Library notes: Weekly reading together as a family

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 9, 2020

By Amber Covington
Rowan Public Library

As the summer days zip by, finding time to plan family fun is challenging. With the sizzling sun making the heat feel unbearable outside, families are staying inside, but children are itching to get outside to get active. There are various ways parents and caregivers can enhance their child’s literacy completing daily tasks together inside or outside.

Family reading time is a great way to expand your child’s attention span while reading. Reading as a family helps children understand the importance of reading and how it is a part of everyday life. For younger children, consider reading picture books together or short chapter books with everyone taking turns reading aloud. For older children, find a quiet place in your home where each family member can curl up with their preferred book read or magazine for 30 minutes independently. Sometimes, allow your child to choose a book for the entire family to read aloud. Set up a time for family reading and make it routine on a daily or weekly basis. If you think your children are too old for this, consider checking out books in foreign languages and have your child test their language skills reading and comprehending easy picture books in a language they are studying in school.

Amber Covington

We all know that tablets and other mobile devices are used by children of all ages. If your child spends time listening to videos or recorded content, consider turning on the captions, live captions, audio descriptive or interactive transcripts. Children will notice the text will appear across the screen, but may actually begin to recognize words and begin to increase their vocabulary by seeing the word on screen being spoken by characters on screen. This can be a useful tool for students to learn to read or build their vocabulary, but it will also be an experience they could use later for a school assignment to ensure their digital projects can be accessible to visually impaired users.

With the current global pandemic, families may be ordering more items online on a computer, phone or tablet. This is a perfect time for children to browse through images and select grocery or store items for pickup or delivery when you’re completing family shopping. Children get to practice matching words with a picture and associate words with their correct spelling. For older children, challenge them to review pages for accuracy within an app or website. This allows children to exercise their reading and comprehension skills by building a wider vocabulary while experiencing an everyday task of choosing food to eat or a household item.

On the next car ride, have your child read logos, billboards and road signs. Children will begin to recognize colors and graphics, and associate items sold by these brands. While waiting in line at a drive-thru, challenge your child to read items listed on the menu out loud to help them speak and become familiar with their favorite foods. Have an older child? Teach them to read the road signs to begin their understanding of traffic flow rules of the road and pedestrian safety. One day, they may be working towards their drivers license, but we are all pedestrians everyday.

Demonstrating to children how reading is a part of our everyday lives will help them to grasp the importance of reading to complete everyday tasks. Ready to get your family reading on a weekly schedule, check out N.C. Kids Digital Library, N.C. Digital Library, or visit our online catalog to place items on hold by visiting

Amber Covington is technical services supervisor at the Rowan Public Library.

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