We all know the importance of reading to our children, but there are times when the idea of sitting through If You Give a Mouse a Cookie for the twelfth time in one day can be mind numbing. Reading should be fun for you and your child, it’s a way to connect and bond, but it doesn’t always have to mean sitting down with a book.
Here are five unexpected ways to read with your child:
The Grocery Store- The grocery store has words everywhere, from the food on the shelves to the signage in each aisle. Reading is more than letters. Point out the prices and read those to your child. Have a conversation, “The milk is $4.75 a gallon this week. That’s about the same price as a pony ride at the Farmer’s Market.”
Street Signs- One of the first symbols your child will recognize is a STOP sign. Take it one step further and spell out the letters. “S-T-O-P spells STOP!” While walking around your neighborhood, you can point out signs like NO PARKING, YOUR STREET NAME, and ONE WAY. Keep in mind that your child’s eyes tend to be focused on things that are low, so you’ll want to draw their attention up and show them a world of language that they might not even be noticing.
Restaurant Menus- You know your kid inside out. Without asking, you know if your child is going to want the chicken tenders or the cheese pizza. However, you need to kill time at the restaurant before your little one starts fidgeting, so stretch out the experience. Why not take this opportunity to squeeze in some reading time? Read through each item and cross off the ones your child does not want with the crayon. Then circle the one that she does want and have her “read” it to the waiter.
Appliances- Your appliances have words that are perfect for young readers. When it’s age appropriate, have your child start helping you with basic tasks like loading the washing machine. Then read the dial together and have them turn it for you. Kids love being helpers and will quickly learn to identify these words on their own.
Food- Make eating fun and educational by incorporating reading. You can use blueberries, raisins or cranberries to spell out words in their foods. For breakfast, spell out words in oatmeal or on pancakes. For lunch, spell out words on top of a sandwich. For dinner, you can spell out words with pasta.
Do you have some creative secrets to incorporate reading into your daily routine? Please share them with us!
By Michelle Murphy
Wife, Mom, Writer and Lover of Pookie