boy readingA new study conducted by the Oxford University Press has found that less parents are reading to their kids at bedtime, particularly if the children have learned to read themselves -- somewhere around or after the age of 7.

And since other research has shown that children who read for fun are more likely to do better in school subjects such as English and math, the results of the study are disheartening. Parents can help encourage a child's love of reading by setting aside time to read to them each day.

Considering how busy most parents are, it's totally understandable that some taper off on how often they read to their kids simply because they are strapped for time, or they figure it just isn't necessary anymore if they're reading fine on their own.

My 7-year-old has been reading for quite some time, but even so, my husband and I still take turns reading him a chapter out of a book before bed each night, if for no other reason than it allows us to have a little extra quality time with him during our hectic days. We never really thought about it being something that would help him academically -- but that's an added bonus for sure!

However, we're very lucky to have schedules where at least one of us is usually home at night, which might not be the case for a lot of parents. But honestly, it probably doesn't matter what time of day you read to your child -- as long as you try and squeeze in a few minutes or so when you can.

Instead of making them do their homework as soon as they get off the school bus, why not take a short break and have them pick out a book for you to read and enjoy a little cuddle time on the couch?

Or how about the morning? Yes, I know mornings can be pretty crazy -- but how about reading to your children while they eat their breakfast? That could actually turn into a really fun routine that makes them more eager to get out of bed each morning. (One can hope.)

And if weekdays prove to be way too chaotic, you can also make it a point to chisel out special time on weekends to sit and read with your kids. One thing my son and I like to do is take turns reading pages in books -- often while we're still in our pajamas on Sunday mornings (and I'm enjoying coffee). It's actually relaxing in addition to being educational.

The bottom line is that it really doesn't matter how much you read to your kids or when you do it -- just make a point to do it. They'll thank you. (Someday.) Their teachers will thank you. And you'll be so glad that you have all of those wonderful moments to look back on when they're all grown up and leave the nest and get married and have kids of their own to read to -- "just like their mom/dad used to do with them." (Sniff, sniff.)

How do you make time for reading?

 

Image via Mary Fischer