Many parents worry about whether their kids are doing enough ‘academics’ through the Summer to be on track once school starts up again in September. The absolute best thing kids can do to keep their minds active is read, read, and read some more.
by Cassandra Dorman
I’ve heard it from so many parents – sometimes, it’s not easy to fire kids up about getting their nose in a book!Hopefully, the following tips will help and encourage you as you continue on your quest to raise enthusiastic readers and students. (Some children need little to no encouragement when it comes to reading for pleasure – but many of the following tips can still apply to amp up their Summer reading or help them try something new!)
10 Tips for Summer Reading Success:
#1 – Establish reading as a part of every day life, every season of the year! This means modeling reading yourself, including reading in daily activities (ie: reading a recipe with the kids, sharing the morning newspaper’s comics, reading the map/attraction guide to a museum, pointing out streets signs, etc.), and reading with your kids daily.
#2 – Minimize screen time. Several links have been made between too much television watching/video games andADHD, obesity, slower brain wave movement, decreased interest in learning and reading, and the list goes on. If you have video games or hand-held DVD players, leave them behind when you go on vacations and family outings and limit the amount of time kids can play when at home.
#3 – Gift your children with books, crayons, activity books, etc. right before your family holiday or as a special treat throughout the Summer. You could also introduce ‘book allowance’ if/when your kids do special chores like cleaning up the garden or helping around the house.
#4 – Create a reading/book chart like the one shown (at left). Establish benchmarks (IE: 5 books, 10 books, 20 books) and rewards that your child can earn for achieving those goals. Talk about the books together, or better yet – read them together!
#5 – Set up a Summer Book Club among friends. This can include families you are close with, school buddies, neighbours, etc. Have the kids choose age-appropriate books, read them, and then include the parents in a fun party/discussion period to share ideas, excitement, and even debates about the topics in the book(s).
#6 – Read together somewhere really different. Go to a creek and sit on a log, read under the trees at the lake, snuggle up at night in a tent in the backyard with a flashlight – make reading fun and exciting by changing up the scenery and doing something memorable together.
#7 – Utilize local resources and programs. Most libraries offer several Summer reading programs, groups, clubs, etc. Check out what your library offers and sign your little ones up!
#8 – Start a Summer Book-Buddy group. Book-buddies are older (reading) children who pair up with and read to younger kids (toddlers-kindergarten age). It’s great for practicing reading aloud, but also a hands-on way to cultivate compassion, togetherness, and patience.
#9 – Check-out or purchase books specifically related to a holiday destination. These can include anything from a country or city you will be visiting, to books about things like, the beach, hiking, forestry, the pond, eco-systems, etc. Combining activities and adventures with great books on the same topics is an egaging way to have fun with reading and enjoy learning together.
#10 – Explore books on CD. Our kids love listening to books read aloud with sound effects, music, over-the-top expression and character voices. Audio read-alouds are available for almost every reading level and can take children to a far away world with the click of the ‘play’ button. Grab your CD player or purchase some audio books online and introduce your children to literature in a whole new way!
Reading is fun! Often times, it’s all the fast-paced alternatives (computer games, TV, movies, electronic toys, video games) kids are given that dampens their interest in good old fashioned BOOKS. As parents, it’s our job to clear the clutter and make time to read with our children and find creative and fun ways to help them continue to enjoy reading- or, in some cases, re-establish that reading for a truly enjoyable, valuable, and exciting activity.