November is National Family Literacy Month and there are fun ways to celebrate. This month is a great reminder of the importance of reading together as a family. The benefits of reading are vast, and numerous statistics support how even reading fifteen minutes a day can boost the mental and emotional development of kids. Reading aloud as a family only enhances all those benefits! It provides a space for connection, conversation, and learning. Additionally, it is an important part of raising readers.
Reading as a family can also be fun and relaxing. Whether it’s a way to wind down before bed or sprinkled in during the day through activities, there is no “right way” to do it. So don’t stress about what you read or how well you read it. Instead, focus on the time spent together reading and bonding.
Here are some ways you and your family can celebrate National Family Literacy Month:
Plan a family reading night.
Find or create a cozy spot with pillows and blankets and let each member of the family share their favorite book. Consider sharing your favorite story from your childhood with your kids. Hopefully they will enjoy it as much as you did when you were young!
Visit your local library.
Libraries offer so much more than books: story times, activities, and even musical instrument rentals, just to name a few. I follow my local branch on social media so I stay up-to-date on their programs and events.
Support your local bookstore.
Many independent bookstores feature books by new and local writers, as well as host author events. These events give young readers the chance to meet authors, hear more about the inspiration for their story, and learn about their writing process.
Help your child create a book of their own.
There are many fun, easy, and free printables online, but even folding and stapling a few pages of cardstock together will work. For younger children, encourage them to draw pictures while you ask them questions and write down what they say.
Explore different reading genres.
Reading different genres of books allows children to understand the range of options that are available, as well as discover what books they enjoy reading most. Kid-friendly reading genres include realistic fiction, historical fiction, traditional literature, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, informational, biography, autobiography, and poetry.
Check out a local storybook trail.
Storybook trails can be enjoyed year-round. Many of the local storybook trails regularly change the books they feature. Furthermore, visiting this time of year may allow you and your family to have the trail to yourselves.
Empower kids to share their love for reading.
Contributing books to neighborhood Little Free Libraries, donating books to local charities, and swapping books with family and friends are all great ways to involve children in the process of sharing a love for reading.
Ways to read as a family all year long:
- Read the book version of a favorite movie or TV show.
- Invite your kids into the kitchen and have them read the recipe out loud to you as you cook.
- Use technology to share story time with long distance loved-ones.
- Ask your librarian for book recommendations. They are a great resource to find books that fit your child’s age and interests.
- Keep your reading material choices fresh by using a book subscription. There is a growing list of options available to meet different age groups and interests. My family has really enjoyed Literati Kids.
- Audiobooks count as reading too! The next time you are in the car with your kids, swap out listening to music for an engaging story.
It’s never too early or too late to start reading as a family, and don’t get discouraged if you can’t fit it in every day. Reading together is more about creating positive experiences around reading than it is reading for a set amount of time seven days a week. Whatever that looks like for your family, don’t be afraid to get creative to make special reading memories!