by Kristy Wyatt
Keeping kids motivated to practice their reading during the long summer days is a difficult goal. Since summer is a time for kids to escape the structured school environment, parents need to make reading fun, casual and interesting. Here are a few great ideas that will encourage your child to enjoy reading this summer.
Dinner…and a book?
Instead of watching TV after dinner, make a habit of reading a book. Have your child pick out the book they’d like to read before dinner so that they know as soon as the meal is finished, it’s reading time. If it’s a chapter book, discuss it at dinner each night. Who is their favorite character? What do they think will happen next?
Make it a (reading) date.
Kids love spending one-on-one time with Mom and Dad. Set aside 30 minutes a few days a week when each sibling has the chance to read a new book with you. On the weekends, plan “reading time,” where everyone — including Mom — quietly reads together before starting the activities for the day. Then, discuss the books as a family.
Surprise with a subscription.
Give your child a subscription to a learning magazine, such as Kids Discover, Highlights, Boys’ Life, Ranger Rick Jr., National Geographic Little Kids, Young Rider, Zoobooks or Odyssey. Not only will your child learn new things, but they’ll be able to practice their reading, too.
Monkey see, monkey do.
This old saying definitely applies to reading. Set an example for your child by reading whenever you have a chance, whether waiting on kids in the carpool, at the dentist’s office, or relaxing after work. Your children will watch you, and they’ll be more likely to pick up a book as well.
Role play with your books.
Enacting scenes from a favorite book or visiting a place that relates to the story, characters or plot will improve your child’s reading comprehension. Plus, they’ll love participating in learning exercises, which will seem like playtime to them.
Be a borrower of books.
Many young children love going to the library and picking out their own books. You can take it a step further by getting them involved in library activities such as reading clubs or story-time to get your child interested in books and reading.
Lend an ear, or two.
Audiobooks are a great option for summer vacations, especially if you’re going on a road trip or visiting family with a long commute. Choose a book that appeals to everyone in the family, such as classics like “A Wrinkle in Time,” “Charlotte’s Web” or “Peter Pan.”
The age-old art of letter writing.
Encourage your kids to write letters to close school friends during the summer months. Not only does this allow them to keep in touch with their buddies, but it also gets kids to practice their writing and comprehension skills. Use postcards, traditional paper and envelopes, or e-mail.
Switch up the scene.
Have your child read aloud somewhere other than their room or the living room. Go outside on the front porch, to the park or to the beach. It will keep reading interesting, fresh and stimulating.
“A house that has a library in it…”
Keeps children reading! This old saying states that a house with a library “has a soul.” It also makes books more readily available to kids. Don’t keep your child’s favorite books in their room on a bookshelf. Instead, place them in the living room coffee table, near the kitchen table, and even on the front porch.