Read together as a family

As adults we often think of reading as something we learn to do, something we do when we are instructed to or as an activity we do by ourselves.

Even when sharing books with our children, we often fall into the comfortable routine of a story at bedtime or reading the book sent home from school. But reading can be so much more!

During this current 'stay at home' climate, reading is an opportunity to share and enjoy books and stories as a family. Whether you are a family of two, or a family of seven there are lots of ways to enjoy books together.

Siblings reading together

Reading and sharing books with children doesn’t just have be adult to child; siblings can be a great support to each other. An older child reading to a younger child not only gives them a chance to practise reading aloud, but can become a special shared time together. The children can begin to experiment with what makes good reading aloud (trying out different voices for example) and they won’t even realise they are practising!

Be prepared though to hear your reading style mimicked! Making a den can be a good way to make this reading time cosy; a couple of chairs, a sheet, a few cushions, inside or outside and maybe a teddy or two is all that’s required. And a few books of course!

Family reading time

Whether you are all sharing the same book or reading your own individual books, take some time to just sit down and read as a family. Model good reading habits; let your children see you enjoying reading for entertainment, talk to them about what you are reading. Children mimic what they see their parents doing and will be more likely to pick up a book for enjoyment if they see you doing it too.


Lots of authors have uploaded videos of themselves reading their books aloud and while sometimes they’re a good option for children to entertain themselves independently, they can also be a way to bring the family together. Watching or hearing some of your favourite stories and seeing how the author brings the book alive through voice and actions gives you lots to talk about. Having a relaxed chat about what you heard and saw, maybe over tea, whilst playing outside or even when chatting to grandparents on the phone, sustains the interest. You could even set yourselves a little challenge of taking something that impressed you, and try adding that skill or technique to your own reading aloud.

Audio Books

With easy access to so many platforms there are plenty of opportunities to listen to stories and books being read aloud. Choose a book that will interest you all; maybe it’s a current family favourite or something from your own childhood. Listen to a chapter or two a day and talk about it in between. If you are a member of your local library then investigate what services they offer; many libraries during this time are offering audio books on loan.

Make books available

Where do you keep your book collection? Think about having a joint collection in a main living space. Books will become part of the family and your children can see a whole range of books from novels, picture books, cookery, travel guides and much, much more. Children often don’t know what kinds of books are out there and this can tempt them to try something new. There’s absolutely no harm in children looking at a book that’s too advanced – either read it together or just look at the pictures. The more exposure a child has to a range of books the better chance they have of finding something they enjoy!