Read a Book as a Family during the Cold Winter Nights

What better way to spend a chilly evening than cozying up with your family and a good book?

Learn about the benefits of family reading time and how to keep books in your wintertime schedule.

Warm fireplaces become inviting when the days get shorter and a cold breeze requires extra layers. Between holiday traveling, gift shopping, and winter breaks, it’s easy to fall out of a consistent reading schedule. However, there are many benefits to reading together as a family. Here are all the reasons families should read together and ways to keep up the hobby during the winter.

Why Should Families Read Together?

Books Nurture Cognitive Development

While they’re learning, children are being introduced to various new concepts and ideas. This is all part of cognitive development, or a person’s way of processing information, attention span, memory, and more. Reading as a family activates your child’s awareness of their newly discovered world. Rather than simply reading words on a page, their association with the vocalization of specific sentences brings the book’s world to life. Books can also spark essential conversations that further enhance their early cognitive development.

Reading Improves Language Skills

Research proves that reading as a family exposes young children to around 290,000 words before they even enter kindergarten. This means they’re learning vocabulary that increases language acquisition and communication skills. Reading to children from infancy activates the portion of the brain in charge of learning and understanding language. Books also tend to have a different form of speech and language, encouraging children to learn outside of everyday human conversations. Even so, reading increases vocabulary skills overall, meaning it’s just as beneficial for adults as it is for children.

Family Literacy Increases Empathy

You’ve likely heard that reading enhances empathy. The same is true for family reading! When engaging with a book, families are exposed to experiences outside their own. Families may not fully understand the character they’re learning about, but they can read about how they feel. This is important for everyone as it allows families to appreciate other cultures, lifestyles, and perspectives. Reading can initiate meaningful conversations that require critical thinking, an essential skill for adults and children.


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Adults Get to Be Role Models

Do you want to be a book-loving household? It all starts with mentors. Librarians are great role models for young people, but nothing instills a love of reading like parents or guardians. This could even include older children and adolescents. Children who see their parents enjoying books will want to be invested, too. For adults, this could mean rediscovering your love of books or nurturing a new hobby. Making reading a habit as a family associates it with love, happiness, and leisure, encouraging everyone to pick up a book more often.

Reading Together Develops a Strong Bond

Young children greatly value reading time with their guardians. It’s one thing for them to hear a random voice with an audiobook, but it’s another when they get to have a book voiced by someone they trust. Children often appreciate structure and routine. Plus, it’s an activity that requires complete, undivided attention. Even infants, although they can’t understand what people are saying, find comfort in auditory reading. Overall, reading as a family is something that everyone can look forward to and look back on with fond memories. Plus, it’s fun!


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Ideas for Winter Family Reading Fun

Listen to Audiobooks

For many families, the holiday season usually means lots of traveling. This may include several road trips where entertainment is needed to pass the time. Audiobooks are a great, family-friendly way to keep everyone engaged while traveling for the holidays. You can select from various genres, narrators, and themes based on your family’s preferences. Even better, libraries offer affordable means to listen to audiobooks through resources like Libby. These allow you to check out and download audiobooks ahead of time without paying a dime.

Create a Winter Reading Log and Book List

Wintertime usually means families have periods of breaks where reading time may be less frequent. Instead of falling out of routine, plan ahead by creating a log that keeps track of everyone’s reading progress, including times when the entire family can be involved. Use this opportunity to develop a list to follow your family’s log so everyone knows what’s next. This can create an exciting sense of anticipation and accomplishment, especially during a season when reading can be at its lowest.


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Set Up a Cozy Family Book Nook

Before hunkering down for the winter, consider setting up a designated book area to encourage everyone to keep reading. This could look like setting up blankets, pillows, and comfy chairs beside the fireplace. You could also set up a tray with hot drink selections, kettles, and snacks for readers to cozy up with their books. Feel free to get creative with your book nook by customizing it to your family’s interests. Consider setting up your reading space away from technology, TVs, or other potential background distractions.

Visit the Library on Snowy Days

If your family needs a change of scenery during the snowiest days of winter, visit your local library! Libraries are always warm, cozy, and family-friendly spaces with endless books to explore. Guardians can take the opportunity to enhance their winter family reading list by asking for recommendations from librarians. Children of all ages can also utilize the library for school-related and leisurely extracurricular activities like book clubs. Regularly visit your local library’s website to keep up with their winter schedule and hours.

Does your family love to read or is interested in getting more involved with books? Your local librarian would be happy to help! Learn more about what EveryLibrary is doing to support local public libraries in the US at



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