Everyday Reading Opportunities

Finding time to read is important to developing literacy skills for all kids. And there are many easy and convenient ways to make reading a part of each day — even when it's tough to find time to sit down with a book.

Finding the Reading Moments

Car trips, errands, and waits in checkout lines and the doctor's office are all opportunities for reading. Keep books or magazines in your car, diaper bag, or backpack to pull out whenever you're going to be in one place for a while. Even if you can't finish a book, read a few pages or discuss some of the pictures. Encourage older kids to bring favorite books and magazines along wherever you go.

Other reading moments to take advantage of throughout the day:

  • in the morning, before breakfast or getting dressed
  • after dinner, when kids are relaxed
  • bath time (with plastic, waterproof books)
  • bedtime

Reading opportunities are everywhere you go. Read signs aloud to your baby while you're driving. Ask your preschooler to "read" pictures on boxes at the store and tell you about them. And have older kids tell you what's on the shopping list.

Even routine tasks around the house, like cooking, can provide reading moments. With younger kids, read recipes aloud; ask older kids to help by telling you how much flour to measure. Give your child a catalog to read while you look at the mail. Ask relatives to send your child letters or e-mail and read them together.

Even when you're trying to get things done, you can encourage reading. If your child complains of boredom when you're cleaning, for instance, ask him or her to read aloud from a favorite book to you while you work. Younger kids can tell you about the pictures in their favorite books.

And make sure kids get some time to spend quietly with books, even if it means bypassing or cutting back on other activities, like time in front of the TV or playing video games.

Most important, be a reader yourself. Kids who see their parents reading are likely to join them and become readers, too!

Reviewed by: Laura L. Bailet, PhD
Date reviewed: February 2010

Kids Health

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2016 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.