Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Busy [and tired] Mom's Guide To Reading Aloud

Reading aloud with my girls has been a passion of mine since my oldest was born six years ago. Nothing gives me more joy that watching their eyes light up when we read something they find interesting. However, this whole work/life balance thing, lately, has been kicking me in the butt. In fact,  I have a confession- I have been falling asleep while reading books with Miss M. It isn't because the books are boring, but sheer exhaustion has this funny way of catching up with you every now and then.

I imagine that I am not the only mom out there who has fallen asleep mid-sentence while reading to her kids. Am I? Please someone out there assure me that I am not alone.

To combat the desire to promptly fall asleep when I snuggle up with Miss M to read, I realized that I needed to think outside the box and come up with a sustainable survival strategy. These five strategies have become mission critical to keep reading interesting.

1. Diversify that portfolio- And by that, I mean change up what you are reading. If you are getting bored with a chapter book, go back to reading some picture books. Tired of all the books you own? Not a single book on the shelf you are interested in reading? Did you know that many libraries have a virtual library that you can log onto and download books onto your tablet or E-reader?  When I realized this little nugget, I really did indeed jump for joy. While the selection is not nearly as vast as going to the library and borrowing an actual book, it is a beautiful thing to be able to choose a new book from the comfort of your own bed.

Another fantastic option, if you have a Kindle Fire, is using the Kindle FreeTime App. (Just a little side note- I do not get paid what-so-ever to write my blog. Though, if someone wants to pay me, I am open to that option, but I am endorsing Kindle because I love it, not because they have hired me to blog about it.) The Kindle FreeTime App can be purchased through a monthly subscription (discounted if you have Prime) that allows your kids to have access to a select amount of ebooks, apps, and videos. You are able to set time limits for each category. But, the best part of this app is that you log them into the app and they cannot accidentally purchase anything or log off.

2. Get into character- It is really hard to not have a good time or to fall asleep when you are acting. Case in point, try to read a book in a robot voice without smiling. For some reason, I feel the need that several of the characters from the Mercy Watson books speak with a deep, southern drawl. An Emmy winning actress I will never be, but for my girls, I try my best to get into character. It is the equivalent of signing in the shower, everyone is good at method acting when it comes to acting out children's books. While on the subject of singing, if i am really trying to keep little Miss J's attention - singing books to her works wonders. I always sing a simple "doodoo doodoo" song when I get to the wordless pages of Where the Wild Things Are

3. Get blinded by science- I am biased, but sometimes, I find reading non-fiction more interesting than fiction. I am always amazed by the obscure facts writers always seems to include in the early reader non-fiction books. Non-fiction is a big push in the school with Common Core standards, and I soon realized that this is where a nerdy researcher mom can shine.

4. Read books that don't require "reading". We love books that are activity books or are wordless picture books. Right now we have been doing a bunch of the Usborne seek and find books. The challenge and puzzle aspect of seek and find books keeps my daughter engaged and usually sparks conversations. 

5. Finally, snuggle up with a good audiobook. In discovering that I could borrow books from our local library through my Kindle, I also discovered that we could download audiobooks. Audiobooks are a great alternative to reading aloud when you are dead tired. When you are stupid tired, like I have been lately, you cannot even focus your eyes on a page to read. On those nights, I snuggle up with my daughter and quietly listen to a classic read. Lately, we have been listening to several of the Judy Blume The Pain and the Great One books. The best part, is that Judy Blume is one of the readers for the books. 

I realize this is an unconventional list for reading aloud to your kids, but making these simple changes from time to time has only increased my daughter's interest in reading. 

What do you do to keep reading interesting?


  1. I confess to being worse than you about reading aloud to my kids - I let hubby do it. :) He had much more fun with it than me and as a result was better at it. Sometimes passing around responsibilities is an option too. :)

    1. That is a good idea! Will have to talk to him about that. ;-)

  2. You are certainly not alone. I fall asleep during bedtime reads all the time. My husband and I take turns, that way if one of us is struggling, the other one can usually carry on. These suggestions are very helpful!

    1. I am glad to know that I am not alone! Yes, I should employ my husband to help more with the reading activities.


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