My son loves books. We’ve made it a reliable routine to read to him every night from a young age. So he expects it as a part of his bedtime routine – at least two books a night. It’s part of what gets him ready to sleep.

Now that he’s in kindergarten, he is learning to read too. It’s honestly quite thrilling to observe his progress as a parent and he’s making great strides. And thanks to his teacher, he brings home skill appropriate books every day from school. 

But like anything that requires learning and growth, it takes practice and deliberate effort. And making the time to fit in a little extra practice every day is now a priority for our family. 

The best time on a normal day is during his bedtime routine. So that is what we plan on. But it’s also the time of day where it is just as easy to skip it. He’s tired and would prefer just to be read to. I am tired and easily persuaded. 

Here’s how I’ve been using Focusable to make sure I fit it into his bedtime routine. 

As we get settled into his bed, I open up a Focusable activity and start the 5 finger breathing exercise with him. This is the best breathing exercise we have for young kids. It calms him down quickly- which is a good thing in general at bedtime since he’d really prefer to be pillow fighting and jumping around – and it reliably gets him ready to pay attention to a book. 

When the breathing exercise is done, I swipe forward to the Pulse timer. I set his expectation that we’ll be practicing for 5 minutes and that’s all he has to do. Just concentrate on reading for that duration. I make the promise that when he hears the timer is up he can be done and I read to him after that.

I also try to be 100% engaged in what we’re doing – encouraging, observing, modeling, giving him a tip here and there – but trying not to overwhelm him. I give him the space to fail and leverage his attention to correct errors. 

With this lead in, he can typically read for well more than 5 minutes. I haven’t had to push him to reach this minimum goal once. He gets through at least one book and is into a second by the time the alarm sounds. And he’ll usually want to finish that book – his curiosity has been piqued by the story. 

When he starts to lose interest or tire, I swipe forward and record a quick video clip to summarize what we were reading. Then I complete the activity. Then I read his nightly two books before turning out the lights. 

Here’s an activity from a recent reading practice.

Soon I am going to start building a Focusable group for his grandparents and others that are interested to observe and encourage his reading progress. This will help build some good pro-social pressure for him to practice his reading like this. 

Focusable helps me fit in some reading time every night. I’ll be using Focusable for more of his skill development and working to increase the time he can spend concentrating in the coming years.