Sometimes it’s mid-afternoon and I think to myself with my pregnant brain, have I read to them yet today? That’s when the guilt sets in and I know I have to drag my butt off the couch (or drag a basket of books over TO the couch), but sometimes even that seems like a task. You know, when I’m folding laundry, putting away dishes, editing photos, blogging, and I just desperately want Thing 1 and Thing 2 to entertain themselves! Then I remember a brilliant idea that a good friend of mine gave me that promotes not just independent play but also literacy and the joy of reading. Have a reading picnic!
Yes, my kids are reading rockstars, but even if yours aren’t, this is a great way to start. Don’t forget to make reading fun and change up the material, the setting, the time of day–keep them interested! My kids orchestrated this picnic on their own–they were playing on the deck and then they came in and started dragging stuff outside. When I asked them what was up, they said they wanted to have a picnic. I asked them if they needed some books and they yelled, “Yes!” over their shoulders as they dragged the blanket onto the grass. Books plus raisins plus water bottles equaled a quiet half hour of exploring their books, reading to each other, narrating pictures, and just surrounding themselves with words.
And you know how I needed that half hour to myself? Well, suddenly, whatever Mommy things I was doing inside didn’t seem as important as the fun going on outside.
And don’t forget–indoor reading picnics are just as fun, especially if you can get Daddy to join in! It’s important for kids to see men modeling good reading, too, so see if you can get the men in your life to pick up a book, a magazine, anything (try to have it be non-computer/Kindle/Ipad-related because it’s just not the same in kids’ brains; they’ll just assume Daddy’s playing Angry Birds again). JDubbs read the sports section of the newspaper one day on a reading picnic and before I knew it Jax was on his lap and they were discussing the box scores! Keep these in your back pocket for a snowy day, or a rainy day, or any old day when you need a dash of fun! They won’t even know they’re learning.