Cool grass, warm sun, and clouds floating against the backdrop of a picture perfect blue sky. Full green trees, picnic blanket, snacks, and a book. This is what Streaking is all about, the important things that will never be urgent. The activities that will be pushed to the back seat and overridden by tasks that are incessantly knocking on your door and relentlessly pushing the doorbell.
Chance, our son, will never remember the urgent moments that we had to get done and he will never forget the moments of perfect summer days on a blanket listening to his mom read as he studies a bug in the grass.
Jami started her reading streak with Bowen and Chance 4 years ago. Every day for 4 years she has read at least one paragraph out of whatever book they wanted to read.
Through these books they have gone on adventures across the cosmos, learned of animals long past, and seen how tragedy can turn to triumph. They haven’t kept track of the number of books they have read, they just read. I counted, because I wanted to know, and they are over 30+ books read together, the longest being 750 pages.
Jami started this streak because she wanted Bowen to have the joy of reading in his life. Reading for him had always been a chore. He struggled mightily to read because to him the letters were in all the wrong places and the words were spelled wrong. Not wanting his dyslexia to discourage him from discovering the joy of reading, Jami set the streak.
I remember one night walking into their room, it was late, and Jami was still reading. “We just wanted to finish the end of the book.” Came the quick answer from Bowen and Chance to my questioning eyes. Jami just kept reading. That was not the only night that happened. There were many others that formed an unbreakable bond between mother and sons.
“Read-Aloud is a prescription for lifelong success for the child and a dose of deep well-being for the family,” says Pam Allyn who is the Senior Vice President of Scholastic. “Why is read-aloud time loved so much? Parents and children say it is because it is a special time with each other. And this feeling stays with children as they grow older, as a 17-year-old boy shared: ‘It was quality one-on-one time with my parents, and I have special memories of picking out the books that they would read with me.’”
According to the website inthebook.com, the benefits of reading aloud are many following are eight:
1. Faster development of communication skills
2. Faster development of basic speech skills
3. Enhanced concentration and discipline
4. Cultural understandings
5. Higher academic performance
6. Nurturing parent and child bond
7. Conquering the fear of a classroom
8. Enhanced development of senses
The website also reported that, “Reading to your child for 20 minutes a day can increase their lifetime earnings by $343,469”
All of the benefits and reasons for reading to your children are amazing the only question left is how do you do it? The answer – set a streak. Until Jami set a streak reading was random at best. She knew what to do, she wanted to do it, she just couldn’t figure out how until we uncovered Streaking. Streaking took away the big obstacles and reduced it to a simple sentence or two. “Anyone can read at least a paragraph every day, so I’ll just do that.” And so she did.
Most of the time in life we know what to do. What we don’t know is how to do it. And many times, less valuable activities get in the way of the more valuable activities for whatever reason. (Just today I binged watched 5 episodes of a show without even thinking about it, I would say this is a less valuable activity.) Streaking displaces less valuable activities with valuable ones by making the barrier to entry so low, there is no reason not to do it. Streaking also gives you the motivating reason, keep the streak alive, to continue to do it.
Instead of conquering novels, start with completing a paragraph and see how many days in a row you can read at least one. You can always do more, but more important than quantity is consecutiveness. Put your focus on keeping the “reading at least a paragraph” streak alive and the, pages, books, and benefits will take care of themselves.