Children who are read to more frequently at an early age enter school with larger vocabularies and more advanced comprehension skills (Mol & Bus, 2011).
A study out of the University of Melbourne found that the frequency of reading to children at a young age has a direct causal effect on their schooling outcomes regardless of their family background and home environment. Reading to children 6-7 days a week has the same effects as being almost 12 months older versus 3-5 days per week as being six months older. The key differences are in their reading skills and cognitive skills.
Point taken. Reading every day has significant affect on our kids.
BUT… does the research take into account sleepless nights, new baby with older sibling(s), piles of laundry, meals, sick kids, long work days, and all the other things that take up a parent’s mental load?!? So how do we still nurture our children’s reading and cognitive skills but not fall asleep mid page turn? Here are a few suggestions and book ideas for those days/nights/weeks/months when you are just too exhausted for the 10 bedtime stories that are requested.
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Reread A Favorite
I’m 99% sure I have Dragons Love Tacos, Knuffle Bunny, Goodnight Baseball and On the Moon memorized. Pull out your child’s favorite and let your muscle memory do the work for you.
Wordless Picture Books
These books are great for those tired reading time You can control the length of the story, let your child tell the story, point out interesting illustrations or even have your child act it out! Check out
National Geographic Kids
National Geographic Kids books are great for those tired days/nights because you can read one page to find information. These books aren’t necessarily meant to be read in order. Have you child choose one or two pages to read to learn some information.
Short Books with Limited Text
Chose books with limited text like No, David! or Mo Willems books have few words but with a big impact!
Let Them Read
You know those books we have memorized? Chances are you child has them memorized, too. Tell your kid that you’re the official page turner and it is their turn to read tonight. They’ll love taking over. Sometimes Coleman will protest and say, “But Mom, I don’t know the words!” Tell them to “read the pictures”
If you’ve read to them, they’ve read to you then it may be time to bring in some technology to help. One of my favorite resources is Storyline Online, a website full of videos from the Screen Actors Guild reading some of the best books around. Who wouldn’t love Chris Pine reading Clark the Shark or Betty White reading Harry the Dirty Dog?!? This was also one of my favorite resources to use when I was teaching for indoor recess or when you needed a few minutes to get a task complete like field trip forms, notes to parents, etc.
If you would like to read the detailed study from the University of Melbournes click here!