School is out for the summer, and that means no more homework — or books? As a parent, you can say hogwash on the latter. Reading is a fabulous activity for all ages, and summer is the ideal time for lying in the hammock with a gripping read.
How can you keep your kids reading during this season? If you routinely encourage the habit, you might not have to change your routine much. However, if your little angels prove resistant, the following ten tips can help.
1. Read Bedtime Stories
86% of parents read their 5-year-old a bedtime story, but by the time their children reach 11, fewer than 40% do. This practice both inspires a love of reading and brings you closer. Try to continue the habit as long as your child will tolerate it.
What if they protest and say such things are for babies? You want to respect their growing autonomy, but you can still promote literacy. Buy them a stylish journal and encourage them to write in it — this tip only works if you maintain a hands-off policy.
2. Encourage Solitary Play
Children engage in six different types of play at different developmental stages. When you encourage solitary play by having quiet times when your kids participate in quiet solo activities, you also prompt them to read. If nothing else, they might pick up a book if they feel bored — you’ve read a shampoo bottle from time to time when in the bathroom, right?
3. Provide Ample Materials
If you want your children to read, they need to have materials. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend much money to stock your little one’s library. You can find plenty of organizations offering free books for kids — research these online.
You don’t have to stop at books. Your children can enjoy reading age-appropriate magazines. One of the most well-known publishers is Highlights for Children, but you can find others. Some older children might enjoy comic books or manga.
4. Embrace Technology
Any child who has ever shown you how to use your iPhone stands as proof that kids adore gadgets. They also take to them like proverbial ducks to H20, perhaps because they lack the inhibitions against touching things they “shouldn’t” that give so many adults pause when using new programs.
If your child balks at silent reading, try introducing them to audiobooks. Research indicates that exposure to models of fluent reading helps children build competency themselves. It also exposes them to more sophisticated word choice and sentence structure than they could tackle independently.
5. Ask About Their Reading
Do you ever grow exasperated and feel neglected if your partner comes home from work day after day without asking how yours went? Your kids feel similarly abandoned if you tell them to read but never show interest. Make book chats a routine discussion topic around the family dinner table. Ask your kids about what they’re reading and ask them to make predictions. You can say, “Wow, such-and-such character is really in a predicament. How do you think she’ll make it out alive?” This activity nurtures critical thinking skills while reinforcing reading skills.
6. Set a Positive Example
Kids imitate what their parents do far more than they obey what their folks tell them to do. If your child hears you lecture about the importance of reading but never see you pick up a novel, guess what? They’ll assume that you only want their nose in a book to keep them out from underfoot.
While this assumption may have a glimmer of truth — be honest — you do need to set a positive example. Let your children see you reading and discuss your novel with them. You can, of course, spare them the juicier details of Christian Grey.
7. Create a Cozy Nook
What’s cozier than curling up in a window seat with a hot cuppa and a delicious novel? Your child has similar feelings and will feel drawn to a space they help design. Let them create a comfy reading nook in the corner of their bedroom. Use bean bags or a bed tent to make it unique.
8. Visit the Library
Libraries have begun to reopen in many areas, and if yours has, plan a visit. Due to COVID-19, your location may alter their hours — call ahead to inquire. When you do, ask about options like curbside pickup if you hesitate to enter enclosed public spaces.
9. Start a Book Club
Your child will read if their tribe considers it the cool thing to do. Help your child start a book club with friends, similar to those you enjoy as an adult. You can help your little reader set up a Zoom meeting room where they can connect safely with their pals near and far to discuss their latest recommendations.
10. Offer Incentives
Finally, companies offer summer reading incentives to help you keep your child engrossed this season. Research the rewards they can win online and sign them up for these programs. You can also implement individual awards — anything from selecting the family dinner to giving input on your next family vacation activities.
Keep Your Kids Reading Even Out of School With These Tips
You can keep your kids literate and improve their reading fluency while school is out for the summer. Use the tips above to help them build their skills and a love of reading.