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8 tips to help make reading with your child this year achievable

Reading Is Fundamental is proud to have Lee & Low Books as a promotional partner in this year’s Rally to Read 100 initiative. RIF has long partnered with Lee & Low Books and shares their commitment to providing titles that reflect the diversity of children’s identities and lived experiences. We are proud to feature Lee & Low author Thelma Lynne Godin as part of Rally to Read 100.

This guest post is brought to you by Jill Eisenberg, Vice President of Curriculum and Literacy Strategy at LEE & LOW BOOKS, the largest independent children’s book publisher specializing in diversity and multiculturalism. Before joining LEE & LOW, Eisenberg was a Fulbright Fellow in Taiwan, where she taught English as a foreign language to children in grades 2–6. She went on to become an ELA teacher for third grade in the Bay Area in California and has been passionate about best practices for supporting English Language Learners and parent engagement ever since. At LEE & LOW BOOKS, she oversees strategic partnerships and provides product and literacy expertise to schools, districts, and literacy organizations. Learn more at

Twenty minutes a day! The benefits of reading at home for just 20 minutes a day are well documented here, here, here, and here! As parents, we know how important it is, but we recognize the challenges, too. Schedules are tight and unforgivable and we’re still navigating our way around the “new normal” now that many of us have returned to our daily routines. Children (and caregivers!) are tired at the end of the day, but you can still make a daily reading habit part of your life.

So, how do we make daily reading with children engaging, manageable, and achievable?

1. Start with bite-sized steps

You don’t have to raise your child’s literacy level, knowledge base, or vocabulary by next week. Remember that the endgame is to create curious, book-loving readers. Starting a reading routine at home is all about creating a lifelong habit for your family and children.

2. Redefine what a reading routine looks like

Adjust what reading time is for your family based on your child’s age, reading level, energy level, and interest. Here are some ideas:

  • You read the story to your child
  • You alternate reading together by page, chapter, or day
  • Your child reads to you and a sibling
  • You download the audiobook version and follow along in the book together
  • You both read with your own copy silently side by side for the 20 minutes and discuss afterward
  • You check out Reading Is Fundamental’s (RIF) Rally to Read 100 initiative for free, monthly, thematic read-alouds from notable authors, paired with supplemental family activities you can enjoy together

3. Make reading “spill over”

Choose a book with an additional tie-in to other parts of the day or to your family’s interests:

  • If there is a new movie, community theater play, or video game adaptation coming out based on a book, read the book first and then reward yourselves with the movie, play, or video game.
  • Pick a fairy tale, folktale, or legend to read and find additional versions in both book and movie form to compare.
  • If the book includes a craft, science experiment, or recipe at the end, read the story and then extend the learning into the garage or kitchen. This is great for the whole family, too.
  • If you’re looking for a monthly set of family activities, RIF’s Rally to Read offers themed read-alouds and activities for your young reader(s) to extend learning beyond the book with your family.

4. Only pick books and formats your child loves or is interested in

Reading at home should never be boring, a chore, a punishment, or part of homework. With this in mind, reading can come in all different forms!

  • Cookbooks—recipes are great for re-reading
  • Poetry collections
  • Audiobooks
  • Graphic novels and comic books—read about how Lee & Low publisher, Jason Low, became an avid reader after getting hooked on comics
  • RIF’s Rally to Read offers a monthly recommended book list you can share with your child to help them choose new books for you to read together

Better yet, let your child choose for maximum engagement.

5. Embrace re-reading

Children love to re-read their favorite books. In fact, it is important for their development. Additionally, in a time of limited budgets, consider supplementing what you read together through your public library. The best home library is what excites your child, not the quantity of books.

6. Don’t cry over skipped reading

For whatever reason, reading time just didn’t happen one night. Whoops! Just read the next day and tack on a few extra minutes if you can. Any time is better than no time at all.

7. Do over think it—please!

If you find it difficult to read 20 minutes a day with your child, think about where the obstacle is. Are nights too busy? Do transit or errands take time away from family downtime? Do you get home too late? Reading at breakfast or on public transit, engaging grandparents or older siblings, or trying 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night may help your family stick with a reading routine.

8. Join a community

You are not the first or last parent who may struggle to inspire your child to read, find time to read, or make reading time exciting; thankfully, there are many ways to access research, reading tips, and inspiration. Some of my favorite parent/caregiver reading resources are from Reading Is Fundamental – especially their six-month reading engagement initiative Rally to Read, National Center for Families Learning, ¡Colorín Colorado!, Reading Rockets, and Embrace Race.

Keep in mind, the number one most important thing is that every time you read with your child, it’s a win. The overall goal is to support our children’s lifelong love of reading. Keep at it!

Here’s to a great year of reading and growing!

This post originally appeared at The Open Book and was adapted for Reading Is Fundamental with permission. Original post: