Saturday, June 30, 2012

Encouraging Summer Reading

School may be out, but that doesn't mean that learning needs to end for the summer months.  It is so important to make sure our kids are reading over the summer to prevent them from losing those reading skills they've worked so hard on throughout the year.  Today, we're heading out to the Summer Reading Program Kick-Off at our local library.
Here are some tips to get your kids excited about reading during the summer months:


1.  Tie Reading Into Your Summer Adventures - Are you visiting the zoo or the beach this summer?  Heading out to a museum?  Vacationing to a new location?  Head over to your local library and check out some books to get your child learning about their trip ahead of time.  Kids especially love nonfiction books when they can relate them to a personal experience.  Who knows?  That trip to the zoo might inspire your child to read everything they can about African elephants.  Encourage them to use this time to explore things that really interest them.

2.  Hold a Book Swap - Don't feel like the library or your local bookstore are your only options for spicing up your home library.  Hold a neighborhood book swap and let your kids trade their books with other kids in the neighborhood.  This is a great way to get the neighborhood together and add a few new books to your collection.  You can also look at it as a chance to declutter those books that your kids have outgrown.  If you're feeling ambitious, you can add in a few book-themed snacks, share your favorite childhood story, or add in a book-themed craft and make it a whole afternoon event.  Check out our Pinterest board for book-themed crafts and activities.

3.  Visit the Library (and get a few books for yourself) - This should go without saying but kids whose parents read are more likely to love reading themselves.  Let your kids see you get excited about reading.  Every summer, we sign up for our library's Summer Reading Program.  The kids (and the adults) earn entries for each book they read and can put them towards raffles for fun prizes.   Big Brother is hoping to win a Webkinz this summer.  Many libraries also offer fun summer programs including puppets, science exploration, magicians, and animal activities.  Take advantage of these free activities and check out a few books while you're there.

4.  Make it Easy!  Make it Fun! - Now is not the time to push your kids to read beyond their comfort level.  Let them choose some books that are easy for them.  It's great fluency practice!  Also, don't be afraid to let them read what they're interested in, whether that's comic books, graphic novels, poetry, or even a cookbook - reading is reading!

5.  Read it Together! -   Young kids love reading with their parents.  The lazy days of summer are a great time to pick up a novel that you could both enjoy.  Read it aloud before bed or have a picnic lunch and read a few pages.  Let your child read a chapter to you.  Or, if you have older children/preteens, read the same book and join a book club together.  It's a great chance to spend some time together and do some reading :)

Above all, have fun and enjoy spending time with your child!  Summer (and childhood) only last so long!

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