Web SiteLearning Beyond the Classroom Summer reading activities for kids and teens ages 4-18 from the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English.

Related Articles

Reading Books to Babies Reading aloud to your baby stimulates developing senses, and builds listening and memory skills that can help your baby grow up to be a reader.
Toddler Reading Time Reading to toddlers lays the foundation for their independent reading later on. Here are some tips.
Healthy Habits for TV, Video Games, and the Internet TV, interactive video games, and the Internet can be excellent sources of education and entertainment, but too much plugged-in time can have unhealthy side effects.
Story Time for Preschoolers Reading aloud to your preschooler is a great way to encourage learning development and to help prepare your child for independent reading down the line.
Creating a Reader-Friendly Home A home filled with reading material is a good way to help kids become enthusiastic readers. Here are some ideas.
Reading Milestones This general outline describes the milestones on the road to reading and the ages at which most kids reach them.
School-Age Readers From kindergarten through third grade, kids' ability to read will grow by leaps and bounds. Although teachers provide lots of help, parents continue to play a role in a child's reading life.

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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