Why I’ve Read Aloud with my Son for 115 Days Straight and Won’t Stop
A few months ago I was reading Jim Trelease’s Read Aloud Handbook, the Eighth Edition, edited and revised by Cyndi Gorgois. In the book, they referenced a father and daughter who decided to see how many days in a row they could read aloud together. While they originally aimed for 100 days, they ended up with over 3,000 days. I was immediately inspired by this and mentioned it to my son, Xander. We both decided that we’d like to take on the challenge of reading aloud together every day for at least 100 days. On November 21, 2022, we started our read aloud journey. As this blog post is published, we’re now on 115 days.
Thankfully, reading together has been something that we’ve enjoyed together since he was born. As I mentioned in my previous post, 3 Daily Parenting Habits That Made All The Difference, reading aloud is a big, big deal to me. We started reading aloud to our kids the day our daughter was born, as you can see in this photo below.
The benefits of reading aloud to your kids are astronomical. As Molly DeFrank mentioned in her book, The Digital Detox, there is literally nothing negative about this activity. If you could find any single draw back it would be the inconvenience on the parent. But no one’s saying that you need to read to your kids 2 hours every day. Take 10 minutes. 15. Something is always better than nothing. And I’ll take 15 minutes of inconvenience any day for the all the benefits that come from reading aloud.
I want to point out the distinction here that I’m specifically talking about READING ALOUD to your child. Reading of any kind is great and I’m always encouraging my kids to read on their own: from when they were really little and only looked at the pictures to now at the ages of 8 and 10. Independent reading is awesome! But I’m talking about the super special experience that a parent and child enjoys TOGETHER: reading aloud.
Here are a few of the benefits of reading aloud to your children:
The list can go on and on. I have witnessed many of these benefits in my own children throughout my years of reading aloud to them.
Now let me tell you a little bit about my specific experience of reading 115 days in a row with Xander. Most days, it’s pretty easy to get our reading in. Our goal is to read at least 1 chapter of a chapter book but most days, it’s more than that. Some days we’ve read together for hours while some days we’ve only read for a few minutes. I would say we average about 20-30 minutes a day of reading together.
The hardest days:
I don’t know about you, but doing something EVERY DAY no matter what is actually pretty hard! A couple of weeks into our streak, I got REALLY sick. Like so sick I was crying as I was walking from the couch to the bed because I was in so much pain. The kind of sick that all I could do was watch TV. I couldn’t check my email or read a book or shower or anything. On those 2 days, Xander actually read aloud to me. He took about 5 minutes each day and read a few pages of the book we were on.
Another day I was working a wedding and wasn’t going to see him all day. He was already at my parents house for the day and I was going to be working until well after his bedtime. Before I went off to the wedding, I FaceTimed him through my parent’s phone so I could read a chapter to him.
In February, he attended a winter retreat where he’d be gone all weekend. We dropped him off Friday night and picked him up Sunday afternoon. We read together before drop off on Friday but what were we going to do about Saturday?! I coordinated with the camp director that we would plan a phone call sometime on Saturday to read to him. I kept my phone on me all day long and carried our book around every where Mark and I went that day so I would be ready to read to him at a moment’s notice. And sure enough, he called me while we were at dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. I pulled the book out of my jacket pocket and read to him right there in the middle of the restaurant.
Also in February, we drove to Nashville to do our Debt Free Scream with Dave Ramsey. The day was a flurry of emotions and celebrating and honestly our minds were just elsewhere. As we lay in the hotel room that night at 9:30pm trying to go to sleep, Xander popped out of bed and said, “mom!! We didn’t do our reading today!!!” So we walked out of the hotel together in our pajamas, grabbed the book from our car, and sat in the breakfast nook reading a chapter before bed.
In just 115 days, we’ve had our fair share of obstacles to try and keep this streak alive but we’ve done it! Both of us are really proud of our streak and have no plans on ending it any time soon.
First and foremost, my favorite benefit of reading aloud with Xander is the connection that it brings between us. It’s fun that we have something that’s “just ours.” It ensures that every single day we connect with each other. It gives us a lot to talk about as we’re always discussing our books. Most days we cuddle up close together on the couch and it’s nice to maintain that physical closeness as he gets older.
Second, the reading has become contagious within our family. Even though this streak isn’t something that I’m doing with my daughter (and I’ve asked several times, she doesn’t really want to do it, but we’re still reading together regularly!), it has definitely encouraged her own reading! Most days she listens in on the reading that I’m doing with Xander so she’s benefitting from it as well, but it’s also encouraged her to do more independent reading. She’s willing to try more books and some of the titles that Xander and I have read, Kenzie loved so much that she dove into finding books from that specific author. My husband is also inspired by it — he’s picked up a book that he could read with Xander and he’ll pick up some Goosebumps books to read with Kenzie from time to time as well.
Third, we’ve read some really fun stories! I’ve been absolutely delighted with many of the books that we’ve chosen and they’ve served as some great conversation starters. There are so many lessons to teach our kids in life but sometimes we don’t think of those lessons until it’s too late. Books give us a natural opportunity to talk about tough topics or experiences we may not have first hand. The stories we’ve read have been fun, silly, light-heartened, old-fashioned, dark, complex, and thought-provoking.
I asked Xander to write down some of his thoughts of our read aloud streak and here’s what he had to say:
Tools for you:
Now I want to invite YOU to join this adventure with me! I’m challenging YOU to read to your kids at least 15 minutes for 100 days. And if you don’t have kids take on this challenge for YOURSELF. Throughout this journey, I created a Read Aloud Tracker so Xander and I could easily log which books we’d read together and always keep count of the numbers of days we’d read. Now I get to share them with you!
The FREE Pages/Minutes Tracker:
In this FREE tracker, you can easily keep track of how many pages and/or minutes that you read every day. Have a goal to read 20 minutes a day? Simply start a timer when you start reading and when you’re done, stop the timer and log your minutes into this tracker. You can do the same with pages read as well. I have it automatically set up with a goal for 20 minutes or pages per day but you can customize that to fit your goals. You can see your progress for each month and over the course of the year. This is such a motivating tool that will help you reach your reading goals!
The Read Aloud Streak Tracker:
If you like the free pages/minutes tracker, then you will LOVE this Streak Tracker! I specifically made this to track my read aloud days with Xander and you could also use this for your own personal streak. Trying to create a daily reading habit? The tracker will be the tool to help you get there.
The Read Aloud Streak Tracker tracks both your current streak and longest streak over the course of two years. It shows how many days you read each month, each year, and all days total from when you first start tracking. There’s also a column to include the titles you’ve read and keeps track of how many books you’ve read during your streak.
The Read Aloud Streak Tracker, which is only a few bucks, also includes the pages and minutes tracker all in one document. Let’s do this! Whether you’re a parent or not, I’m challenging YOU to spend the next 100 days reading at least SOMETHING every day! Will you join me and Xander? Let’s create a reading culture in our homes! Join me in the 100 day streak below!
If you’d love to dive more into this topic and learn all about the benefits and joys from reading aloud with your kids, please check out these resources:
The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie along with her website: www.readaloudrevival.com
The Digital Detox, the Two Week Tech Reset for Your Kids by Molly DeFrank and her website: www.mollydefrank.com
How To Raise a Reader by Pamela Paul and Maria Russo
Jim Trelease’s Read Aloud Handbook: Eighth Edition, Edited and Revised by Cyndi Gorgois
And if you need some book recommendations, be sure to check out my blog post on the top 20 books that made an impact on my life HERE!
From your read-aloud-loving-mama,
Can’t wait to join your reading challenge and read to my son 100 days in a row!!