About a year ago I read a thought provoking statistic. It stated that 87% of kids ages 6 to 11 say they enjoy being read to out loud to by their parents. Unfortunately though, only 38% of kids ages 6-8 and 17% of kids ages 9-11 are read out loud to by their parents. See the full report from Scholastic HERE.
I found this statistic shocking. First off I was surprised that “big kids” enjoyed being read to. I quickly tried to go back and remember what age I quit liking to be read out loud to, and I couldn’t recall. I thought, I would actually probably enjoy someone reading me a good bedtime story tonight, in my late 20’s.
Next, I naturally thought how do I measure up? I thought about our bedtime routine and how we read stories to each of our children each night before bed. But then I realized, I had already quit reading to my oldest child Thomas, age 6 at the time. His school encourages children to read through a monthly reading program where they try to read at least 500 pages per month. Part of the requirement for first graders to “earn” pages is to either read the pages themselves or to sit side-by-side with a parent and track each word while the parent helps them. Well since Thomas was a proficient reader and I had three other kids to read bedtime stories to, I had pretty much excused myself from reading with Thomas because he was faster on his own.
So this left me with a problem. I wanted Thomas and eventually the other kids to earn as many “pages” as they could for their school’s program, but I wanted to keep reading out loud to my kids. After reading that statistic I was determined to read out loud to my kids regularly. So I pondered this for a little while trying to decide what to do. I had also been recently influenced by the talk “The Sabbath is a Delight” and I was looking for ways to make our Sundays more enriching.
With all of this swirling around in my mind I was prompted to start “Sunday Reading Time with Mom”. Doing Sunday Reading Time with Mom has been one of the best ideas I have integrated into our family. This is how it works, after lunch on Sundays we grab a blanket and curl up on the couch together. If it’s a nice day, sometimes we go outside. I have a special shelf in our living room where we keep children’s bibles, illustrated scripture stories, books that teach christ-centered values and principles, and The Friend Magazines. The kids go to the shelf and pick a few books each and I read them out loud to everyone.
Unlike bedtime story time, I am never rushed. It is the Sabbath and I literally have nothing better to be doing than keeping the day holy. When the kids ask for one more, I am happy to oblige instead of crankily snapping that it’s late or I’m too tired. Unlike some of my other Sabbath day plans, the kids never complain when I say “It’s Sunday Reading Time with Mom.” They actually look forward to it. My mommy triumphs as a mom seem small and far-between but so far this has been a win-win-win.