When I was sent an email about the National PTA Family Reading Challenge Party, I was super excited. Reading has always been an important part of my life, and I attribute my love of reading as helping me through graduate school! Why? Because there were so many books I had to read and being a non-reader, I would probably still be trying to get through my first year!
A couple of years ago, I wrote about my favorite childhood author, Judy Blume: “Thank God for Judy Blume!” It’s quite fitting that Judy Blume also just came out with a new book this month! As I reflect back on Judy Blume, I’m also reminded of the love for reading I was able to experience with my own children.
While I was pregnant, my husband would read Dr. Seuss books to our little boy (in utero). It was our family reading time, and it was special. We were lucky. Books didn’t have to compete with gaming systems, smart phones, and the internet. So, when my sons were young, it was easy to pull them away from the tv and have reading time. It was our nighttime ritual: baths, brush teeth, tuck into bed, read a story or two, then end with prayers. As our sons grew older, they still loved being read to, so we moved up from Dr. Seuss to The Chronicles of Narnia. Now, my sons have moved on to Dystopian fiction, still love comic books and superhero novels, and have found their niche in reading.
Our daughter loves Story Time! She reads 2 Bible Devotionals and 1 book of her choice. Usually, it is a tale about Fancy Nancy or Pinkalicious. These are stories I did not grow up on, but I have certainly enjoyed getting to know them, through her eyes. She loves reading and as she reads more, her reading improves, too. I have found that reading a physical book is much easier than reading an e-book for her. She prefers the tangible experience of seeing the pictures, turning the pages, holding a large book, and has an endless supply of self-made book marks that she has made-with some being in the shape of a Peter Pan hat….hmmmm, maybe her brothers have influenced some of her reading, too! They both take turns reading with her, too, which not only helps them stop and take time to relax, but it also helps strengthen the relationship they have.
Reading is such an important part of our life, and I am so grateful for the libraries that have storytime during the summer, the crafts and activities they offer to incorporate reading, the books that come out with a kid movie (Frozen anyone?), and the many benefits reading has provided our family. Below are some of those benefits:
1. Time stops: For a short time, nothing else matters. No deadlines to think about, tv shows or gaming is not a priority, and phone calls aren’t answered. It’s our family time, it’s sacred, it’s special, and it’s the one time we have in our day to push the pause button. It’s about reading a story and finding out what happens at the end. My daughter is still in early readers, but she loves them and we do, too!
2. Family bonding: It’s so sweet seeing a bunch of adults crammed onto my daughter’s princess sleigh bed, listening to the story. We get to talk about life issues, too: peer pressure, emotions, what happens in the story, and learning to apply what we read to how we choose to live- especially when reading a Bible Devotional.
3. Improvement: As my daughter reads, her language skills have improved, her speech has greatly increased, and she is developing better confidence about herself.
So, those are a few benefits we have discovered when having Story Time with our daughter, my sons’ little sister. However, I know there are many more benefits to reading as a family! While my family and I each have our own reading tastes, it is nice that for a brief moment, we all are reading something together…no matter how short the time we have together.
I’d love to know how you incorporate reading into a family reading time, or ways you would like to!
Be sure and join the Blog Party to win some awesome prizes, too!
Thank you for your interest in our PTA Family Reading Challenge Blog Party! We hope you’ll join us and share your story to inspire others to read throughout the month of July. You might even win some great prizes!
When: June 25-30, 2015
What: We’ll be celebrating PTA’s Family Reading Challenge with a blog party. You can contribute by writing a blog post about your favorite memories and moments that came from your family reading time!
Why: Studies show that reading daily during summer break is the most important activity to prevent learning loss, especially for younger students. However, busy activity schedules can make it challenging to keep reading a priority, especially by the middle of the summer. In July, National PTA will empower families with tips and activities that encourage ongoing reading, while challenging them to share photos, videos and memories that demonstrate how and why reading together is a fun and treasured family activity.
- Refer to Prize Criteria for challenge eligibility
- Include a link in your blog post to PTAFamilyReadingChallenge.org
- Publish your post June 25-30, 2015
- Tag your blog posts on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram with the hashtag #FamiliesRead
- Share, retweet and comment on other #FamiliesRead posts
- Share the infographic or social media graphics in your blog post
Sample Blog Topics
Below are a few blog ideas and facts to help you get started.
- Capture your family’s favorite moments reading together. What are your favorite books to read together? Where are your favorite places and times to read together?
- Share a positive memory about reading together as a family. What was your favorite book growing up, and have you shared it with your child? What was the experience like, to read that book together?
- Write about the magic of reading together as a family and how it has brought you all closer together. What do you like about reading together? How does it feel when you read together? How does reading foster quality family time?
Some Useful Facts to Get You Started
- 61% of low-income families in the U.S. have no age-appropriate books in their homes for children.
- Good reading habits have a greater impact on a child’s reading skills than household income.
- Nearly 40% of parents say their child does not spend enough time reading for fun.
- 73% of children get ideas from their parents for books to read for fun.
- Where parent engagement is high, classrooms score 28 points above the national average.