Updated: Jan 8, 2020
Getting kids reading can be a challenge. I expect my kids to read every day but lately it has become a bit more of a chore for them. Instead of "Yay, we get to read!" it has become "Why do we have to read? Can't we just play?"
I knew it was time to make a change to get them loving reading again. Our routine had been for the girls to read at night time before bed for at least half an hour. I would get the kids in their pyjamas and we would all curl up together in the lounge room and read books from our collection and the library. After they had read on their own or to a sibling, they would all pile onto the lounge with me and I would read three or four books to them before they went to bed.
This worked great for the first half of the year but I think the routine was starting to get old for the kids and when it came to reading time they would just want to play. Changing their reading time to during the day didn't seem to make a difference as playtime seemed to always be the daytime priority.
Then last week I read a blog post about reading with kids and the writer (I can't remember which blog since I read so many) had mentioned that she lets her kids read at bedtime as long as they want. I stopped and really wondered about that for us. We have always been strict with bedtimes and have expected the kids to be in bed on time each night but I wondered whether this would work for us.
I sat down with the kids and told them that I wanted them to really enjoy their reading and we were going to have a new bedtime routine that I was going to trial. The rule was the kids had to be showered, in pyjamas, teeth brushed and in bed by their normal bedtime, but then they could read for as long as they wanted to as long as they were actually reading and were quiet.
I then told them as a treat we could go to the bookstore and they could choose a brand new book each for their new reading time.
I actually thought they would be up all night with this new bedtime ritual and exploit their new freedom but it has actually been quite amazing! The girls not only looked forward to their special reading time but they are also going to bed at a reasonable time (usually within an hour of their original bedtime) and are falling asleep really quickly as they are quite tired out.
Our pre-bedtime ritual is now to use the time to play quiet learning games such as puzzles, drawing or colouring and then I will read to them for 20 minutes before they climb into bed.
To add to the reading motivation I created a brand new reading challenge for the girls for the spring. (You can grab a copy for FREE from my TPT store). They can colour in a book on the shelf for each book they read and when they complete the whole sheet they can choose a brand new book from the bookstore. I also created some bookmarks to colour and a reading log page
I'm excited to see my children really enjoying reading again.
What do you do to get your children's love of reading to grow? Share your tips in the comments or send me an email.