While you may have some fun times planned like vacations, swimming, and cookouts this summer, you may not have thought about how to keep your child engaged in reading this summer. Libraries are a big help with summer reading programs, story times and a multitude of books to borrow, but what about at home? Here are some tips to create a summer reading routine that will keep your children engaged and learning this summer.
- Read aloud. Whether your children are young or older, reading aloud can still be beneficial. A few years ago our family read “The Giver” altogether, taking turns reading the chapters aloud. We read one or two chapters together each night. While reading, stop every so often and discuss something that occurred in the book, or pick out a word and ask what other words could be used in place of that word. Have the kids draw pictures when it's not their turn to read, or find other ways to keep them engaged in the story.
- Non-fiction. Have you noticed that your child is really interested in horses? Are your children attending a summer camp that is about art? Perhaps they’d like to learn about a famous athlete? When you visit the library, make sure to venture out of their normal book choices, and encourage them to explore some biographies or non-fiction books about topics that are interesting to them.
- Take time to read yourself. It’s no secret that our kids want to mimic what we do. How many times have you waited patiently while your child attempted to do something himself? It’s because they have seen you do it. Reading is no different. If your kids see you reading, they will learn that reading is something that people enjoy doing. It’s relaxing and a way to learn, and they will want to do it too.
- Place reading material all around. Have a basket of books in the living room, a bookshelf in the bedroom, a magazine in the kitchen, etc. Sometimes just by seeing something, you’re reminded that you want to do that. So if books, magazines, and newspapers are placed all around your house instead of on just one bookshelf, it may encourage everyone to read more.
- Have fun with reading. Do your kids enjoy putting on plays? Have them act out a story they read. Does your family like competition? Make a graph and have each person color in one square when they have finished reading a book, and see who is in the lead each week. Maybe your kids like to draw pictures, so ask them to draw a picture from their favorite part of the book they just read.
Doing these things will not only help your child to learn and grow, but it will probably help you to stop and take some extra time to read too. Reading is not just important for kids -- it’s a great way to relax and unwind at the end of a busy day -- for kids, and adults too!
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