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National Read Aloud Month: A Reading Challenge for Kids (and Adults)!

In honor of National Read Aloud Month coming up in March, I thought it would be fun to have a reading challenge where both parents and children can participate.  The “rules” of this challenge will be simple: read aloud with your child(ren) for at least 15 minutes every day during the month of March.  If you want to read more than 15 minutes that’s fine too, but the goal is to aim for 15 minutes of reading time with your little readers.  Do you think you can handle that?  Are you game?  If so, read on.

National Read Aloud Month Reading Challenge for Kids (and Adults)!

A read aloud reading challenge can help motivate all readers to:

  • Spend quality time together connecting face-to-face
  • Read for enjoyment
  • Overcome reading obstacles or fears of reading aloud publicly
  • Find more time to read
  • Help encourage parents to read with their children
  • Help encourage children to read with each other

If you decide to participate in this challenge with your kids, I know that thing called “life” may inevitably creep up on you.  There may be some hard days and you may miss a day, or two, or more.  If that happens, please give yourself enough grace to know that it’s okay.  You’re not a terrible parent, a failure, or any of the other stories you make up in your mind.  You simply didn’t read with your kids that day, but tomorrow is another day (God willing).

In the event you skip a day, perhaps the next day you double your reading time and make it 30 minutes.  If 30 minutes in one sitting is too much for you, perhaps you can break it up into two 15-minute read aloud sessions.  You get the picture – do what works best for you and your family.

There will be no specific type of reading material you need to read with your kids.  It can be books, magazines, or e-books, it’s all good!  You can also choose to read whatever books you want.  However, if you’re the type of person who prefers lists or likes the idea of having some direction for your reading choices, below I’ve listed a few ideas to help get you started.  Again, these ideas are not part of the reading challenge, I just included them for people who may tend to choose the same genres over and over again with their kids and want to mix it up a bit.

  • A book written by an African-American female
  • A book that is a bedtime story
  • A book of poems
  • A book of fairy tales, fables, or myths
  • A book about a historical event or person
  • A book that is funny and makes you laugh out loud
  • A book that has the word ‘friend’ in the title
  • A book your grown-up read and loved as a child
  • A book that is part of a series
  • A book that has a color in the title
  • A book on display at the library or bookstore
  • A book that is a classic children’s book written between the years 1970 and 1995
  • A book that has an animal name in the title
  • A book that has a number in the title
  • A book about another culture besides your own
  • A book about food that also includes a recipe
  • A non-fiction book about animals
  • A book about Easter
  • A book about St. Patrick’s Day
  • A book about Spring
  • A book about an inspirational female in honor of Women’s History Month (can be living or dead)
  • A book about vehicles/transportation
  • A book about the weather
  • A book about school
  • A book about community helpers
  • A book about sharing
  • A new book published in 2019 (I’ve listed over 125+ books to choose from here)
  • A book that won a Caldecott medal
  • A book about trees, plants or flowers
  • A bilingual book (can be any languages)
  • A few stories from a children’s magazine
  • A book written by author Carole Boston Weatherford
  • A book illustrated by Christopher Myers
  • A non-fiction book about bugs

Need some book suggestions?  Check out a few of my book lists:

100 Children’s Books to Read in 2016
Children’s Magazines
The Ultimate List of 2016 Children’s Picture and Board Books

I made a printable coloring page that you can use to help keep track of your reading.  Each day you read aloud with your kids for at least 15 minutes, let your kids color in a star.  My kids are motivated by charts that can be colored in.  There is a total of 31 stars on the chart – one for each day in March.  You can download a copy of the coloring page here.

This is great, but do I get a prize for completing the challenge?
If you and your kids complete this reading challenge, you can enter to win a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card.

Please note: There will be no way for me to tell if you actually completed this challenge, so it will be solely based on the honor system.  Please be true to yourself and your kids and only enter if you actually complete the challenge.

To enter, simply send me an e-mail at: hereweeread{at} between April 1 – 6, 2016.  In the e-mail please include a picture of the coloring page as an attachment.  (All stars should be colored in.)  Feel free to let your kids get creative and add different designs to the page if they choose.  The subject of your e-mail should be ‘I’m a Reading Rock Star’.  In the body of the e-mail please include your child’s first name, age, and the city you live in. (If you have multiple children, please only include information for one child in your e-mail.)

I will then randomly select a winner using by Friday, April 8th.  The winner will have 24 hours to respond before an alternate winner is chosen.

A love of reading is one of the best gifts we can give our kids. This read aloud reading challenge is just another way to work reading into your family’s life.  I hope you’ll join in the fun and enjoy spending time reading with your kids next month even if you don’t win the gift card.  Besides, you’re already winning if you’re reading!

