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Baby and Toddler looking at Book with Adult

Reading is so important to me - I want to raise my kids to love reading, to be familiar with words and pages, to learn the joy of a good engrossing story. And beside all of that, I enjoy spending time together, snuggled with a stack of picture books.

To make sure we have time together to read, I build it into our daily habits in a few different ways:

Keep books nearby. We have low bookcases in the nursery, right at hand and easy for small ones to reach. We also keep picture books on the coffee table and in a basket in the living room so they’re easy to grab any time.

Make reading a part of the routine. We read at least one book (sometimes more) right before bed every day. We also have a daily “quiet time” when my son takes one full hour to settle down and read quietly. And if the kids wake a bit earlier than I’d like, we’ll stay snuggled in bed with a book, easing into the start of the day.

Find a regular library group. Our local library meets regularly to read children’s books as a group. If your library doesn’t, you could instead schedule a weekly library trip.

Add fun to boring tasks. Sometimes my son is resistant to bath-time, or wants my attention while I’m feeding his brother. I’ll read to him as he soaks in a tub full of bubbles, or have him tell me a story as I spoon food into the baby’s mouth.

Make reading a special treat. Sometimes I’ll let my boy stay up a bit past bedtime and quietly read. It’s a treat to be up so late, but also helps him to wind-down after a busy day.

Have books on hand while you’re out. I stash small, light books in my purse for when we’re in a waiting room or stalled in line at the grocery store.

Sometimes I’m too busy to read the words aloud, but I encourage my son to make up stories using the pictures, or to flip the pages and “read” quietly to himself. Though he’s not hearing the words, he’s growing comfortable with books. Seeing the words on the page in context with the pictures, anticipating what the story may be about using clues, and learning how to hold the book and which way to turn the pages are all important early literacy skills.

How do you make time for reading?

Liz Moorhead

Liz Moorhead is an English teacher-turned-writer and illustrator. She paints stationery, writes for a top wedding site, and blogs at Happy Sighs between walks to the park with her two boys.