As a full-time working mom, there never seems to be enough time in the day. Mornings are a harried rush to get ready and out the door on time while evenings are equally busy preparing meals, cleaning up and planning for the next day.
Despite the limited time we have together during the week, I do my best to find ways to incorporate reading aloud into my daily interactions with my young son. I love to read and want to pass that gift on to him because of the doors it has opened for me.
In addition, research has determined that the single most important thing parents of early learners can do to build literacy skills in children is to read aloud to them. Reading aloud to a young child also helps with their brain development and speech skills, as well as creates a bonding experience, which helps them in other developmental areas.
Here are some simple things we do to incorporate reading into our daily activities, which may also suit your schedule and/or lifestyle.
- You’ve got mail! I don’t know about you, but I still get a ton of catalogs, magazines and other literature via snail mail. My son often helps me sort through the junk mail and bills, flipping through the pages of photo-driven materials as we go.
- Hungry? I love cereal boxes and other food products and wrappers with pictures and games on the packaging. Often while we’re sitting down to meals, we’ll talk about the images and text.
- Splish-splash. In addition to stocking our bathroom with shampoo, body wash and toys, books are another important part of our bath-time routine. Water-proof, non-toxic books that float are the best!
- On the road. Running errands around town can be a chore, but it always becomes more pleasurable reciting our favorite nursery rhymes and singing along with children’s songs on my CD player or that have been downloaded onto my iPod.
- In-home library. We started stocking our son’s personal library before he was even born by requesting books in lieu of a card at his baby shower. Now when family and friends ask for gift ideas for his birthday and other special occasions, we always request a book.
- It’s time to sleep. My son is usually too busy moving to sit down and listen to a book read aloud for a long period of time, but we can usually squeeze in one short picture book before bedtime. At the moment, he’s particularly fond of books featuring pictures of familiar objects like fruits and vegetables, animals and different modes of transportation. He’ll often grab a book from his bookshelf and thumb through the pages – whether it’s positioned upside-down or right-side up, it doesn’t seem to matter!
Young children may not understand everything they’re hearing or seeing, or know how to handle a book correctly, but there’s no doubt they’re gaining a lot from the experience.
Audrey Hendricks has more than 10 years of public relations experience. Since 2006, she has been serving as a communciations specialist with Capital Region BOCES Communications Service for a variety of local school districts. Prior to joining BOCES, she worked for a real estate trade association. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Plattsburgh State University of New York. She is a full-time working mom and wife who loves reading with her son, Tate, 19 months.