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  • Writer's pictureJanay Neufeld

How to Build a Daily Reading Routine at Home: Tips for Parents That Kids Will Love

Reading is a vital skill every child should be exposed to at an early age to foster your child's development and build a solid foundation of reading. Reading helps children expand their language skills, cognitive development, and vocabulary. Reading enhances their comprehension and critical thinking abilities and provides a great way to develop empathy and imagination and better understand the real world around them. Additionally, children who read regularly perform better academically than those who do not.

As a parent, one of the best ways to help your child build their reading skills is by establishing a reading routine at home. The good news is that you don't have to spend a long time reading with your child each day or even sit down and read an entire book. Reading for just 20 minutes daily can significantly impact a child's academic and personal development. It is a simple yet effective way to support a child's growth and reading success.

Statistics of why your child should read 20 minutes a day
Why your child should read 20 minutes a day from Janay Neufeld at My Online Reading Tutor

Should I Read Aloud to My Child, Or Should They Read to Me?

For younger children who cannot read yet, reading aloud to them is very beneficial to developing literacy skills. They learn a lot from listening. Take the time to point out any letters or sight words they may be learning and stop and ask questions as you go to monitor their comprehension and understanding. The following are some questions you can ask your child to engage your young reader:

Before (helps children build upon prior knowledge and make connections to the meaning of the text):

  • What made you choose this book?

  • What makes you think it will be interesting?

  • Do you think this story will be fiction or non-fiction?

  • What's your prediction? (What do you think the book will be about? Does the title help you make a good guess?)

During (helps promote active engagement with the reading) :

  1. What do you think will happen next?

  2. What is the setting of the story?

  3. Who are the main characters in the story so far?

  4. Which character do you relate to most?

  5. What is the problem or conflict in the story?

  6. How do the characters try to solve the problem?

  7. Did I understand that? Should I reread that part?

After (a great way to check for their understanding/comprehension of the text and helps to make meaning of the new knowledge):

  • What is the resolution of the story?

  • What was your favorite part of the story? Why?

  • What was the main idea of the story?

  • What was the author's purpose for writing this text?

  • Can you retell the story or the main idea/key details in your own words?

  • What questions do you have about the story?

  • Did you learn something new?

  • What does this story remind you of?

  • Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?


You can allow older children to read to you, or it can be fun to "popcorn read." Popcorn reading is "popping" back and forth from one reader to another. For example, your child reads a paragraph, and then you do a section. Or you do a chapter, and then they do a chapter. Or they do a page, and then you do a page.

Take the time to stop and ask questions like the ones above. Discuss the material, and help them make real-life connections, inferences, predictions, and more as you read! Below is a picture of good things readers do. These are great ways to develop their reading skills and monitor your child's reading as they go!

Janay Neufeld. My Online Reading Tutor. Tips for parents about  things good readers do.
9 Things that good readers do. A great way to monitor your child's reading and help them build essential skills.


Below are some tips and easy steps you can take to help you build a reading routine for young kids at home.

1. Make Reading a Part of Your Child's Bedtime Routine

Making reading a daily activity helps your child develop a reading habit and builds their literacy skills. It doesn't necessarily have to be at bedtime but set a time each day when your child can read and make it a part of their daily routine and practice. Choose a quiet time that best suits your family/child's schedule. Consistency is vital, so decide when your family can stick to the plan as much as possible.

I recommend a bedtime reading routine because reading encourages relaxation for kids. Reading can help children wind down before bed, especially if the story is soothing and gentle (i.e., nursery rhymes or Dr. Seuss). Reading before bed can help promote better sleep quality and reduce anxiety or stress for young children. Research shows that reading promotes better sleep than screens because the light emitted by screens can disrupt the body's production of melatonin (a hormone that helps regulate sleep). Therefore, reading before bed reduces a child's screen time right before sleeping on things like I-pads, televisions, and video games. Reading a physical book with a bedside lamp or other low-light source can help promote better sleep. Besides, kids love reading with a special light like the one pictured below.

You can purchase the light here: Affiliate links provided in this email for your convenience

2. Create a Special Reading Space

Designate a comfortable and quiet reading space for your child in your home. For example, a corner of their bedroom, a cozy reading nook in the living room, or any other place in your home can work as long as it's conducive to reading. That includes a quiet, comfortable, inviting space.

Fill the space with many children's books, a comfortable chair or soft pillows to lounge on, unique lights, a reading lamp, stuffed animals to read to, and other fun accessories to help your child get excited about reading! Some people even set up a tent or allow their children to build a unique fort! A fort or special spot promotes a particular place for reading time where they can focus on their reading materials. You can even put on light music for them when they read.

All in all, spending time with independent reading will help them become better readers!

Below is a reel showing the reading room I created for my daughter. We had a strange closet/room off of her bathroom, and I couldn't decide if I wanted to make it a storage room or into a special reading nook. But kids love this room! I knew it needed to be more than just a place where I stored totes and tons of random junk and possessions.

Since the reel of my daughter in her reading room (shown above), I have added a tent to the space. She loves to go in there to hang out. It's the perfect place to plop a basket of books and let her riffle through the pages!

Here is the tent that she has! The lights (included) make it extra special. Click here to purchase:

She also loves her reading pillow. It's super nice to get cozy and spend time with her books! You can purchase one like hers here: