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School’s out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean kids should stop reading. In fact, summer is a great time to grow as a reader. With fewer competing demands, children have the freedom to explore and learn to love reading. If your child’s already a bookworm, you won’t have to work very hard. It’s those of us who have reluctant readers who have to get more creative. Here are 10 ways to encourage summer reading with your children!
*Pair with our Printable Summer Homework Pack for Kindergarten!
10 Ways to Encourage Summer Reading
1. Schedule Reading Time
Set aside a special reading time each day. Look for a time that doesn’t have competing interests. For us, that’s near bedtime. A few years ago, it was while younger siblings were napping. We treat the time as a privilege, not a chore.
2. Set a Library Day
Make time for the library. In our summer schedule, we have a posted weekly library day (posted so that the kids keep me honest!). A different plan might work for you. What’s important is making it part of your routine.
3. Participate in a Summer Reading Program… or Not
If your reluctant reader likes to check off lists and work toward goals, a summer reading program might be right for you. Lots of libraries and bookstores have them. Or, you can check out our Summer Reading Challenge to make your own program.
4. Read Aloud
Kids who don’t like to read to themselves may still enjoy being read to. This was definitely the case with my son, and I’ve seen it with students as well. I’m so glad. Exposing kids to text that’s more complex than they can read themselves can improve their comprehension skills.
We find it easier to read aloud on relaxed summer evenings. We’re less concerned about bedtimes when it’s not a school night.
5. Tie Reading in with Summer Activities
A book about zoo animals will be more interesting after a day at the zoo. Likewise, reading a story about trucks while on a family road trip may engage your child more than it would otherwise.
6. Look for Reading Everywhere
Kids don’t have to read just books. You can be sneakier than that… Here are a few ideas:
- Read instructions for games & activities before playing
- Children’s magazines
- Comic books
- Environmental print, such as signs and labels on packaging
- Kids’ menus at restaurants
- Maps and brochures (perfect for a summer road trip!)
7. Pursue Their Interests
Brainstorm with your child about what topics they want to learn more about. Then look for nonfiction books on that subject. Try to find some he can read himself as well as others you’ll need to read aloud. You can add in activities and videos too, and then return to the books.
8. Help Them Choose Books They Can’t Put Down
Yes, they make page-turners for kids! The trick is finding one that matches your child’s reading level as well as his or her interests. Find a few likely choices, and see what happens!
9. Look for More of the Same
When your child does find a book she likes, use that as a springboard to find more books she’ll willingly read. We’ve had great success with early chapter book series like The Magic Treehouse and The Calendar Mysteries. For non-series books, ask your librarian for a recommendation, or check out the Scholastic Book Wizard database.
10. Make it Fun!
Reading isn’t necessarily fun for kids who can’t do it well yet. Luckily, it’s easy to make learning and practicing fun. You might try fun activities like these summer-themed sight word puzzles. Or, get creative and invent your own games. That can be fun to do together!
For my very active son, I always inserted movement into our games. For instance, I’d place flashcards around the room rather than all together in one spot. He was so much more interested when he didn’t have to sit down to participate.
Summer is the perfect season to fall in love with reading. Without the pressures of school, with extra free time, and with support at home, your child can keep reading all summer long!
*Guest post by Heather from Recipe for Teaching
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