Reading together as a family is a great way to encourage your child’s literacy development, build closer bonds, and create beautiful lifelong memories. So whether it’s a regular weekend activity or an annual event that includes the grandparents, here are five ways you can establish a family reading tradition and start creating fond reading memories for you and your child.
1. Establish a dedicated reading area
It doesn’t have to be an entire room – you can establish a regular reading area in an armchair, on the living room sofa, or on top of a couple of beanbags huddled in a corner. Keep your reading area simple and functional, with a few shelves for books, comfortable seats and good lighting. A dedicated reading area for your family will make the reading experience feel comforting and familiar for your child.
2. Choose a regular reading time
Traditions are all about creating regular rituals to engage in again and again. The best way to create a family reading tradition is to do it around the same time, every time, whether it’s daily, weekly or even monthly. You might choose to read together on a family picnic every Sunday during the summer, or first thing in the morning on the first day of each month. Remember, one-on-one reading time should be more regular than those occasions where the whole family sits down to read.
3. Create a family book tree
A family book tree is the perfect way to encourage your family to read together and look forward to reading throughout the week. Take a large sheet of construction paper and cut out the shape of a tree, including some branches. Invite the whole family to decorate the tree with the words ‘My Family Book Tree’, and hang it up on a convenient wall near your usual reading area. As your family reads through different books, add a leaf for every book read.
4. Invite grandparents to create their own traditions
If your child is lucky enough to have grandparents in their life, encourage them to have their own reading traditions together. Have your child’s grandparents introduce special books that are only read when they’re together. Another great idea is to find books that are relevant to your grandparents’ lives. If your child’s grandparent was a gardener, help them find books about gardening, plants or flowers. This provides a great opportunity for bonding, and opens up conversations between your child and their grandparent.
5. Read family classics every holiday
Do you have any books that have become family classics? Choose a meaningful time each year to revisit your best-loved literary treasures with the whole family. Special books can be turned into annual reading traditions for birthdays, Christmases, Halloweens, or even saved as a special surprise for your child’s graduation day.
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