We love books (you probably knew that already) and encouraging family reading time, but we know it’s not always easy in a busy home. The benefits of family reading are humongous, from inspiring a love of reading books in young children to helping you connect as a family. Most of all, it’s just really fun!
So forget thinking about reading as something you need to tick off your list and instead imagine storytime as an amazing show that’s about to begin and the grins and giggles will naturally follow. Ready for 6 tips to transform your reading routine? Places, everyone…
1. Scout out new books to read
Make choosing what you’re going to read part of the excitement of reading together. Plan a visit to a local bookshop or a public library to discover new books. Have fun browsing all the different children’s books available and encourage your child to pick a book so they feel part of the process. All that browsing is hard work, so a break at the cafe for cake afterwards is advised.
2. Plan regular story sessions
It helps to have a bit of a plan to make sure you have time for reading together as a family. Start with ten or twenty minutes a day or create a dedicated family reading night. Try and pick a time when there is least likely to be any distractions. Once you have a regular routine you can build on it with extra opportunities to read, especially during holidays when you might have more time to fill! We’ve got lots of ideas to help you build a reading program with our downloadable activity sheet.
3. Set the scene (and try a reading den)
Reading at bedtime all snuggled up in jimjams is a great way to wind down at the end of the day, but it doesn’t have to be the only time – or place – that you read. For some daytime reading, build your very own reading den or book nook (some cushions, a big blanket across chairs, plenty of snacks and you’re ready). Or take inspiration from the book you’re reading. Story set outside? Take it to the garden or park to read. A book about the ocean? Read it (carefully!) in the bath.
4. Add some audience interaction
At the theatre, the special effects, costumes and chance to interact with the characters are the best bits for kids (oh yes they are!). Bring some of that buzz to reading time and have fun as a family reading aloud your favourite book. Luckily, it’s easy to zhuzh up (technical term) storytime. Try out silly voices when reading aloud or use props and fancy dress based on the book (just don’t let the cuddlies argue over who gets to be the Gruffalo again!).
5. Go off script
The joy of reading doesn’t have to stay stuck to the page. Inspire little ones to get excited by their favourite characters and stories wherever they are with simple games. Dream up the sequel to a famous children’s book. Play book charades – acting out popular stories. Host a themed dinner and imagine characters from the book were there. Make bookmarks that match a treasured book. The ideas are endless!
6. Invite a special guest
Give yourself a well-deserved break and enlist another grown-up to make a guest appearance at storytime (for one night only it’s… Grandpa!). If a friend or family member is over, get them to throw on the storyteller’s majestic cape (real or imaginary) and tell a tale or two. You can even read with family further afield thanks to all the snazzy technology at our fingertips.
Mind buzzing with new ideas to try out? We hope so! If you’re looking for some books to get you started, browse our bestselling personalised books starring the whole family.