A reading routine is essential in any home and arguably even more so in a bilingual household!
Reading aloud to your kids is the most effective and perhaps simplest technique you can use to support your children’s language and literacy skills.
Research has found that the number of words that a child knows by the time they enter Kindergarten is a predictor of his or her success. Reading lets you work on your child’s vocabulary better than any other activity.
As bilingual parents, we are always looking for ways to address
A solid and consistent reading routine can help you instill a love for books from an early age. It also allows you to set an example to show your kids that reading can be a pleasurable activity.
As if that wasn’t enough, reading can help your children develop lots of other skills such as phonics, comprehension, storytelling, and even familiarity with printed words.
You probably already knew that setting up a reading routine was time well spent and an investment in your kid’s future.
But my question is, are you getting the MOST out of your reading routine with your kids?
I am going to share some of my best tips for creating a productive reading routine even if you don’t yet have one!
- Create a reading area
Find a place in your home that is comfortable for everyone and works with the room. When we read to my son, we sit in the glider or sometimes even stand up because he is so wiggly these days. For my daughter, we all sit on her bed and she takes turns sitting on our laps.
- Establish a reading time
You want to add some predictability to the routine for yourself and for your little ones. Even in the busiest of days, routines are more likely to get done so find a time in your day for it. Most families do so at bedtime but can you also inject a few more minutes elsewhere in the day?
- Get into it!
Our kids pick up on our moods far easier than we think. Make sure to model excitement about reading. Get into the spirit of the character and consider changing up your voices as you read through the characters. The more delightful the experience, the more your kids will get invested.
- Help your children make connections
One of my favorite ways to improve kids’ reading comprehension is by helping them make connections to other books, to themselves and to the world around them. It’s a simple strategy but kids really enjoy it! You can make connections as you go or after the book is over. Model connections you are making as you are reading to help teach your children how to do so. If you want to try this strategy and I strongly recommend that you do, you can check out more information here.
- Talk about what you have read
Another great tool to help your kids improve their understanding of the story is to work on summarizing. But this requires a lot of skills. Skills that we can teach our kids to develop by simply asking them “What was that story about?” You will also have to likely model this skill to your little ones but once you get them in the habit of it, they will make great progress in their reading comprehension.
- Don’t shy away from repetition
Some little ones are very particular about what they want to read. In fact, kids tend to gravitate toward the same books over and over. This is not a bad thing as repetition allows one to work on memory skills and fluency. In fact, you may want to introduce the concepts of making connections and summarizing with a book your child finds familiar.
- Frequent your library
Visiting the library is another wonderful habit to establish. It adds fire to the whole idea behind creating a deep love for reading. It also allows you to add more books to your repertoire without breaking the bank. Even if your library doesn’t offer books in your target language, go check it out! Your children will enjoy the experience and it will have a positive impact on their literacy.
- Be consistent
Make your reading routine sacred! The more you respect that time, the more your kids will too. Skipping days can become a slippery slope and before you know it, you are starting from scratch. Make a plan and stick to it. Make sure that it is something that you find manageable and make the commitment.
- Challenge yourself to add more time
Adding five minutes a day to your reading routine becomes 30 hours of additional reading! Imagine what 10 minutes a day can do. Imagine what 15 minutes a day will do!
- Plan for the long haul
Many parents stop reading to their kids once their little ones can read on their own. Don’t! You can read more advanced text to your bilingual kids while still working on their vocabulary. Make a commitment to do this for as long as you possibly can!
Which of these tips will you commit to implementing in your home this week?