There's a saying that goes: The family that plays together, stays together. It may not rhyme as well, but I think it's just as accurate to say: The family that reads together, stays together.
From the time our kids were infants, Alfie and I read to them. Even when they would rather chew on a book than read it, we patiently read to them every single night. Those bedtime stories not only helped them learn to read, it instilled in them a love of books that I'm hoping will last a lifetime!
Our bedtime story tradition continued long after they learned to read on their own. My kids still have fond memories of giggling to Alfie's crazy impersonations of Dora the Explorer! The kids are in middle and high school now, but even though we no longer gather in bed to read a book, that tradition has brought us closer in unexpected ways. We now have an updated version of the tradition-- every morning at 7:00AM, the kids all come into our bed and we watch 15 minutes of the morning news together. At this point, we can barely fit on our bed (the latecomer always ends up at the foot of the bed!), but we love this time together because it's a way to say good morning to each other, to snuggle together, and to learn about what's happening in the world. My kids are well versed on current events, and we use the news as opening for discussing topics like smoking, drugs, bullying, race relations, and other things that directly impact their lives.
Another way we continue our tradition of reading together is reading the same books, then talking about the books together. I love having discussions with the kids about young adult fiction such as Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and the Hunger Games! Do you love to read with your family? Keep it up -- as it did with my family, reading together will pay off in unexpected ways!
To inspire and encourage families to keep learning alive by reading great books together. National PTA and Amazon Kindle are kicking off a PTA Family Reading Challenge this summer. National PTA will empower families with tips and activities that encourage ongoing reading, while challenging them to share photos, videos and memories that demonstrate how and why reading together is a fun and treasured family activity. Go to ptareadingchallenge.org for more details and to sign up!