Late mornings, later bedtime, hot weather, the pool, trips, summer camps…yes school is out and summer has begun. Now you may be one of two types of parents: the parent who looks forward to spending so much more time with their kid that they couldn’t wait for the last day of school or the parent who is counting down until school begins again in the fall. How many more weeks left?
Whichever parent you are, summer is here and there isn’t anything you can do about it but embrace it. Your child might be in summer camp, Vacation Bible School, or like mine, a little bit of both. This is their time to rest, relax, and unwind from the stressful early morning wake ups, dreaded homework and excruciating projects they faced the past 10 months. But how much rest is too much?
Too many times students get back into the classroom in August with something I like to call Summer Memory Loss. Children can forget a large amount of information throughout the summer if they aren’t constantly working on the skills they have learned through the past school year. But most importantly, reading. How can we as parents get our kids to read throughout the summer when school is not in session? No one is asking them to create a book report or complete a PBL activity to go along with a read aloud. But not only read, how can we motivate them to pick a book on their own without asking (and sometimes pleading) them?
Here are 5 ways you can encourage reading in your house this summer:
#1 Sign up for a Summer Reading Program
Summer reading programs are every where now. You can find a summer reading program at your local library and certain book stores like Barnes and Noble. When your child successfully completes the program, they are rewarded with a book. I don’t know about you but my kids love rewards for just about anything.
#2 Get Books on Those Topics Your Child Likes
I love my Parent Magazine. Whenever I am in a doctor’s office or any waiting room that has magazines, I gravitate to the Parent Magazine because it is something I enjoy reading. Kids have favorites and preferences too! When my son was just starting to read he didn’t want the little readers I was giving him. He didn’t find them interesting. But knowing my son, I knew he liked Legos. I searched high and low for Lego books that were on his level and I found some here. When we introduced him to these books, he would not put them down. If it was a little difficult for him to read, he wanted us to read it to him. He also loves mystery books. We found some through the Magic Tree House Series and Encyclopedia Brown.
#3 Create a Reading Spot in Your House
Nothing excites a child more than to have a designated spot for something. They have a spot for their shoes, a place to hang their jacket, a bin to put away toys, and table to eat. Why not have a special place for reading? But not just a corner in a room, a nicely decorated corner, chair, or reading nook. They will want to be in this special spot more often now that it is designated for reading and it is new and exciting. Don’t have any creative juices running through you about this idea? Check out these amazing ideas on Pinterest. Don’t forget to store books in this area.
#4 Make Books Visible and Accessible
To want to read, you must first have the materials to do so. Make the books you have in your house visible to your children. If possible, have the cover facing towards them to catch their attention and peak interest in the books. If you don’t have a home library, don’t worry. A quick trip to the library with a free library card gives you access to so many options and genres. They are sure to find what they like there.
#5 Be The Reader You Want Your Child to Become
Children learn and imitate what they see those around them doing, especially adults and more importantly their parents. They copy how we speak and strive to be who we are. We are their biggest role model, live and up close. If we want them to read, they must see us reading ourselves. No, not our news feed on Facebook. They need to see us with a physical book, magazine, or kindle…showing we are reading an ongoing book. My children see me reading and ask constantly what my book is about. Interrupting? Most definitely but at least they know that I practice what I preach. They know that I am asking of them what I require of myself.
Bonus: Read together! Choose a book and read with them. It can be a short story or a chapter book, (chapter books are great because it can be something you do together every night. You can peak their interest with suspense of waiting until tomorrow of what happens next.) Not only are you encouraging reading, but you will bond and make memories that will never fade.