Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Read This Summer
Summer is warm and relaxing and a great time for families to bond with each other. It is also a time that children can lose some of what they have learned the previous school year if they do not continue to practice some of those skills. A great way to get them to practice those skills is to encourage them to read or write every day. The following tips have been used successfully and come from a veteran teacher of 26 years.
- Sign up for and participate in summer reading programs. Many local libraries offer fun challenges and prizes for reading suggested titles or numbers of books. Kids love to work towards an incentive. Many book stores also offer summer programs. There is not a rule that says your child cannot double up on recording books read for one program with another program. You just need to transfer the information onto the forms for each program.
- Encourage simple skills practice for emerging and beginning readers by giving them fun ways to practice word and letter identification. Give your child a spray bottle and have them practice words or letters on the sidewalk or driveway with water. You can also have them use a paint brush and a cup of water to paint the words or letters. Chalk is another great way to practice.
- Give your child a highlighter or light colored marker and have them highlight or circle words they can read on their cereal box, newspaper, or magazines.
- Extend your child’s normal bedtime by a half hour as long as she stays in bed and reads or looks at books or writes in a journal or notebook during the extra time.
- Make bedtime stories a ritual all year long. As your child’s reading skills improve, take turns reading the books or chapters to give your child practice reading and listening.
- Turn the hearing impaired caption option on your television so your child sees words while watching television. Play games where they can put a bean/marble/noodle in a jar every time he sees a word you have designated. For very young readers, write this word on a card so your child can see it.
- Watch television with your child. Ask questions about the characters, setting, and problem in the story. Have your child predict what will happen next. By doing this, you are practicing and encouraging important comprehension skills.
- When you go grocery shopping, have your child write the items you need on the list as you dictate them. Have your child hold and read the list. As items are added to the cart, your child can cross them off.
- If your child is too young to be in charge of the list, have her take a notebook and write words she knows as she sees them while shopping. She can also write down words she wants to know how to spell (Barbie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, etc.) from packaging while in the store.
- In the morning, write 5 words your child needs to know on post it notes. Hide each post it where your child will find it (on his toothbrush, in his shoes, etc.). As he finds each word, have him bring you the word and read it.
- Have a reading challenge weekly with your child (or between children). Get each child a bookmarker with a times or a digital kitchen timer that can be started/stopped and started again to add more time. Make notecards with prizes or incentives (a free book from the bookstore, lunch of their choice, a free chore, movie rental, ice cream cone, etc.). Each week have a start time for the contest. The child that reads the most during the week chooses her card as a prize.
- Have your child write a menu for breakfast in bed or a treehouse/picnic lunch. On a designated day, allow your child to choose a meal from the menu she created. You can also have her make the meal you “order” for you.
- Have your child make a store or lemonade stand. Have your child make all the signs he will need (open/closed, no credit cards, cash only, store hours, etc.) Visit his store and make a small purchase.
- Make a goal of how many books your child wants to read each week. Celebrate each week’s goal with a walk together, some cuddle time or a favorite game.
- Create a special reading nook inside or outside. It can be as easy as a reading tent, hammock, or you can build a special hideaway using a hula-hoop and a sheet or build a tepee with some poles and blankets. You can gather pillows and blankets in a special cozy spot and give your child a flashlight and a special snack to enjoy while reading.
- Designate one night as “Come as your favorite book character night”. Have each family member wear or bring 3 things that are clues to the character’s identity. Take turns guessing each other’s favorites.
Reading is fun and with some encouragement and practice your child can become a better reader and learn to love it more every day.