Every working parent wants more ways for reading aloud to kids, but it’s so hard when you don’t have time. We all want quality, educational, time with our kids. But, if you are like me, you probably have trouble even fitting in one book before bed. Here are my favorite tips for reading aloud with kids, using audio books, finding library audio books, and books on cd.
I carry a lot of guilt when I can’t read to my kids.
We all know how important reading is, right?
Reading to your kids creates fluency, understanding, love of reading, and builds vocabulary. More than that, it gives you undivided quality time during their childhood.
As a working parent, I find it VERY hard to make time to read to my kids.
One time I saw my mother (the children’s grandmother) reading to them during a visit around 11 am, and I immediately thought, “Reading during the day? Who does that?”
And then I realized…everyone does that IF THEY CAN.
So, I made it point to find new pockets of time to read to my kids. (Or for my kids to enjoy books read aloud…even if I wasn’t the one doing it.)
This how I introduced more books read aloud to my kids during the day…when I don’t have time.
1. Don’t read before bed
Hear me out.
If you love reading before bed, do it! If you are the most happy reading aloud to your kids before they nod to sleep, do it!
But, if bedtime is torture for you, and you can barely read one or two pages, then don’t read before bed.
Instead find another time of the day to read to your child! Here are a few of my favorite options:
- Waking up early and cuddling in bed reading aloud before school
- Reading aloud at a meal – breakfast or lunch if your children are home
- Reading aloud right when your children get home from school (just a few pages!)
- Reading aloud at dinner
- Reading aloud in the living room before they go to their bedrooms to bed
- On the weekends for an extended period of time to maximize on no work and no school
All of these options give you a few more minutes to be with your kids – and not to cram it all in before bed.
How should your child read before bed without you, are you asking?
Well, here are my favorite ways to promote literacy skills and literary development before bed…without me reading to my kids:
2. CD Players and Audio Books
Remember CD’s? YEP THEY ARE STILL A THING.
Especially in my kids rooms!
My kids LOVE this CD player! They play cd’s all the time – with books on CD from the library, lullaby’s before they go to bed, old music cd’s that I have found in storage…
I usually get one or two cd’s for them for Christmas or their birthday, and their grandparents also love giving them books on CD. This gift is magic to them!
Here’s a tip: Check out local garage sales and yard sales that are selling picture books and storybooks with matching CDs. (Often teachers sell boxes of books they are trying to clean out from their classrooms.) We have a HUGE stash of these storybooks with CDs, and my kids listen to them for HOURS in the living room. They are so fun!
3. The Homer App
The Homer Learning App is a customized app for ages Pre-K to Grade 2 that teaches: Creativity, Critical Thinking, English Language Arts, English-Language Learning, Math.
My kids love this app to listen and read along to books when I’m working, cooking dinner, and just being busy.
The app contains lessons for each age group, and customizes the levels depending on your child’s performance.
I love that when you set up child profiles, YOU to tell the Homer App what your child already knows and the app decides what learning level to start your child. You also get to chose what your child is interested in (dinosaurs! trucks! princesses! bugs! Thomas the train!).
How Does The Homer Early Learning App Work?
Did you know that the Homer app is the first digital foundational reading program, created by literacy experts and advisors to the new Common Core standards? It’a not just another app to entertain your kids. But it’s really proven to teach your kids to read.
“HOMER is the first digital foundational reading program, created by literacy experts and advisors to
the new Common Core standards, combining decades of experience in education and in the classroom. Our program is both visually engaging for a child and highly effective, based on a proven body of research on how children best learn to read.
HOMER follows an explicit, systematic, and sequential approach to reading instruction.
Explicit teaching is a fancy way of saying that a teacher will teach sound and letter correspondences to children in a direct manner. A teacher who uses an alternative, non-explicit approach relies on a student’s ability to intuit relationships between sounds and letters through repeated exposure.
Systematic means a planned approach to instruction.
Sequential means working in a set order. The order might vary from program to program, but
all such approaches follow a planned sequence that is carried out systematically.”
Homer 30-Day Free Trial
My children had ad-free unlimited access for the 30-day trial. They were able to move up in their learning levels, and develop their skills in just a few weeks.
