Summer is an awesome time for kids. They get to run around like little wild things and live-out dreams of hot days topped with cold ice cream. Moms and Dads know better, though. Summer is also a time for great skills to get rusty. Like writing and math–crucial skills kiddos need to be successful in school in August. One of the most universal skills that can get rusty is reading, and it is integral to all of those other school-ready skills. So, it’s REALLY important to Get Kids to Read Over the Summer. And keep them reading.
10 Ways to Get Kids to Read Over the Summer
- Start early. Set a time with the kiddos early in the day (remember, school starts at 8-ish) and have your children read a book, a chapter, whatever, early in the morning. This is when their minds are most used to getting moving. This will also keep them in the habit so August won’t be so tough. Do it with breakfast. Great habit even in the school year.
- Cook the books. Cook with your kiddos using cookbooks and recipes. The practice is not only practical, but it’s keeping the skills applicable to other activities.
- You read, I read, we all read together. The one thing I’ve learned from being a parent: THEY COPY EVERYTHING WE DO. Get them copying good habits, like reading.
- Reduce screen time, but exchange it for alternative screen-reading. If your children think they’re getting a reward or getting away with something, they will spend more time doing it and have more fun. Which creates a really good long-term impression. So, take away the TV for an hour and let them use the Kindle. Then it’s not a punishment–it’s kind of fun.
- Provide a wide selection. In my house, if you have it, they will read it. So, even if you think the book is “too big” or “too small” or “too boring”, just have it on hand. You never know, your daughter might really enjoy that biography on Albert Einstein, or your son might love Black Beauty. Let them surprise you by providing them the opportunity to do so.
- Talk about what everyone is reading. Part of reading is being able to talk about it and explain what you picked-up in the story. Ask them about the main point, how the characters felt, anything to make a conversation about the book, what they learned and how cool it is that they know all that.
- Offer to share your books. Even if you’re reading a steamy romance novel, surely there’s some part you can share. Or share their books. Reading to your children, even when they’re older, helps them with comprehension. And can even help them understand how to pronounce words they read but don’t often hear.
- Acknowledge accomplishment of finishing a book. Finishing a book is a big deal. Party like it is. Pat them on the head and tell them they did a good job. That reinforces the love you feel, boosts self-esteem and encourages them to read. Trifecta of awesome.
- Leave books on the table, literally. If you have books out and laying around, it can make your house messy, but it can also make the books more accessible to reluctant readers.
- Leave books on the table, figuratively. Offer books as an alternative, first and often. Offer to take books to restaurants, to the park, whatever. Keep them as an option always.