Assigned Kiddo Reading Time

Posted 25 September, 2016 by Trish in Mommyhood, Reading Nook / 25 Comments



Happy Sunday!

Here we are a month into Kindergarten. Can you believe it? This past week it was college week at school and so I explained that when Elle turned 18 and finished high school she would/could go to college. She cried that she didn’t want to go to college and leave home. Me either baby girl. Me either. Thankfully we don’t have to think about that for many more years! But yes I know…it’ll be here before I know it. Sob.

While Elle hasn’t come home with any homework from school yet, her teacher has asked that parents read to the kiddos 20 minutes each day. Reading books before bedtime has long been routine for us, but it rarely equates to 20 minutes and I’m usually putting the baby down while Scott reads to the bigger girls. I miss having that reading time in bed with them.

One of the benefits of being able to pick Elle up from school and have some alone time with her before getting her sisters is having built in reading time. While some days this does feel more like a chore, I’m trying to keep things fun and light and not go too much into my teacher mode to try and make this time about learning.

This is a struggle for me because I worry. It’s difficult not to compare to other kiddos who are already reading a bit and have a good handle on sight words. We’re still trying to keep individual letters straight. The past four weeks have shown great improvement but I do wonder if I’ll eventually be researching dyslexia, which is hereditary. And then I take a billion deep breaths and remind myself that we are only four weeks into kindergarten.

Mama never stops worrying. For better or worse.

But! I’ve been trying to make the most of our reading time together and have been having a lot of fun with it. Last week I read a Book Riot article from Raych about Tiny Ladies Doing Shit and put ALLLLLL the books on hold at the library. We are making our way through Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible right now and I’m loving it. I think most of the jokes are going over Elle’s head, but this take on Sleeping Beauty is just too much fun.

Harriet the Invincible is our first chapter book and I’m hoping I can use it to leap into some of the other books I’ve been wanting to read. Short attention spans and glazed over eyes is still a problem at this age, but 20 minutes a day seems to be the perfect amount of time.

My hope is that I can sneak in Alice in Wonderland next. Maybe the Little House on the Prairie books. Can you believe I’ve never read The Secret Garden?! Honestly, I feel like I’m a poor gauge of what is appropriate for a five year old–should I be sticking to easier books or go ahead and read some of the more advanced ones to her?

We’ll figure it out, I’m sure. In the meantime, I’m soaking up those extra snuggles with someone who is growing much too quickly. I’ve always loved these quieter and slower times with my girls.

Do you have memories of “reading” longer books when you were little? At what age did you start reading longer books with littles in your life?




Books Recently Finished: Since my last Sunday post, I skimmed the rest of Total Money Makeover and counted it finished. If you skim through a book but got 100% of the gist, do you count it toward your annual tally? I also finished What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty and really enjoyed it.

New Books in the House: Celebrate Everything by Jenny Rosenstrach came out this past week. She wrote Dinner: A Love Story and I adore her. I haven’t had a chance to really dig into the book yet but it’s just as lovely as DALS.

New Books on my E-Reader: Someone needs to take Amazon one-click away from me. Thankfully I’ve had some gift cards to blow through lately. Last week I picked up Catastrophic Happiness (a motherhood memoir) and The Secret Keeper (for book club). I also recently got the ebook copy of Lonesome Dove since I have the beast of a hardcover on my shelf and that’s just not gonna happen. Pst…who wants to read Lonesome Dove with me? I’m thinking November.

Books on the Nightstand: Lots of cookbooks! I’m taking the leap into Once a Month Cooking next month so have been doing lots of research. I’m also about 50% of the way through Germinal by Émile Zola, but I have to set it aside to read The Secret Keeper.

(Amazon links are affiliate so I receive a small small commission if you make a purchase through your clicky clicky. Thank you for the support to help keep this blog afloat!)


What’s going on in your neck of the woods today? Curled up with a good book?


