Some families love the return to a school routine and schedule, and other families dislike losing the freedom of summer. Whether we’re ready or not, a new normal is upon us with most schools starting back next week.
A benefit of the return of school is reestablishing a nightly reading routine if you’re like a lot of parents who have found it more difficult to keep it up when the schedule is all over the place during June and July. Whether you’re reading to your child or your child is reading on their own, or maybe even a combination of these, the start of school is a great time to set a new routine.
Being read to has all sorts of positive impacts on a child’s brain, and that isn’t limited to preschoolers or early elementary kids. Even middle schoolers can benefit from being read to in part because their reading level isn’t as strong as their listening level until 8th grade (according to Jim Trelease, author of Read-Aloud Handbook).
And it may be the only time that your kid doesn’t say something like, “Bruh,” to you.
If you have younger children, maybe a read aloud can do hand-in-hand with Play-doh time at the kitchen table. Older kids may agree to color in mandalas while a parent reads to them. Or there is always an audiobook that everyone agrees to listen to in the car while driving to and from sports practices.
In addition to helping children’s literacy efforts, reading is also a way for them to manage their stress, and we all know kids AND parents AND teachers all have first-day and week jitters. Reading may offer your child an escape from stress or you may find a book that relates so something your child is concerned about, whether it is riding a bus, making new friends, or eating school lunches for the first time.
For younger readers, maybe choose a book that helps them develop a mindset of not getting upset but looking at stressful situations from a new angle.