In the early years, reading practice is often the only homework assigned because it helps children develop learn early language skills and turn into confident readers. You may be wondering how much time to reasonably spend on the home reading practice and how can you fit it in while still preserving the few weekday evening hours you have as a family.

We put together some suggested guidelines to help you but remember, they are guidelines only. If you are having a particularly busy week or your child has a late-night extracurricular activity, you may not be able to read every night at bedtime. But if you find that reading time keeps getting pushed aside for other activities, you may want to adjust the family schedule to make regular time for reading practice.

Every night: Bedtime stories are more than a cozy snuggle, they help children learn the pleasure of a good story. By listening to a book, they learn the way words complement the illustrations, how to read with expression, and begin to develop a rich vocabulary.

As your child gets older, the bedtime story needn’t come to an end, instead, introduce chapter books into the nightly read aloud time. Summarize the previous chapter before beginning to read the next chapter, and when you finish reading both you and your child can predict what will happen next. Above all else, keep the bedtime reading enjoyable. If your child doesn’t want to discuss the book, follow their lead and keep reading!

3-5 times a week: Your child’s teacher has possibly sent home some just-right books for your child to read. Set a timer and read them for 10-15 minutes. It is important for them to read appropriate books so they can practice their reading skills such as fluency and expression without working too hard on the decoding. We encourage you to let your child reread these books several times to gain confidence and fluency. A reluctant reader may be motivated to read by playing a game with some of the vocabularies from their books after reading.

Three times a week: Use Ooka Island three times a week for 30 minutes as a screen time activity for reading practice. While children can play our game-based reading program independently, we’ve noticed kids like to share their accomplishments with their parents. If you’re short on time, why not set your child up in the kitchen with our reading app while you make dinner? They can practice their reading with you nearby to cheer them on! Both Julie Nowell, of 3 Chickens And A Boat,  and Erin Silver from The New Family noticed proximity especially motivated their reluctant readers.

Is homework time a battle in your house? We have four tips to help you reduce homework struggles with early readers.

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