15 Ways to Find 15 Minutes to Read

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15 Ways to Find 15 Minutes to Read from LibraryAdventure.com

I try to incorporate literacy tips at each of my Story Times. Recent research has emphasized the importance of reading to children for at least 15 minutes every day, but when I suggest this I usually see grown ups roll their eyes and hear groans and complaints about how hard it is to find 15 free minutes.

I know, I get it, I do. Most of us haven’t peed alone in years. We are running from one activity to the next, desperate to make it home by nap time so we can get dinner on the table. We are juggling jobs and kids at different schools and conflicting baseball schedules. We are exhausted. The thought of adding one more thing is daunting.

Rather than preach about how important daily reading is…

(if you want to know more about why you should read to your kids 15 minutes a day check out www.readaloud.org for a ton of  inspiring information.)

…I’d like to suggest 15 ways to find the extra 15 minutes to read aloud to your kids.

The 15 minutes don’t have to be consecutive, and you don’t have to stick to just reading books. They key to making sure you get reading time in is ROUTINE. Find little ways to incorporate a little reading several times a day and you will be on the right path.  In fact, how about finding 15 ONE MINUTE segments every day where you can add a little reading? Doesn’t that sound more manageable?

Guess what, you are probably already doing some of these things!

Start by stashing books everywhere – the kitchen, the bathroom, the car, diaper bag, purse. Any place you can think of where you might find one minute to grab a book and read out loud.

1. Most of us think of reading before bed, but don’t forget naps too! If your little one crashes before you can even crack a cover, try adding a quick story before donning pajamas or during nursing or a bottle. Moving reading until after the nap might be even better.

2. Potty training? Pull up a bathmat and grab a picture book! Still in diapers? Keep a cloth book on the changing table and read a page or two while you let your baby explore the book – added bonus, this keeps baby’s hands occupied and out of the mess.

3. Read during bath time! Of course you need to keep a hand on small wiggly babies, but bathtub books alleviate any worries of dunked paper pages. With older toddlers and preschoolers this is a great time to find a few minutes to read. Besides, they are already sitting!

4. Waiting rooms – Keep a book handy in the diaper bag to pull out while waiting at the doctor’s, hairdresser’s, bus stop, etc.

5. Car – Picking up an older sibling at school? Stash a book in the car in case of an unexpected wait in a parking lot.

6. Public transportation – Check out this awesome photo. “Giving the gift of reading.” Need I say more?

7. Read signs out loud while you are driving. No one said we had to read just books.

8. Along the same lines, point out directions and recipes and read them aloud as babies and toddlers ‘help’ with chores.

9. Got a kid who never stops moving? Set up an obstacle course with reading stations. Bring a book to the playground and read one page for every 10 pushes on the swing or trips down the slide. Try books that include movement in the story. No one said you had to read sitting still!

10. Read a minute or two before a t.v. or computer break.

11. Point to the words being spoken out loud from your prayer or song book at your place of worship. Even if they only focus for a few seconds little ones will soon discover there is a connection between the written and spoken text.

12. Keep a book in the stroller basket – Whip it out and read a page or two right after you strap in. Take a walking break and share another page or two.

13. Grocery shopping provides tons of reading opportunities – Read the signs, shelves, boxes. Long check out line?  Grab a mag and do a picture walk together.

14. Read whatever you are reading OUT LOUD!  Yes, read the sports page, your novel, your blog roll to your little ones. It all counts and you get to lead by example.

15. Story Time! Most programs are 30-45 minutes long, which means you are all set for the whole day!!

Where else can you think of to sneak a little reading in every day?




About Anne McKernan

Once upon a time Anne McKernan, a very tired mother of two, walked in to a library ... the next thing she knew she was leading her town library's story time programs. Read more at http://itsybitsymom.wordpress.com


  1. You’re right, we are are doing most of these things already – or did them when the children were younger. I feel so much better 🙂 Thanks!


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