Family Fun Reading Time

We have started a new family ritual at the Sanchez residence. It’s called Family Fun Reading Time! My four and a half year old son came up with the name. Basically during this set time everyday (well, most days), as a family, we read independently but in the same room. We have been doing this for a couple of weeks now and the other day my husband caught my son in his room on his bed reading a book all on his own. We are trying to instill a love of reading for our son and thought by modeling our love of reading with our children we could get them all to love to read or at least not hate it. We do read a book to our son every night, but this time is different because he is “reading” and exploring books on his own. If you would like to have some bonding time over books with your family centered around books then here are the steps for a successful family reading time.

This is the basket of books for independent reading time. My son comes here to choose the book he wants to read before we begin our family fun reading time.

Before you Begin

  • Set an achievable time limit.– We started with four minutes. For beginner readers or kids who don’t enjoy reading so much its good to start the independent reading time session length to equal their age in minutes. If your child is 5, Then start with 5 minutes. Then slowly work your way up to longer and longer time for Family Fun Reading Time.
  • Have a few options of appropriate leveled books for your children. For example, for our four-year-old, we have ABC books, books with no words, books with one word on each page, books with a few words on them, and books that we have already read and enjoyed with him.
  • Everyone chooses their own book to enjoy.
  • Have a quick discussion about why they choose the book? You may learn your child has an interest in a certain animal, etc. Then you can get more books on your child’s level at your local library or book store.
Jonathan is not reading yet, but he is familiar with the book and talking about it as he turns the page.


  • Everyone is quiet and enjoying their own book. This part was a little tricky at first with my son, but I would gently remind him that we are respecting each other’s reading time and would continue reading. He got the point.
We have been working on high frequency words and he recognized this word and was very excited about finding a word he knew.


  • Discussion. Each person shares something about their book. Whether it is their favorite part or something they learned, etc. The adults share first to model this step. One time my son read us his favorite page. It just blew me away.

As a former teacher, I am obligated to preach reading! Both are vital, reading to your child and having your child read on their own whether they are really reading or exploring their book. Setting this 10 minutes experience every night will hopefully instill a love of reading for my son as he enters Kindergarten next year.

I got to enjoy a bit of my book also! A win- win!