25 Responses to “Assigned Kiddo Reading Time”

  1. Well the good thing about never having read The Secret Garden is that you get to experience it for the first time! Re Hamster Princess, I actually love books that have levels for both the kids and the parents who read them; it makes it more fun than those boring books like My First Trip to the Dentist. Maurice Sendak books are great for that. I just read an article somewhere that reading advanced books to kids is good because it helps build their vocabularies. And in truth, I think they tend to be more interesting!

  2. I read Lonesome Dove years ago and actually really liked it, which shocked me!

    Also – my son just started Kindergarten and isn’t reading yet. He can sight some words, but is not even close to reading. It’s so hard to compare kids to each other…I feel like that drives me crazy!

  3. I wouldn’t compare your kiddos to other kiddos. They all learn at a different speed. It will all work out in the end. :)

  4. Beth

    Neither of my daughters read much until 1st grade (except with me), and whereas my oldest quickly graduated to chapter books, my youngest wasn’t interested until 3rd grade. Every kid is different and being an early or late reader isn’t necessarily a sign of anything. We were told when ours started reading that we shouldn’t worry or push them, that most of the kids in the class would be reading at the same level soon enough–and they were.

  5. Diane

    20 minutes does seem like a lot of parent and child reading. With 3 kiddos at the end of a busy day, I’m not sure many parents have an extra hour.

    • Well thankfully I only have “assigned” reading time with one…though eventually she will do the 20 minutes on her own. That’s the hope anyway. :) I’m not looking forward to when actual homework comes home!

  6. Kayo

    I realize to a mom with little kiddos my advice to “just enjoy” sounds like typical mom advice. My kids are grown and long gone, I seriously long for just 10 minutes of those crazy days.
    The love and effort that you put into reading will come thru to all your girls.
    Enjoy! : )

  7. Don’t worry about not being able to read on her own yet. Mine is the same age and we’ve been working on sight words and progressing a bit, but it’s been a struggle trying to get him interested in reading on his own! And he gets so easily distracted by the pictures on those beginning reader books that we are working on!

    Have you tried those BOB books? I didn’t like them when I first saw them, but when my boy was in preschool, his teacher sent one home a week to practice reading with a parent, and I think the repetition of sounds really helped him.

  8. I loved assigned reading as a kid, but complained with my friends. couldn’t let them know i was a nerd!
    I also never read Secret Garden, but Little House would be good for her. Not sure about 5 yrs old though. I read in like 2nd grade I think???

    I’m down for Lonesome dove!

  9. I probably read The Secret Garden and the Little House books when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade, although I honestly don’t remember. I know I wasn’t reading until Kindergarten, though. It seems like kids are learning earlier these days than when I was growing up. I wouldn’t fret too much. She’ll get there as long as she isn’t pushed (which always seems to cause resistance, at least with my kiddo).

    Yes, I count a book if I’ve read at least half of it and skim the rest. Too much time invested to not let it count! :)

    I want to read Lonesome Dove, so maybe I’ll join you. I need a push to read a chunkster!

    By the way, an old post of yours from 2014 (about your return from Pennsylvania!) turned up in my emails this morning. So odd!

    • I definitely don’t expect her to be reading those kinds of books on her own for a few years! But I wonder if her attention span is enough for me to read her a chapter or so a day. Guess the only way to find out is try. And guess it’s not the end of the world if I’m the only one getting something out of the story. ;) And yes…very weird about the email! If you still have it, do you mind emailing it to me so I can investigate? If not, not a big deal.

      • I didn’t save the email, but it was your post about returning from a trip to Pennsylvania and getting ready to go to S.F. (I think) for a wedding (your sister’s?). I use Time Warner Roadrunner for email, so who knows. It could have been sitting on their server all this time! :)

  10. I’m excited to check out this Book Riot link and the Hamster Princess! My kinder girl is bringing home Rainbow Fairy books from the library and while she loves them and is SO proud I kind of despise them. So my husband and I talked up the Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe and we read chapter one this weekend. She wanted to keep going at bedtime so I’m calling that a win! I also want to get Princess in Black, try the Magic Treehouse and try the illustrated Harry Potter. We first read Stuart Little which she liked most of. 20 minutes can be hard to squeeze in – but it is so fun. S isn’t reading yet so ease up on your worries mama. You’re watching her and you’ll be ready when you need to take a step.

