Susan Taylor

Susan Taylor

by Susan Taylor

Reading aloud to children from a young age every day is so important for many reasons. Not only is it a great bonding experience, but it helps grow their language and communication skills, boosts imagination and creativity, expands their understanding of the world, helps them learn to read faster and more.

But what if there are days when you can’t read to your child? Even the most dedicated parents may find there are times when they can’t quite manage reading aloud due to time constraints, illness or being away. Single parents in particular may struggle in this department, or mums with a new baby. I myself found it quite tricky to feed my second born while reading to my older toddler – how do you turn the pages properly?! And what if your little one wants to read when you’re cooking dinner?

Luckily there are some solutions! Next time you’re not able to physically sit down and read to your child, try one of these reading hacks that will make sure they still get some important Storytime.

Chameleon Reader

This whizbang product is utterly brilliant. Using the smart recording pen provided in your Chameleon Reader starter kit, you simply record yourself (or anyone else) reading each page of the book which links to a small sticker you attach to each page.
Your child simply opens the book and presses each page sticker to then hear your voice reading the words as they follow along visually. Almost as good as the real thing! An added benefit is that it teaches your child to be patient, follow and turn each page properly or they won’t hear all the story!

You can even have multiple audio versions of the one book that your child can choose (via another sticker on the back with several coloured dots). Your child simply selects which colour dot they want, and the audio assigned to it will be whose voice reads the book.

This is an amazing function as it means your child can have different experiences with reading the book, perfect for when grandparents live far away or homes where parents are separated. Children in bilingual families can also listen to the story read in different languages. How good is that?!

RRP $129 for a starter kit 

TV and tablet tales

Ok so I know this isn’t the same thing as reading a book, however stories via TV (or the iPad) are a great alternative if you can’t open the pages yourself. For example, ABC’s Play School Story Time has a bunch of hosts and celebrities reading various stories which you can pop on anytime via iView.

Lots of streaming services also now have beloved children’s stories in motion animated format with celebrity voices, such as The Gruffalo, The Very Hungry Caterpillar or The Tiger Who Came to Tea on Stan, and The Highway Rat and Zog on Netflix.
There’s also YouTube of course too, with lots of individual author channels of them reading their own books, or story dedicated channels such as the Duchess of York’s Storytime with Fergie and Friends.

There’s even a new kids’ streaming service dedicated to reading books with a ton of all your favourite stories in their library. It’s called Vooks and is only $4.99 a month, with a free 7 day trial.

Listening and learning

A final option for the time poor parent, is audio books. While your child won’t get the visual stimulation, they will be able to listen to books beyond their reading level, therefore increasing their understanding of more advanced language and correct pronunciation. By listening to a story only, it also requires children to concentrate and use their imagination more.


The same goes for podcasts and children’s radio stations, such Funky Kids Radio, where kids can listen to stories being read aloud. Perfect for story time before bed or those long boring road trips! Podcasts like The Story Pirates will even let children send in their story ideas which will then be adapted into a radio play on the show. How fun!

So now you don’t need to feel guilty if your own home story time is lagging. Of course, it’s ideal if you can read to your child yourself when you can, but for all of those other times try one of the options above and then they’ll never miss out!