Monday, October 4, 2010

20 Minutes a Day...

That's the minimum recommended length of time a parent should read to a child, or a child should read to a parent EACH DAY to achieve reading competence and fluency. For a very young child, say under 5, that's about 4-5 books before bed. For an older child, it's usually a straight measure of time.

Twenty minutes: it doesn't seem like so much.

However, we all know that sometimes it IS hard to carve 20 minutes of dedicated reading time out of our busy schedules. Especially if you have multiple children. And especially if your kids are in activities. And especially if you like them to go to bed before you do (can I get an amen?)

When you take out the actual school day (about 7.5 hours if your kids ride a bus; longer if they go to before/after care) then remove the time needed for activities -- an hour for soccer practice, a 1/2 hour for piano or guitar, 30-90 minutes for dance or gymnastics, 2 hours for church activities; and then take out the 30-60 minutes of driving time and the 30-60 minutes for eating, brushing teeth, getting that last drink of water, etc.; and the 9-10 hours (please God) that they're actually sleeping, you're not left with a whole heck of a lot. About 2-3 hours, in little chunks throughout the day.

One of those chunks has to be devoted to reading.

And not because Bookivore says so, because it just IS so.

And yes, you have to make room for it even if the best time to do it is while you're making dinner or right about when you want to put your own feet up and just be for a little while, or you've just gotten home from work and all you can think about is what the score might be in the game you were listening to on sports radio on the way home, or when you've spent most of the day running people to and from here and there and THEY don't want to read to YOU and you have to make them although secretly you'd rather just go take a long hot bath but the teacher says they have to read to you.

Oh baby, Bookivore feels your pain.

And yes, teachers understand that we have busy lives. They have busy lives, too. But it still has to be done. Not because they're mean or unfeeling, but because it's best for your child. If you have a first or second grader, even a third grader, it's critical to their development as readers.

So suck it up, baby.

You can do this.

Wednesday I'm going to post a few ideas for those 20 minutes to help pass the time as constructively as possible.

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