  11. Oh, goodness! We were reading the Harry Potter series aloud to Connor when he was born. Then, when he started reading on his own, we made him read at least the first few books aloud to us as his nightly reading. We did the same with Holly. To make it fair, when they were reading, we alternated pages. I would read one page, and she would have to read the next. It was a great way to incorporate reading some big books with them, getting that one-on-one time, and introducing them to an amazing series. Now, I have two voracious readers. We did something right!

  12. I admit I don’t read chapter books to Mouse very often. I tried a couple times, and she was just so bored. I want reading to be fun for her. I do have Princess in Black that she picked out at her book fair, which has chapters, but we haven’t gotten to those yet. I have to remember where I put them.

    We’re supposed to do 15 minutes of assigned reading a day on top of her other homework. I don’t call the reading homework though when I tell her it’s reading time. I tell her it’s a reward for getting through her other homework. LOL So far she buys it. She’ll come to me with a stack of six or seven of her books to read to her at one time. I love that. She chooses a good mix, and it’s been fun having her read her sight words when we come across them.

  13. SarahBeth

    Oh gosh, when I was a kid I was a veracious reader. I used to hide under the covers with a flashlight. My mom did read chapter books to me, usually a chapter a night. Some stuff I liked:

    Where the Sidewalk Ends
    Little House on the Prairie
    The Babysitters Club (I don’t think they make these anymore)
    Nancy Drew

    She’s probably not ready for Harry Potter (because after book 3 they start to get a bit dark) but in a few years she’ll probably be there.

    • We just finished Where the Sidewalk Ends and while most of it went over their heads, it was SO much fun to read. I loved Babysitters Club and Nancy Drew when I was younger, too! :)

  14. I think around kindergarten we were reading short chapter books like The Mouse and the Motorcycle and lots of Roald Dahl. We never stuck with the suggested times though, just read whatever felt right each day. Now though, starting this summer before 7th grade, I had Z read 30 minutes a day. I know that junior high was when I stopped reading for fun until sometime during college and I don’t want that to happen to him. He’s never been much of a solo reader but he’s read five books since June so I’m happy!
    The only advice I can give is that it’s okay to stop a book if it’s not keeping Elle’s attention. There’s nothing wrong with trying something and finding that it’s not the right time for it. Better than making overly safe choices! :)

  15. “Tiny Ladies Doing Shit” is perhaps the best article title ever.

    When I first tried reading chapter books to my kids, it was a bust. So I backed off and waited, and now they’re all over it. Each kid is going to be different, too. Keep it fun for both of you, keep the focus on the coziness and mutual delight in what you’re reading.

  16. KT

    I read Wizard of Oz to my 4 year old this summer and he loved it so much. We play Oz the great and Terrible all the time, so I think she could handle some of the longer books. We try to take it slow and easy. After a long/harder book like Oz, we do several shorter books with lots of pictures. Another favorite of his is Mr. Popper’s Penguins, though it had a slower start and I wasn’t sure we would make it through at first.

    Thanks for the link! I love books with strong lady characters!

  17. I can’t believe our kiddos are in kindergarten! Gage has had around 100 sight words for a year, BUT hasn’t shown anything but frustration when I’ve tried to get him to read. His teachers say normal, but I too have worried about dyslexia. Trying to let things develop. Over the past 2 months there is a slight interest in actually sounding out words at school, but I’m trying to get myself out of teacher mode right now.
    When I mentioned dyslexia to a therapist who runs a social group she told me she wasn’t diagnosed til 2nd grade, didn’t read til third and read Jane Eyre by 5th grade. She also has two Masters degrees. The conversation helped calm the worry a bit :)

    • I’ve been told that they won’t even begin testing for dyslexia until second grade. There are a lot of successful people who are dyslexic and I think so much of it is about the support the child receives. Thankfully I think so many districts have made huge improvements over the past decade. Mamas gonna worry, huh… Trying my best to let things come as they will and let her learn at her own pace. Hope things are going well for you guys otherwise!!