Getting kids to read during summer vacation can be a battle, especially with so many games, apps, and other fun media distractions available. But teachers and literacy experts agree that children of all ages need to be read to or to read by themselves and to talk about books over the summer. When you read or talk to young children about books, they develop important language skills, maintain reading skills, improve reading fluency, and learn new vocabulary and concepts. For older children, it’s all about finding the right motivation to read frequently.
Here are a few tips to help make reading more enjoyable for your child this summer:
Join a summer reading challenge. Many organizations, such as your local library, offer a summer reading challenge to motivate children to read. For instance, Scholastic offers a great (and free!) online Summer Reading Challenge, complete with suggested titles in a full Summer Reading Challenge Book List by age group and a Reading Timer Mobile App to help your child record reading time.
Use reading tracking sheets. Reading tracking sheets such as these and these can encourage children to track how much time they spend reading and how many books they have read. Set a goal in advance and allow children to choose a reasonable reward for achieving their goal.
Read the book before you see the movie. Here’s a list of books that are coming to theaters by this summer and beyond. After the movie, have a discussion about the similarities and differences between the book and the movie.
Rent or download books on tape. Kids can listen to them on headphones or you can listen to them together in the car to make driving time a fun family activity.
Get to the library. Most libraries sponsor summer reading clubs with easy-to-reach goals for school-age children. Check your library’s calendar for special summer reading activities and events. Libraries also provide age appropriate lists for summer reading. When at the library, let kids choose what they want to read, and don’t turn your nose up at popular fiction. It will only discourage the reading habit. If children are having a hard time choosing, the classics are always a safe bet. Here is a great list of 50 books all kids should read before they are 12.
You’ve got mail. What kid doesn’t love receiving mail? Subscribe, in your child’s name, to magazines like Sports Illustrated for Kids, Highlights for Children, or National Geographic World. Ask them what they think about what they’ve read, and listen to what they say.
Read the same book your child is reading and discuss. Your child will likely be more motivated to read if they are “competing” with you to finish a book and can have discussions with you about the book while reading it.
Set a good example. Parents must be willing to model behavior for their children. Keep lots of reading material around the house. Turn off the TV and have each person read his or her book, including mom and dad. Show them reading can be fun!