Do you want spend more quality time with your kids but don't want to organize events and activities? The answer is between the pages of a book. Set a goal to read aloud with your kids every day. For those of you who enjoy structured guidance when it comes to setting goals and following through, this 2024 Family Read Aloud Challenge is for you!
We've done a Poetry Reading Challenge, a Poetry Writing Challenge, even a Summer Library Challenge and now (drum roll) a family read aloud challenge. Given how pushy I am when it comes to reading aloud to your kids, I must confess I was shocked to discover I had yet to offer you this resource!
This 2024 reading challenge is designed to be flexible enough that you can easily complete it. All you have to do is read aloud to your kids one novel or chapter book each month.
Now, you might be saying, "Too easy! I read aloud at least one War and Peace-length novel to my kids each week!" To which I respond, "That's so good! You'll be able to complete this challenge for sure."
Others may be saying, "Too hard! My kids won't sit still for 5 minutes at a time." To which I respond, "I hear you. That why I've kept wriggling kids in mind with suggestions that will always include a short novel or chapter book." In addition, at the end of this post, I'll give you some handy tips for fitting read aloud time into your busy day.
See? This is gonna be so fun and so easy.
Would all your 2024 goals be so attainable!
How it works:
You already know you only have to read one book per month to be a winner. Each month has a special prompt to help you choose a book. Just before the start of each month, I'll email a few suggestions for books based on age groups. You can use one of my recommendations, or find your own.
If you're not already subscribed to our email newsletter, fill out this form and when you get the read aloud challenge printable, you'll also be subscribed.
Note that this is a novel or chapter book challenge. But, hey! If you want to make it a picture book challenge, go for it. Any and all books you read aloud to your kids count towards your "Best Parent in the Word" certificate.
Read Aloud Challenge Monthly Prompts
Each month has a unique reading prompt. You'll choose a book that aligns with the prompt. Some of these prompts have corresponding book lists, and my email reminders will include additional titles and maybe even new books I will have just read!
January: a funny book
Who doesn't love a book that makes you laugh out loud? Choose a book that will have you rolling on the floor, or one that makes you lightly chuckle. A healthy dose of humor is exactly what you need to start the year off on the right foot.
Useful list: 100 of the Funniest Funny Books
February: historical fiction
This month's theme is inspired by Presidents Day, but you can choose a book set in any time period and place you like! Our big list of historical fiction book includes choices from the Iron Age to the 1990s.
March: a Newbery Award winning book
The Newbery Award, established in 1921, is a literary award recognizing excellence in American children's literature. It is primarily awarded to authors of children's novels, as opposed to the Caldecott, awarded to illustrators. Not all Newbery winners or runner-ups stand the test of time but they make a great collection of books from which to pick you next read aloud.
Useful list: My 10 favorite Newbery books
April: a poetry book
April is National Poetry Month. Long time readers of this blog know I am super pushy when it comes to
demanding encouraging you to read poetry with your children. If you've never read aloud a poetry before, you may have reservations. Choose a poetry book or two and try reading one poem a day, at bedtime or at dinner time. You'll be surprised how easily poetry can become a daily habit.
May: a book set in Asia
In the US, May is Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Asia is an enormous continent and you have many countries to choose from!
Science fiction, otherwise known as "sci-fi" is a type of speculative fiction that is widely appealing. If reading about UFOs is not your cup of tea, don't worry, there are plenty of sci-fi books that don't involve aliens.
July: a story set at summer camp
Even if your kids don't go away to summer camp every year, they will enjoy hearing about the adventures of those that do!
Useful list: Summer camp books for kids
August: a book inspired by mythology
Tales with a mythology theme have exploded since the early days of Rick Riordan's popular series about Percy Jackson. Feel free to expand beyond Greek mythology to other countries, continents and cultures!
September: a book set on a ship
Ahoy there, matey! A ship signals adventure ahead, and maybe even a few pirates. Must the ship have to traverse water? No, indeed. If an ocean-going vessel doesn't suit, feel free to pick up a book set on an air ship, or a space ship!
Useful list: Big list of adventure books
October: a spooky, or spooky-ish book
October means Halloween and while some kids love to feel tingles racing down their spines, others do not. Fortunately, not every Halloween-themed book is spooky and we have book recommendations to suit any sensibility.
November: a read-alike book
We have an extensive resource of read-alike book lists, everything from Little House on the Prairie to A Series of Unfortunate Events, to Harry Potter. Name one of your favorite popular books and use one of our read-alike book lists to find a new title that appeals to you.
Useful resource: Read-alike book lists
December: a novel set during the holidays
Pick a holiday, any holiday. Sure it could be Christmas, but don't overlook Hanukkah or New Year. Or pick a random holiday from another time of year! The choice is yours.
How to Find Time to Read Aloud Everyday
Even if you have the best intentions, finding time to fit in reading aloud to your kids can be a challenge for some. The best way to start is to make a commitment to read aloud for 15 minutes every day. And you never know, it might be easier to find 15 minutes than you think!
Read aloud at bedtime. This is probably the most popular way parents take time out to read to their children. Everyone is (hopefully) relaxed, it's a great way to get kids to stay in bed (well, for 15 minutes at least) and it's easy to keep to a schedule.
Read at meal times. This is one of my top tips for reading aloud to children of different ages. Everyone is at the same place at the same time and you have a captive audience. Sure, you may not be able to get you dinner or lunch consumed, but I found this to be a very helpful technique for my kids who have a 4 year age difference.
Read aloud while waiting. This strategy is harder to keep to a regular schedule, but look at your children's activities. Do you sit on the sidelines with your youngest while your oldest has their music lesson? Are you waiting for one kid to finish up at the dentist while the other one waits for their turn? Stick a book in your purse or in the car (or use an e-reader on your phone) and you'll be able to read aloud during those moments where you might otherwise hand a screen over to keep them busy.
Read aloud during chores. Their chores, not yours! Perhaps you require your child to pick up their room and make their bed every day. Can you read aloud to them while they perform the task? It will make the chore more enjoyable for them and perhaps with the prospect of story time, you won't have to ask them forty-five times to make their bed!
I hope you join the challenge!