Well, it’s the start of another school year, and with that comes homework, sports, extracurricular clubs, early bedtimes (some nights), and tired kids and parents. It can be difficult to fit in all of the fun, leisurely activities we usually do during the summer. We are definitely having a hard time letting go of playing outside until dark, then coming in and reading way past all of our bedtimes. But reading is so important to my kids and me that we have a few ways we like to make sure we fit reading in during the school year.
How do you make sure to read to or with your kids during the school year? How do they get in alone reading time? Let me know in the comments!
This seems obvious, but sometimes even I forget to leave enough time in the day for reading. If reading before bed is part of your routine, just make sure you leave enough time in the daily schedule for it. Sometimes that means moving dinner and playing outside up 30 minutes. (And sometimes the kids just need to play outside and skip reading for a night. That’s ok too!!) Even if it’s just ten minutes per kid, we make an effort to leave a little reading time each night.
I know a lot of people will disagree on this one, but sometimes I allow reading during dinner. If the kids have to eat at a different time from my husband and me (like the nights they have soccer practice and they need to eat early), oftentimes I’ll read to them while they eat. I actually really enjoy it, and it’s a nice way to have some calm reading time in between activities. My older son read at the table during lunch quite a bit during the summer, and I generally don’t like that at dinner, but if he’s really into a book . . . haven’t we all been there?
My kids will also sometimes read to themselves at breakfast. None of us are particularly thrilled to be up super early, and aren’t always great conversationalists before 7AM, so this is a good way to ease into the day and get some reading in. (And if everyone is cranky, it curbs any arguments that might pop up!)
In the Car
We almost always have an audiobook playing in the car, and we listen on the way to school (We’re listening to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets again right now.) and on the way home, on the way to sports, or while we run errands. If we’ve had a late night and weren’t able to read, they like knowing that they’ll at least get to listen to a story on the way to school in the morning.
Spare Time at School
This is one I didn’t think of until my kids insisted on taking books in their already heavy backpacks last year. Turns out, they do have a little time to read to themselves at school! (Schoolwork seems to be more difficult and given in greater quantities than when I was in elementary school, so I really didn’t know if they would be able to read anything other than school-assigned books.) The kids aren’t allowed to talk much in the hallway in the morning, so they can read while they wait to be let into their classrooms. They are also allowed to read in class if they finish their assigned work early, and sometimes during snack time. If it’s a particularly good book, my kids will also read on the bus ride home. So as long as their backpacks aren’t full to bursting, send along a (paperback) book to school! They’ll probably be able to get in a chapter or two.
The school year can be a difficult time to fit reading in for adults as well! Days are busy, afternoons and evenings are often packed with after-school activities, and by the time the sun goes down I’m often too tired to read more than a few pages before I zonk out. (Because I can’t go to sleep without reading at least a few pages of something.) If you plan ahead a little bit (basically, bring a book with you everywhere you go), it’s possible to fit in a good chunk of reading during those busy days. I’m always listening to an audiobook or podcast when I drive without my kids. The pickup line at school is a great place to fit in a little reading, as is during sports practices. (We all enjoy watching our kids play sports, but I think it’s ok to take some of that practice time to read!) And sometimes my boys just want to read to themselves at night, or to each other, and I try to take that opportunity to read my own book at the same time. We’re all getting in reading time and spending some nice quiet time together at the end of the day.
The school year is busy, but if you make reading a priority, there are lots of pockets of time to get it done!
Tell me some of your tricks to getting in more reading time during the school year!