R.E.A.D. Great Books!

Can you relate to this?

Your child is sitting on the couch, with a tablet in his hand. You’ve been scrambling around the house, trying to make a dent in your never-ending to-do list. But you notice that his eyes are starting to glaze over. He’s zoning out. And he’s been there for over an hour, maybe even longer. Worse, you know that it’s going to be a battle when you tell him it’s time to close the tablet. What can you do?

This is a common challenge for today’s parents. The accessibility of electronic devices makes it all but impossible to avoid them throughout the day. But many parents like you wonder, “At what cost?”

Recognizing the cost is why we adopted the solution, “R.E.A.D. Great Books,” or Reduce Electronics And Discover Great Books.

Let’s take a look at what the cost truly is:

Limited Reading Time

Research shows that toddlers who regularly used electronics were less likely to read books with parents at age 3, and more likely to be further screen-dependent at age 5.

Health Problems

Children who regularly use screens are less likely to explore active and creative play. Plus, they are more likely to struggle with obesity and irregular sleep.

Missed Milestones

According to research, children who regularly use screens experience low language acquisition and are more likely to miss developmental milestones.

Poor Academic Performance

Studies show that children with a TV in their bedroom perform worse on school tests than those who don't have a TV in their bedroom.

Tips to R.E.A.D. Great Books!

We believe, and research supports, that reading aloud to children not only has incredible benefits to their cognitive and emotional growth, but it also creates a pathway to electronics IN-dependence! That’s why it’s so important to “R.E.A.D. Great Books!” 

When you Reduce Electronics And Discover Great Books with your children, you’ll not only strengthen your relationship, but you’ll also inspire a love for books in them. They’ll be more likely to find enjoyment in books on their own, and less likely to grow dependent on screens. Over the years, we’ve developed a 4-part strategy to reducing electronics and opening books!

You are the parent, and you’re in charge of when and where screens can be used. Implement a family rule that screens can be used only during certain times of day or only on certain days of the week. Ideally, we recommend staying screen-free Monday-Thursday, except as school requires. If that’s impossible, limit screen usage to no more than 1 hour per day. Finally, keep electronics out of bedrooms.

Read aloud to your children every day, from birth. This will build their appreciation for the experience. Continue reading aloud daily as your children grow. Allow them to choose the books that interest them, and take them to the library. This will establish a direct connection between books and pleasure. Read books and magazines yourself, so children see your example of time well spent.

Help your children see that phones and tablets are not the only option to pass time. Implement books into regular parts of daily life, such as carpool lines, waiting rooms, road trips, or stroller rides. When you keep books in your car or stroller, or take them with you to appointments, you show children that reading is an easy activity to pass the time. And, you give them a better alternative to screen.

On the whole, families’ time for conversation and connection has been significantly limited by screens. Reverse this damage by intentionally creating more family interaction time. If you don’t already, hold family dinners around the table – no phones or TV allowed! Talk about your days, the books you’re reading, and more. Build in screen-free family activities, such as a trip to the library or park. Extend your read aloud experience by doing a fun activity that’s based on a book. Try cooking a recipe, creating a craft, or visiting a place that’s presented in a story. When you start connecting as a family, you’ll simultaneously reduce your dependence on screens and open time for reading and connecting.

Recommended Books

Are you ready to power off your device and power up your reading routines? We thought so! Try these especially entertaining books to get started!

The age and grade levels indicated below are only suggestions. Choose what works best for you and your children!

Infants and Toddlers (Birth- Age 2)

Preschool (Ages 3-4)

Kindergarten - Grade 1

Grades 2 - 3

Grades 4 - 5

Grades 6 - 8

High School - Adults

Ageless Favorites

Enrichment Activities

Now, let’s have some fun! Show your children that there are plenty of ways to have fun besides their screen time! Read a book, and try one of these engaging activities as a family!

Make a Mitten

The classic story, The Mitten by Jan Brett, tells the tale of a boy who lost a knitted mitten in the snow - and the animals who squeezed inside it to get warm! Read the story and then follow the link above to get creative! Make your own mittens with simple craft foam and yarn. Try different colors or foam and yard, or decorate your mitten with stickers. Then ask - how many animals could fit inside your mitten?

Befriend a Bat

Stellaluna, by Janell Cannon, is a sweet story about a fruit bat finding her way back to her mother. Along the way, she meets and befriends creatures different from her! Read the story, and follow the link above to have some fun! Make your own bats out of cardboard and paper! Use your imagination and make them unique!

This resource was made possible by the generous support of the First Hawaiian Bank Foundation and individual donors like you.
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