Last week, one of my favorite book bloggers, Janssen at Everyday Reading, hosted her second 5×5 Reading Challenge: read 5 picture books each day for five days in a row. I love simple challenges to help kickstart a habit, and this was perfect timing: it’s so easy to let reading fall by the wayside in our daily lives, but it’s something I want to make time for; Janssen says it best:
How many nights have you tucked your children into bed and thought, “I spent all day with them and we didn’t spend ANY quality time together?”
Even when I spend virtually every waking minute with my four children, it feels like my life is conspiring to make sure we don’t have any real time of connection.
That’s where reading comes in.
Put aside your laundry or dishes or emails for 15 minutes, snuggle your child on your lap and grab a stack of picture books. Give yourself (and your child) the gift of being the mom you want to be for those few minutes.
Reading aloud to your child is MAGIC. It creates an instant connection (both emotional and physical) and it creates memories that last a lifetime.
And we haven’t even talked about the academic benefits of reading with your child. Those are the icing on the cake!
The 5×5 Reading Challenge is a chance for you to create a deep bond with your child, establish new habits of togetherness and instill a love of reading that will benefit them through their life.
So last Sunday I printed out the reading chart (you know I love tracking!) and gathered some books from our collection for the challenge. My goal was to keep it super simple and low stakes: I didn’t try to stick to a theme or go to the library or book store for new books.
Throughout the week, I tracked our books and shared photos on my Instagram Stories. It was a fun way to focus on reading with Amelia!
Here’s what we read!
- Once Upon a Potty, by Alona Frankel
- Three Little Kittens, by Paul Galdone
- One Leaf, Two Leaves, Count with Me! by John Mickles Jr.
- Jake at Gymnastics, by Rachel Isadora
- This is Not My Hat, by Jon Klassen
- Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney
- Let’s Dance, Little Pookie, by Sandra Boynton
- Little Humans, by Brandon Stanton
- Mister Seahorse, by Eric Carle
- Knuffle Bunny, by Mo Willems
- The Hueys in What’s the Opposite? by Oliver Jeffreys
- Dream Animals, by Emily Winfield Martin
- The Secret Birthday Message, by Eric Carle
- Maple, by Lori Nichols
- The Littlest Family’s Big Day, by Emily Winfield Martin
- Doggies, by Sandra Boynton
- 8 Little Planets, by Chris Ferrie
- There, There, by Sam McBratney
- The Wonderful Things You Will Be, by Emily Winfield Martin
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, by Bill Martin Jr.
- Little Bitty Friends, by Elizabeth McPike
- The Shape of Me and Other Stuff, by Dr. Seuss
- Barnyard Dance, by Sandra Boynton
- If You Give a Dog a Donut, by Laura Numeroff
- Everywhere Babies, by Susan Meyers
A few takeaways from the challenge:
- Like most toddlers, Amelia likes the same few things over and over again. I was surprised that she was more receptive to new books than I thought she would be, and now we have some new favorites to read over and over again.
- Her favorite new books: Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems, Little Humans by Brandon Stanton, and The Secret Birthday Message by Eric Carle
- We read most of the books at mealtimes; it helped that Amelia was somewhat contained and less distracted. We usually let her watch videos while we eat, so it was a nice change of pace. Now she asks for books at most meals, which feels like a win!
- At almost 3, Amelia is ready for more complex picture books. I’ve been saving so many picture books that seemed too long or complex, but she can comprehend and pay attention to more complex stories now, which opens up so many options.
- We have always read books at bedtime, but making sure to read throughout the day was a fun way to spend meaningful time together.
I’m so glad I participated in this challenge, and of course I hope to keep the momentum going with more daily reading from now on!
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