Hi, Sanjay here 👋🏾. Story-time everyone... teaching your kids to read can be super rewarding and I'm here to tell you how we manage to do it while building eCommerce businesses (yes, plural because... residual income).
Sitting down together as a family to read helps provide children with a strong foundation to widen their vocabulary. Reading various stories nightly, or even just a couple of nights a week, consistently widens a child's word usage in a wild assortment of context.
Alright, so my 7-year-old son (Amir) is a character that amazes me every day when it comes to reading. A little back story, Amir has been listening to stories since he was born and turned out to be that child who just wanted to read every word in his sight. As soon as he mastered his phonics, he did not waste any time diving straight into reading books like PAW Patrol.
I quickly noticed that a side benefit of having myself, and everyone who is apart of Amir's community, that read to him from an early age enhanced his vocabulary beyond my wildest expectations. In addition to academic benefits, reading as a family has a positive impact on social and emotional development in children.
The easiest way to incorporate family reading time into your schedule is to set aside time dedicated to it. Well, since I like to share facts so here is my nightly routine for Amir and 3-year-old daughter (Ariah) during Quarantine COVID-19…
5:00 PM — Dinner time
Always* as a family. Each night we reflect and talk about our day, like work-from-home life for us, and home-learning for Amir & Ariah. To mix things up (and save us some time) ever so often, we like to order Hello Fresh and make some special planned meals a few nights during the week.
6:00 PM — Bath time
6:30 PM — TV time
We snuggle up to watch the Anime, "Naruto". To provide a little bit of context to how this has almost turned into a tradition. We started with the Dragon Ball Z saga first, which lead us to continuing with Naruto after Amir's Uncle suggested it. At this point it’s become hard-wired as part of our basic traditions, starting off with Ariah’s phrase “it's party time". The blessing came when Amir suggested that he wanted to start reading his Dragon Ball bookset (gifted to him by his Uncle for his 5th birthday) during his “Independent Reading” time to his virtual class. This little guy basically became the "On the next episode of "Dragon Ball" for his class mates who have never heard of Goku's epic journey to "Super Saiyan God".
Well, this takes us right into…
8:00 PM — Story time
Over the years we have read stories like Boss Pig, Boss Baby, Robert Munsch, and many other great books. Here’s a look into Amir’s growing “library” (which Ariah has her own now as well).
One #ProHustlTip for any parent: instead of asking for birthday cards, ask for a birthday book*. This has helped me grow our book collection over the years and makes gifts more personal. It takes a community!
8:30 PM — Work time
Lights out! This is where the magic happen, lol. By "magic" Natasha and I mean how the Hustl Works. Natasha and I open our Asana to-do list and tackle our daily task (we strive for 1 checkbox at a time) for 1.5 hours each day.
10:00 PM — Bed time
Time to relax and take some time for ourselves. Usually we lay in bed and just enjoy each other’s company while catching up on our Netflix Canada shows. We started off with Sister, Sister, now currently watching Girlfriends and can’t wait to start Moesha (since the BLM movement this past summer, Netflix released a few of our favourite throwback black shows, and they finally launched in Canada).
How to Work In Family Reading
Now it’s your turn. Here are 3 ways to work family reading time into your own home.
- Set examples: If the adults in your household make reading a priority and emphasize its importance, the children in your home will follow suit. In Jamaica we have a saying if you're raised around wolves you in turn become a wolf.
- Create your own library: Especially with being on lockdown and not having access to a public library, try to create a space that serves as their own mini book shelf in their room or just some where in the home in general. Designating an area in the home as library space for them to openly take and return books to, makes it exciting and creates a sense of ownership (start them off young).
- Make family reading time fun: Making reading not feel like a chore is the greatest advice I would give to any parent, especially Caribbean parents. Here are a few tips on how to get your child to consider reading fun
Have them read to you (even if they can’t read yet, an impromptu story works too - spark creativity!)
Let them choose their own book for the night (it’ll ensure it’s something they WANT to listen to)
Create different tones and voices for the characters in the book
Read books from their favourite TV shows and movies
Here's some recommendations for your family reading:Family Reading Booklist
Anyways, later days and let’s keep getting sh*t done, together!