Get Your Kids Reading This Summer

“No more pencils, no more books. No more teachers’ dirty looks!” Kids across the nation are chanting this as they leave the halls of school behind for summer fun. Visions of sleeping in, playing in the sun, swimming, Popsicles, ball games and fireflies fill the thoughts of kids as they mentally plan the next few months. The last thing they probably want to do is pick up a book, because, hey, that’s what school is for, right?

Well, yes.

And no.

According to Scholastic Magazine, children who do not read over the summer months may forget what they have learned over the past school year. They suggest that reading six books over the summer months can keep a reader who struggles from regressing, and help other readers to be on top of their game for the next school year.

Here are 7 Tips for encouraging your kids to get on board with summer reading:

Experience a Summer Adventure: Books are able to entertain us, take us outside of ourselves and allow us to experience the world in a new way through the characters and stories we read about. Expose your child to books on topics that that inspire them to develop their imaginations and sense of adventure.

Join a Library Reading Program: Most libraries have summer reading programs. Kids are able to sign up to read a certain amount of books or for an allotted time and incentives and rewards are given along the way. Have a weekly library day when you can go as a family, check out books and browse through new titles.

Make it a Challenge: Talk to your kids about setting a reading goal and make it a competition. For example, when your child reads for 30 minutes a day for an entire week (or whatever the goal may be), reward them with an agreed upon prize. (I like to purchase a new book they choose as a prize.)

Take it Outside, Please: Kids aren’t in school anymore, so don’t make reading look like school. Take a bike ride to a park, spread out a blanket and read in the shade. The change in location can be a fun way to really get into a good story.

Bedtime: “But it’s summer! I don’t want to go to be yet!” It’s true that summer schedules allow for flexibility with staying up a little later. But younger kids especially still need to get in some quality zzz’s. Compromise with kids who “don’t want to go to bed yet” by allowing them to stay up for an extra half hour, if they agree to settle down with a book.

Set the Example: “Do as I say AND as I do — ” Our kids learn by example. Make sure yours catch you in the act of reading a good book. Share the story line with them or talk about what you are learning.

Read Aloud: For the struggling reader, take turns reading aloud. This can be a good bonding time for the two of you.

Some kids love to read; others, not so much. Take the summer months to encourage reading in a way that sitting in a classroom just can’t compare to.