My son (who is three), choses this app instead of Disney Plus, PBS, or his prized train apps EVERY TIME.
My daughter who is in kindergarten loved the “My Daily Plays”. My Daily Plays are like your child’s homework and chosen exercises for that day. They login and begin with those daily chosen exercises.
For Kindergarten, she loved the Science and Discovery, the Art, and especially improving her early reading scores. After she completed the “My Daily Plays” she would be able to choose if she wanted to continue with Math, Reading, Practice or any of the Creativity Games. Once choosing a track, Homer would keep track of her progress and show her the next stage to work on.
HOMER Reading Aloud
The Homer Reading Resources expanded my daughter’s knowledge of the alphabet, new words, sounds, sight words, reading words, and the skills and ability to sound out words. Your child’s reading will soar with these tools, and the confidence that Homer instills in each student.
Homer has both reading exercises – but also stories that it reads aloud to your child! I love that it uses a pointer to follow each word as it reads, and the stories are so wholesome and fascinating. My kids love these!
As a mom, I love their commitment to fluent reading, the art of reading with pauses and correct pronunciation, and meeting each child at their reading level.
I definitely recommend for easy reading ideas for your kids when you don’t have time!
4. The Libby App and BlueTooth Speakers
My kids got this bluetooth speaker for Christmas and LOVE IT. It’s the perfect size to hold, and to carry around while they listen to music. I stream music to it from my phone (usually a fun Spotify playlist!), or they listen to audio books!
The Libby App is a free way to get audio books for your family! Just connect your library card, and see which audio books your library has for loan. We use this app ALL THE TIME, and the kids love listening to books all around the house. Find some awesome audiobook recommendations here!
5. The Yoto Player
The Yoto player is an audio player that has a bluetooth speaker that can play from your phone. It also is an independent speaker to play music, podcasts, stories, and audio files loaded on to cards.
Yoto players don’t have microphones, cameras, or a screen, which I love!
Here are some other features as listed on the Yoto website:
- 10 hours of battery life per charge
- Includes sleep sounds, white noise, Yoto-custom radio stations
- Magnetic charge dock included
- A pixel display syncs with the stories being played
- Includes a headphone jack
- Has OK-to-wake nightlight and alarm clock
Before we bought this, I loved the idea of a screen-free activity for my child, but also didn’t know if it would adequately replace the tablet. Or if she would love to play the cards over and over again.
Also, because she is a very mature 6-year old, I wanted to make sure that there would be some longer content for her, not just short fairy tales. So, we bought it…
The Yoto Player Reading Aloud
This is what happened when we introduced the Yoto player to our home.
- Yoto quickly replaced my daughter’s desire for screen time. Yes, she still wanted to watch often. But, instead of her gut desire being “Can I watch?”, she was asking “Can I listen to a story?”
- My child became much more independent. I would find her listening to music and starting her morning chore chart early all on her own. She learned how to put herself to bed, because the Yoto gave her an evening routine. She also began using the alarm system to teach herself how to get up earlier than normal.
- My daughter began experiencing advanced content. Instead of just filling her mind with more Paw Patrol and Disney stories, she began listening to Beethoven and Bach while dressing in the morning. She had easy access to our favorite podcasts and could learn easily from them all by herself.
- The Yoto player replaced the CD Player, Bluetooth Speaker, and even iPods/Music Players.
If you are looking to compare the Yoto Player with the TonieBox, we chose the Yoto Player because it had more genres of books, more chapter books and novels for older grade levels, and we loved the storytelling better than that of Tonie! See our full review here.
The Yoto Player for bedtime and morning routines
As a mom that has to get two kids out the door early for school, I love that Yoto has helped with my daughter’s routines. She wakes up early just to listen to the daily Yoto daily podcast radio. She loves the drawing exercises, the Friday jokes, and even all the birthday shout-outs. You can hear a sample of this show here.
In the evening, she is allowed to listen to at least two stories and then her bedtime music. We also have downloaded a few podcasts to blank cards, and she loves listening to the latest episodes as they update on her cards. Yoto also has awesome yoto sleep radio options to help guide your child to sleep.
The Yoto audio player at bedtime helps with her evening routine, and it has been transformative.