I was shopping recently and bumped into a friend in the peanut butter aisle. As we chatted she mentioned how much she loves taking her kids to the grocery store.
I nodded as she spoke, but inside I was thinking, “She likes to go to the grocery store? She finds it a bonding time with her kids? What?!? I don’t feel that way at all….what is wrong with me?”
I bumped into her again as we were both checking out. I bemoaned how the pony ride at the store exit made us late every time because I had to let each of my kids ride it.
She said, “Hey, you don’t have to do anything.”
She was right, of course. Why hadn’t I thought of that? I had believed the myth that letting the kids ride the pony individually was how a “good mom” took her kids to the grocery store.
According to Google, a myth is a “widely held but false belief or idea.” If you haven’t gotten into a groove of reading chapter books as a family, believing these myths about reading aloud may be what’s holding you back.
3 Myths About Reading Aloud That You Need to Stop Believing
Myth: The best time to read is as part of your kids’ bedtime routine.
Truth: There is no best time to read to kids.
You know your kids. You know your schedule. Read whenever you want.
We don’t read before bed because bedtime is hard for us. “Bedtime is hard for us.” That’s like the understatement of the decade….The truth is more like, “bedtime is so rough that my husband and I normally crash on the couch before everyone is fully tucked in and resort to yelling evening prayers up the stairs.” It’s a work in progress.
We read at times during the day that work for us. You should, too.
Myth: You should finish a chapter book if you start it.
Truth: Life is short.
If a book is not working for your family because it is boring, stop reading it. If you find that the content is not what you want your family to hear and you have to censor it as you are reading, stop reading it.
If your kids ask why you switched books all of the sudden, tell them there was a library emergency and they needed that book back. Or, just do what I do, ignore the question and ask if they want a cookie.
There are no prizes for people who slog through books that just aren’t enjoyable for them or their kids. In fact, it might make your kids less excited about your reading times together. This is one area where it is good to be a quitter.
Myth: Reading chapter books is a calm, quiet, indoor activity.
Truth: Reading can be done wherever and however you would like.
A book heard while swinging in the sunshine is just as good as a book heard while sitting primly inside.
My son loves it when I read a chapter or two to him while he is coloring. I let my toddler play with sensory toys while she listens. Some of my favorite memories of reading chapter books to my kids involve me reading the same line over and over again as they try to laugh the loudest and the longest.
Don’t believe the lie that this is a sedated activity. Read outside. Read while your kids run laps around you. Read loudly and joyfully. Read however you want to.
Ignore the Myths
When you believe these myths, you get discouraged about reading aloud. Make your chapter book reading time your own. Don’t fret if what your reading time looks like is completely different from your preconceived idea of what reading time should look like.
By focusing on the truth, you can have a great experience reading to your kids, too.
Just don’t ask me about how to have a pleasant grocery shopping trip, because I still think that is a myth!