Even though COVID-19 has created a sea of unfortunate disruptions to the daily routines of people around the world, it’s very important to make time for yourself and your family. One of the best ways to do that is through family reading! Here are a few tips you can use to foster family reading habits. 

It’s important for kids to enjoy reading so they can reap the long term benefits as they mature, and for this to happen, it’s crucial that they fall in love with books at their own pace. Revoking TV privileges and reducing screen time might not be the best way to encourage healthy reading habits since shutting the TV off will not peak a child’s interest in books. While reducing screen time for children has been shown to scientifically improve a child’s cognitive and physical health, instead of setting a limit on TV time, setting a minimum on reading time for your kids to explore and develop their passion for reading might be more effective. 

Now, how can you help them create a habit of reading for a couple hours or more everyday? Making use of small pockets of time here and there will allow you to fit helping your child acquire strong reading habits into your busy routine. To make them feel a sense of accomplishment, have your kids read their books to you and give them a small reward afterwards! While preparing dinner, have your kids seated around the table or kitchen and they can all take turns reading a book. This way, the whole family will get to spend quality time together while giving the kids a great learning opportunity!

Sometimes, all it takes for children to get in the zone of reading is an environment that suits the task they’re about to accomplish. Setting up a reading fort or reading corner in the house where the whole family can lounge might make reading a much more appealing task. One can be easily created with a few chairs, shelves, a rug, and small knick knacks for decorations! You can spruce up the scene by painting some book stands and adding colorful pillows and blankets to set the mood for a nice family reading session. Doing this an hour or two before sleeping will put children in a calm mood and also help them get ready for bedtime. 

If your kids are a little older, reading books together as a family can still help you and your children to incorporate reading into your daily routines. Hold small family book club meetings  through which you can keep each other accountable for reading! First pick a book to read and then come up with a daily or weekly reading schedule where you either read together and talk about the book, or read separately and then express your thoughts and opinions about the book! The power of reading is like none other and by holding mini book club sessions, not only will young adults read more, but parents will get the opportunity to read more with them as well!

No matter what age you are, reading allows you to improve your critical thinking and emotional intelligence, keeps your brain active and healthy, and can temporarily transport you to another headspace in which you can take a break from the busy happenings of your daily life. These tips are sure to help your family become better at group reading and share some quality time together. Happy reading! 

Join African Library Project in Together We Read!

Join African Library Project in Together We Read! A reading and fundraising event celebrating literacy and community. Focusing on youth in North America and Africa, Together We Read! will use a readathon format to encourage summer reading for 3-weeks beginning July 12. If you have any questions or would like to partner with us for Together We Read!, email togetherweread@africanlibraryproject.org.

Written by Shreya Sundar

Youth Ambassador