May 9, 2009

Make reading a priority

Recently, I wrote about The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.  I was convinced before of the benefits of reading to children, but it was still a good read.  This week at Atheist Nexus, in the Parenting Little Heathens group, there was a post titled  Study Finds 97% of Dads Don't Read To Their Kids.   Every response has been in support of reading, many replies by dads themselves.  Here are the excuses the post mentions for dads not reading.

The 97% of dads who did not read to their children claimed that they could not find time due to work commitments and being too tired. 

To be fair, here is why moms don't read.

89% of the moms polled did read to their children, but half admitted that they were distracted by cleaning, cooking, and other household chores.
Reading is an essential part of our homeschooling day, so we are well above average here, but dads --come on!  Far from perfect myself, I have come to realize that what you make a priority, will get done.  I think there is a tendency to think you'll miss something if you give it up.   In my experience though, if you use your time learning then you'll be happier in the long run.  That's the message I want to send to my kids.  


  1. That's an excellent and timely reminder. And I love the perfectly concise message: "If you use your time learning then you'll be happier in the long run." I can remember that when the dishes are calling! :)

  2. Those are scary statistics and it really doesn't have to take much of your time. I think that lack of access to books (and seeing love of reading) in early childhood is one major reason some children struggle once they reach school age. Can you imagine growing up in a household without a single book?

    I probably go overboard a bit, with good-night reads, bi-weekly story times at the library (we usually have over a dozen children's books checked out at a time) and the weekly trips to Barnes and Nobles. But my daughter loves it and it's probably the best time we spend together. I know I'm going to miss it once she starts reading on her own, though I expect she'll love being read to for quite some time.

    BTW, I've recently figured out that if I let her pick her bedtime books first, the tooth brushing and other bed-time preparations go much smoother and faster. :-)

  3. Ditto the bedtime routines! The girls always look forward to their story too much to complain.

    And according to more and more of what I am reading, you shouldn't stop reading to your kids until they move out. Make it into a family tradition and carve out some time for the whole family to take turns reading to each other. That's what I want to do.

  4. I agree with Trelease on that one. Don't stop reading out loud to them. Heck, my wife and I even read out loud to each other sometimes. Cold Mountain, the Harry Potter books, articles while the other is washing dishes--that kind of thing. And Trelease's ideas of growing a reader are key: a lamp by the bed, a bin of books by the potty and stuff to read in the back seat.