Nathan and I read to our kiddos each night before bed. And we love it. Nathan is currently reading The Chronicles of Narnia to Landon. Connor's really into his Bible and books about dogs and pajamas. Reagan loves books about princesses and Pinkalicious and Biscuit. All three kids are obsessed with Shel Silverstein's poems.
We value our nightly reading-in-bed-to-our-kids ritual. But lately, I've realized how little our kids see Nathan and I reading books. They see me reading recipes, letters, magazines, coupons, menus, forms, and directions. And that's important. But, I tend to read books after they are in bed. That got me thinking about how to change that.
So, our family has added something new to our evening routine. Before we read to the kids in bed, we all gather downstairs in the den to read independently but near one another. Landon calls it "Independent Reading" because that's what he calls it at school. We all sprawl out on the floor or couch and each of us reads our own books. Right now, our family have about 15 minutes of independent reading stamina. The two-year-old has a little less....about 10 minutes. It has become a predictable, consistent part of our evening and has encouraged meaningful conversations about books.
I believe reading books together as a family:
1. helps the children see Nathan and I as readers.
2. promotes meaningful talk about books.
3. models for our two- and four-year-old what reading looks like.
4. gets the kids interested in each others' books and encourages them to try a new author.
5. is just plain fun.