Kids need time during the summer to relax and unwind from a busy school year. But that doesn’t mean they should stop reading as soon as school is out. According to the latest Kids & Family Reading Report, 80 percent of kids ages six to 17 and 96 percent of their parents agree that reading during the summer helps kids during the school year. In fact, when kids don’t read during the summer, they can lose key skills and fall behind come September.
So how can you get your kids to read during the summer? By making it fun! Here are a few tips to help you get your kids to crack open a book.
During the year when routines are more rigid, it’s easy for parents to read aloud to their kids every night. In the summer, those routines tend to fall by the wayside as kids want to play outside longer and enjoy the lengthier days. Throw camp and vacation schedules into the mix, and it’s a lot harder to find the time to read every day.
Try to find a time during the day to read to your kids, even if it isn’t at night. Maybe there are a few minutes in the morning before the camp bus arrives. Bring a book to the beach or the park. Maybe you can send your child to overnight camp with a few fun books they can read aloud to kids in their bunk. These are great ways to ensure you’re still carving out reading time during the summer.
Set a good example by picking up a few books on your summer reading list as well. Pack books on road trips, read on the subway or read in the evening in bed. Turn the TV off and have reading time on the weekend. It’s an especially great thing to do on a rainy day instead of watching a movie. If you can figure out a way to make it a priority, your kids will follow the lead.
If they don’t already have a library card, take them to your local librarian and get them set up. Show them how to use the library and where age-appropriate books can be found. Often there are events at the library, such as author readings and literacy activities for kids. Find your local library’s schedule and bring your kids to the library often.
Many books are also available on CD. This can be especially good for kids with learning disabilities, but it’s also a great thing to do rather than watch a movie during long car rides, for example. It develops listening skills and imagination. It’s also a good way to appreciate a book together. Afterward, you can discuss what you heard.
Don’t insist they read certain books—either classics, educational books or ones you read as a child. Encourage them to choose books they want to read. This will foster a love of reading and independence.
There’s Chirp or Chickadee, Sports Illustrated Kids, Highlights for Children or National Geographic. It’s exciting when a new magazine arrives at their doorstep every month with their name on it.
Scholastic, for instance, makes it fun by enabling kids to log reading minutes and record what books they’ve read to earn digital rewards. Inspiring and motivating, it’s a perfect way to keep kids ages four to 14 reading over the summer. Their site (scholastic.com/summer) also features book lists and recommendations; once your child finishes one book, they’ll have a new one to devour.
Crestwood Echo August 15th, 2017