Although bedtime seems like the ideal time for a story, it doesn’t always work for many families for many reasons. Instead of skipping reading entirely, a few creative alternatives can keep you on the road to reading enjoyment. Notice and use some down time in your day for a story. If the pasta is boiling for dinner and the entree is in the oven, plop someone on your lap and share a book. If you know you’ll be in line at the store, pop a book in your bag and pull it out to enhance the quality of your wait. Perhaps story time would be better after breakfast, or before carpool. Only you know the moments that are perfect for reading together.
Keep a stack of books that you want to read nearby so as soon as the moment arrives, the books are ready. It is better to get some reading in than none at all. If you need to read the story in sessions, use a bookmark and return to the story when you can.
When my sister and I were in elementary school, my mother would put us to bed shortly after dinner and baths while the neighborhood kids were still screaming in the street playing any variety of outdoor games. The sky would be bright and my sister and I would have the blackout shades drawn tight. We would read under the covers using the flashlights my mother gave each of us. Eventually we would fall asleep, dreaming of the adventures and characters we met nightly in our books. We got to stay up later (or so we thought.) Somehow our flashlights never ran out of batteries and were always off in the morning.
My mother knew the value of reading. On hot summer days, we would come home to a bathtub filled with ice and a story on the counter. We’d call out when we were in the tub and my mother would read us another chapter in whatever book we happened to be reading together. We would take turns reading aloud in the car on long trips. Books were a part of the way that we shared time together. My mother made time for important things like reading and with some creative effort, you can too. Start or continue some family traditions of reading and let us know what works for you.