When people find out I am an educator/teacher, they generally ask two questions:

First, “How do handle teaching seventh grade?” or “I could never do that” or something like that.

Second, They have a child, or know someone who has a child that is struggling in school, and they want to know what “advice” I would give.

I shared a link a few weeks ago about the top eleven reasons to read, but I wanted to add to that a little bit.

A “Reading Account” is single greatest investment you can start for your child’s future. It truly is an investment both on your time and theirs. There will be nights when neither of you want to read, or don’t have the energy or the time. There will be nights when fights will occur, or someone will leave the room frustrated, you or your child.

Many of you may be thinking, “Mr.Campbell how do you know?” Well, my wife and I have five kids and we struggled for a long time until we did these five things.

I understand that reading 30 minutes a night is, and can be, very difficult. Like many of you, I have two jobs that require my time and attention. Like you, I have other responsibilities, obligations, and distractions to pull me away from this 30-minute window.

Here are five steps to Making Reading 3o Minutes a Night Easier, not perfect, but easier.

  1. Children Need Reading Examples Both of my parents were educators, you could say its in my blood. Growing up, our house was filled with books. My father still has his Lazyboy– probably 30 years old— sitting in his den. Many times when we take the boys over to see grandpa, they know that he will be sitting in his Lazyboy reading the paper or a book.  Students need reading examples both at home and school. Seeing teachers reading at school is important, but they see us for a total of 135 hours out of a 365-day period. That is not a lot.  Parents and siblings need to be Reading Examples at home. I know that some parents are not readers, it is ok, and you and your student can grow your “Reading Investments” together.

2.   Consistency  It is more important to read less time consistently, than more time occasionally. Develop a “Reading Investment” calendar or chart or bank account or something like that. When you reach so many minutes go spend the money or go do something fun. Obviously, you don’t have to put real money in, just something that represents an investment in the future.

Being consistent will be the hardest task.  Build expectations of everyone around you. Let family, friends and others know that at a certain time each day you will be reading with your child(ren). Consistency will take sacrifice and test your time management skills. Consistency in anything is difficult, not just reading. Remember you are building a “Reading Investment” for your child(ren).

3. Choice- Allow your child to read whatever they want, as long as it is on their reading level and appropriate for their age.  If you have a son that is in to BMX, Skateboarding or Snowboarding, let them read some of those types of books and magazines. Let them teach you about the things that they care about. Many of you might not know what a Nollie-Back-Side-180-Heeflip is, but your kids might. Choice is a huge thing for kids, especially middle schoolers. Let tour kids pick the books they want to read, they are more willing to enjoy and finish the books that they choose.

4.Reading Out Loud- If a child is reading out loud, logically, that means there needs to be someone listening. When students hear themselves read they will begin to hear their own mistakes. Students will comprehend/remember more because they are using more senses-Listening and Speaking. This may be obvious, but when a child read out loud to a parent they spend valuable time together which strengthens their relationship, and builds their reading skills.

5. Make Books/Magazine Available- Take your kids to the library regularly. Maybe you could get together with neighbors and rotate weeks or something like that. When possible, purchase books to add to their “home” library. You can find good cheap books in many places: Craigslist, Ksl.com, Ebay, yard sales, estate sales, Deseret Industries, Savers, Good Will, book orders, garage sales, and public library catalog sales. The famous saying, “If you build it, they will come” from the movie Field of Dreams fits really well here. Slowly building a library for your children will bring them to the books. It may not be instant, but if you build it they will read.

This is not an end all be all list, but more of a “this is worked for us” list.

If you have suggestions or things to add please comment and let me know. What would you add or change from this list.