Making resolutions as we turn the calendar year is a familiar process.
"I'll eat less," "I want to exercise more," "This year I will work on a bad habit." The key words are less, more and habit. It's human nature to form habits through doing more or less of something. We want the goal of feeling better, learning something, finding change.There is one resolution that we could make each year, each month, each day to ourselves and our families that would not leave us scrambling for a quick solution. That would be resolving to read as a family. The resolution would be less excuses (like "I intend to do it") and more personal and family reading, which will delightfully become a habit.
- Begin with a 10-minute time.
- Set a timer to keep track of time.
- Each person silently reads his or her material (books, magazines, newspapers). Even pre-readers can participate by looking at picture books.
- Try reading aloud each day to the group. (One mother I know does this instead of eating her dessert.)
- Invite a friend, neighbor or grandparent in to read and share their favorites.
- Visit the library story times.
Liven up the shared reading by having a theme or activity involved:
- "Hats On to Reading!" is when the one doing the reading or sharing gets to wear their choice of a hat.
- "Mystery Time" is when a designated member of the family shares their favorite who-done-it.
- "Quick-Picks" are round-robin sharing of favorite characters or funny dialogue, etc.
- "Surprise Choice!" is when the selection for the day is drawn from a bag of books to which everyone has contributed.
- "RAH Reading" (taken from Hoorah) is the sharing of good and happy literature.
- "Sock It to Reading!" is my favorite and one I was involved with during the holidays. Everyone wore their favorite socks, rolled up pants legs, and enjoyed a story together.
Whether it's picture books, chapter stories or a series of books by one author or artist, shared reading is a recommended resolution with immediate and long-lasting benefits. Children and adults will learn to appreciate the time together and the choices of each other's literature will demonstrate what "real reading" is. It's not just skill-building and drills.
It will provide a foundation that can lead to a lifetime of reading.