To learn more about National Read Aloud Month please visit

Your turn: Do you like the idea of a read aloud reading challenge?  Are you planning to participate?  Feel free to share in the comments.

children's literacy

My Best Tips for Reading Aloud to Young Kids


Reading to my kids regularly is a fabulous, frugal, habit that I enjoy immensely. It costs little to nothing if you get your books from the library, and it’s a great way to spend quality time together.

I’ve heard from other moms that reading to your kids isn’t automatically an easy thing to do, especially if you have kids of multiple ages or have a very active kid who doesn’t like to slow down to listen.

So, in honor of National Read Aloud month, I thought I’d share some of my read aloud tips:

1. Make it a habit.

Read aloud every day.  Pick a reading time and put it on your schedule. After breakfast? At bedtime? After lunch? If you work it into your day, you’ll be more likely to do it and your kids will come to count on it.  We do our read alouds either in at bedtime or in the morning before daycare drop off.

2. Stop before they get tired.

Some kids can listen to books for hours. Some will only sit for 5 minutes – try to stop before your kids get antsy.  This also applies to you – stop before you get tired too.

3. Turn the story into a craft.

If you’re crafty like me, you can find easy projects to go along with most children’s books on Pinterest or other websites.  I’ll be sharing some of our book crafts on this blog as time goes on.

4. Use audiobooks!

These are great for quiet time, car trips or when you don’t have time to read books.

5. Keep a list of books you’ve read together.

Kids will enjoy looking back over the list and remembering their favorites. You might even get them to write a short review once they get older.  I hope my children will appreciate all of the books I have listed here on this blog that I’ve read to them over the years.

6. Build up their attention spans.

If your kids aren’t used to long read alouds, start small.  You can start with short picture books or even read a short chapter in a chapter book.

7.  Read at least three stories a day.

It may be the same story three times.  Research shows that children need to hear a thousand stories before they can begin to learn to read on their own.

Other General Tips:

  • Have fun!
  • Let your child see you reading. (Gotta practice what you preach, right?)
  • Talk about the pictures.
  • Show your child the cover page. Explain what the story is about.
  • Run your finger along the words as you read them.
  • Make silly sounds; especially animal sounds, are fun to make.
  • Choose books about events in your child’s life such as starting preschool, going to the dentist, getting a new pet, or moving to a new home.
  • Make the story come alive. Create voices for the story characters.
  • Ask questions about the story. What do you think will happen next? What is this?  What color is this car?
  • Let your child ask questions about the story. Talk about familiar activities and objects.
  • Let your child retell the story (when they are old enough).
  • Visit your local library often.

Reading with Your Baby

Hold your baby on your lap while you read.

I find that babies like…

  • board books (in case they try to chew on them or put them in their mouth)
  • pictures of other babies
  • rhymes and songs from the same book(s) over and over
  • when you point at pictures – this is how babies learn

Reading with Your 1-Year-Old

Let your toddler move around while you are reading if they want to.
Name the pictures – this is how toddlers learn new words.
Read labels and signs wherever you go.

I find that 1-year-olds like …

  • the same book(s) read over and over
  • to choose and hold the book
  • books about food, trucks, animals, and children
  • books with a few words

Reading with Your 2-Year-Old, 3-Year-Old or 4-Year-Old

Let your toddler move around while you are reading if they want to.
Read labels and signs wherever you go.
Keep different books around the house and let your child choose.

I find that toddlers like …

  • to help turn the pages
  • to fill in the words in a story they know
  • to point and name pictures
  • to hear the same book(s) over and over
  • books that are silly
  • animal books and animal noises

I hope these tips help inspire you to start a read aloud habit with your kids if you’re not already doing so.  Read to your child daily because you love being with your child, not because it’s the right thing to do.

What are your best tips for reading aloud to your kids?

read aloud

March is National Read Aloud Month


March is National Read Aloud Month, started by Read Aloud 15 Minutes.  Reading aloud every day is the single most important thing you can do to prepare your child to learn.  Pretty cool, right?  Best of all, it’s completely free!

When every child is read aloud to for at least 15 minutes every day from birth, more children will be ready to learn when they enter kindergarten, more children will have the literacy skills needed to succeed in school, and more children will be prepared for a productive and meaningful life after school.

These facts are at the heart of the Read Aloud 15 Minutes campaign, to get have every child, from birth through age 5 read aloud to each day. Babies are born learning, making these years so crucial to development. Reading aloud for just 15 minutes a day for the first five years impact babies and children through:

  • Language development
  • Literacy skill building
  • Instilling a love of reading
  • Brain development
  • Knowledge gained and shared
  • Bonding

Only 48 percent of young children in the United States are read aloud to each day. March is a great time to increase those numbers. Join me and read aloud to a child during Read Aloud Month.