Thursday, June 24, 2010

Encouraging Summer Reading

I came across a discussion page on TwitterMoms that posed this question:  How do you get your kids to embrace summer reading?  And I thought I’d like to weigh in.

The truth is, summer is break time and my kids know it!  They’ve thrown their backpacks by the way side and haven’t looked back.  But there’s no reason that their books need to go neglected all summer long. Let me share a few tips on keeping those books from getting dusty over the school break.

1) Make it mandatory.  This isn’t saying make reading a prison sentence, but I’ve said it before: turn off the TV!  Maybe half an hour before bed time, turn off the glowing screen and hand them a book.  Let them know (perhaps year round?) that 30 minute before bed time is reading time.   Give them a choice of what they want to read (I’ve let my son read a video game manual, hey, it’s reading, right??) and don’t be too picky.  Even reading books at or below their current level will reinforce fluency and speed.  Also, don’t be afraid to read to a child that already reads well themselves.  Your attention and interest will spark theirs.  Along those lines:

2) Be an example!  Don’t sneak off to the next room while the kids read to catch your TV show.  That’s what your DVR is for!  When you have some down time, get out your own book.  Involve your whole family, even grandparents and caretakers.  I saw my parents read all the time and I can tell you it really encouraged me to read more often, too!  At the pool?  Camping?  Bring books for the car, and for the times you want to relax.  No electricity required!!Have older siblings read to younger ones!

3) Speaking of electricity, don’t be to quick to dismiss audio books.  Our family lives just about an hour from the nearest large city, so we often listen to audio books on the drive!  Summer or winter, chances are you spend some time in the car.

4) Treat new books like new toys.  My husband and I decided a long time ago we would always feel OK saying “no” to a new toy when necessary.  We also decided we’d always say “yes” to books.  Our family routinely visits Barnes & Noble to treat ourselves to new books.  Be excited about it!  Help them choose an appropriate book and make it a fun time.  They will grow to love this shopping experience!So many choices!

5) The library is OPEN in the summer.  Your local library probably has a summer reading program.  Sign them up! They often offer certificates or even prizes for finishing!  If they don’t offer one, perhaps you could start your own family reading program.  Offer small incentives for meeting reading goals!

6) Variety is the spice of life.  Unless your reader is a toddler, they will want variation.  My one-year-old will have me read the same book 13 times…in a row.  Not so for older readers.  Have a ready supply of books.  Don’t be afraid to check out several from the library at once.  Trade with friends.  Visit yard sales.  It’s not hard to provide kids with new(-ish) books.  They will enjoy the choices, and if you are the reader, you’ll appreciate it, too!

7) Keep at it!  Its up to you as parents to remember to encourage your kids to read.  If you slack off, they will, too.  It only takes a little effort to encourage a lifelong good reading habit!Involve grandpa, too!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms blogging program to be eligible to get an "I Can Read!" book. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

1 comment:

  1. I am a new follower from twittermoms through GFC. Hope you can visit me too.

    ps. I noticed a spelling error and don't mean to be a pain, just so you can correct it Morning child has an extra i on side of your blog and there's no second i in morning.

    Cheers, Paula