Back in 2009, a British television show called Bookaboo polled 2000 parents and discovered that only 3% of fathers actually read to their children. When asked, 87% of the dads who didn’t read to their children blamed work for stopping them from reading while 34% said that they were just too tired to do it.
This caught my attention, because it’s true that all parents (moms and dads) are busy and tired and most jobs are demanding. It can be a real struggle for parents to find the time to read with their kids. Then I thought about dyslexic parents like myself. Dyslexic parents are also tired and busy and they also have demanding jobs.
Imagine how hard it is for most parents to find the necessary time and energy to read with their kids, and then add in the complicating factor of being a dyslexic parent and trying to summon the extra concentration necessary to do the actual reading.
Reading is simply more work for a dyslexic person. I remember when my son was young, I had no trouble reading with him in general, but at the end of a long day, it took an unusual amount of effort for me to focus on the written word.
What if you, as a parent, also have a challenge like mine when it comes to reading? Or what if you’re so tired that the idea of reading with your kids is overwhelming? Here are a few ideas:
- If you have a new picture book you’ve never read before, look at the pictures together and guess at the storyline. Read it together at another time.
- Use a familiar picture book and prompt your child to make up a new story using the existing pictures. You could even combine pictures from several picture books in the new story.
- Read the same book you read yesterday (and the day before that and the day before that). Kids often love reading the same books over and over again. This is a bonus for parents who have reading challenges, because reading the same thing repeatedly will make it easier to read aloud each time.
- Listen to audiobooks together and pause from time to time to talk about what happened in the story or what you think will happen next.
- Don’t worry about reading. Tell your kids stories…stories you liked as a kid, stories about things you did as a kid, stories about your favorite pet they never knew…or make up your own story to tell them.
The point is that there are always alternatives if reading aloud is simply not doable one day, or if you would like to add a little variety into your reading aloud routine. Spending time talking with your children about books or stories is what’s most important.
So whether you are a busy, tired, stressed-out parent or a busy, tired, stressed-out parent with a reading challenge, don’t give up on reading with your kids. The educational benefits of reading with kids are amazing, but the closeness and trust it creates between you and your children has no substitute.
When do you find the time to read with your kids? Post a comment below and share your ideas.
For a thorough discussion of the social and emotional support children with dyslexia require, read my award-winning book, Raising a Child with Dyslexia: What Every Parent Needs to Know, available in softcover, hardcover, eBook, and audio.
Cardboard Box Adventures picture books are great for shared reading and can help parents establish a strong preliteracy foundation for their children. Check out the CBA Catalog for a full list of award-winning picture books, chapter books, and resources for parents and educators. Visit my Don M. Winn Amazon author page for more information.