Just like I’ve mentioned in several previous posts, one of the most important things you can do to help your children learn is to raise them to be enthusiastic readers. Reading opens the entire world to kids, and allows them to be able to learn absolutely anything. Plus, one of the best ways to prevent summer slide is to make sure your kids are reading a lot! So, today i’m sharing 7 Ways to Encourage Summer Reading for kids from preschool to high school!
7 Ways to Encourage Summer Reading
1. Find what your kids like to read
This is key to getting kids to love reading! A lot of kids aren’t going to like standard novels, or what they’re typically given to read in school. Use your local library (or library app on a device!) to let them try different genres of books. My 11 year old has a great attention span, and loves complex fantasy and science fiction novels. My 10 year old son with ADHD prefers graphic novels and mangas. They’ll both read for hours, but only if they have a book they’re actually INTERESTED in. Really explore different genres and even styles of books until you find one that just clicks with your unique kid.
2. Quiet reading time
This is a requirement in my house. It’s easier if you start when they’re little, but even big kids can get into quiet reading time. Usually in the morning after breakfast they read for about 30 minutes before we start doing other things. After dinner, when everyone is taking turns getting ready for bed, the other kids read quietly. It’s just part of the routine and normal to them. We do the same thing during the school year as well, but it’s usually for shorter time spans. Also if everyone gets too loud, or starts whining and fighting, we’ll have some quiet reading time to give everyone some space and time to calm themselves down and reset.
3. Let them read aloud
My 8 year doesn’t like sitting and reading quietly for long periods of time. However, she LOVES to read aloud to her little brother (who loves hearing stories) and the cat! She adds voices and personalities, and after lots of speech therapy when she was in kindergarten, it’s a great way for her to practice her pronunciation! Sometimes kids don’t know if they’re saying a word correctly until they say it out loud, especially if it’s a name or a word they don’t hear in common conversation. Classic books like Anne of Green Gables or The Tales of Beatrix Potter can be very tricky for kids because they never hear a lot of those words anymore!
4. Check retention – quiz time!
Sometimes your kids need to read a book they just don’t want to read. Or it may be a bit on the higher end of their reading ability, and a challenge for them. In these cases, most kids have a tendency to just skim through the pages and then say “I’m all done reading that book!” I use a little magic trick my mom used with me to stop this from happening. In fact, my older daughter started laughing when my younger daughter tried this and I picked up the book and said, “Quiz Time!” She remembered me doing this to her!
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I flip through the book and find a bit of key information (this works especially well if you’re familiar with the book) and ask them about it. For example, in the first Harry Potter book, you can ask “What is the name of the bank that Harry and Hagrid go to in the beginning of the book?” If your child is younger than 8 or 9, I suggest asking questions every few chapters rather than from the whole book if they’re reading chapter books. This not only helps them remember to pay attention and not skim through books, it also helps prepare them for answering questions about texts in literature class! Also, have them summarize the book for you too!
5. Book before movie
One of the most effective ways to get your kids to read books is when they come home talking about the new movie that’s out that they really want to see. If that movie is based on a book, have them read the book first before they can watch the movie! We did that with the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series, and it worked so well that my daughter went up several reading levels just from the challenge of reading books above her grade level. When she finished a book and could summarize the story (and answer a few key questions!) we watched the movie as a special reward! Also, if they’ve already watched the movie, have them read the book and try to spot the differences between the book and the movie!
6. Different forms of reading
Some kids just don’t respond well to standard paper books. Try an e-book! Sometimes kids with dyslexia, ADHD, or vision difficulties do better with the adjustable text sizes, fonts, and color options in e-books. Also, if your kid is a better auditory learner, sometimes to can be helpful to listen to the audiobook version of a story while following along in the book. There’s a reason why teachers often read stories aloud while having the class follow along. It’s because if you listen and read at the same time, you’re getting both visual and auditory input and it can help you absorb and retain the information! I love any little tricks that make learning easier.
7. Let them see you read!
Kids emulate what they see their parents do. They behave how they see their parents behave. This is why your kids need to see you curled up in a cosy chair, with a cup of coffee (or tea!) and a blanket, enjoying a good book. If it’s a book on your phone or tablet, make sure to let them know you’re reading a book rather than working or playing a game. Make reading a part of your week and your kids will too! Also don’t forget that you can take books to the park or out on the back porch and enjoy reading in the fresh air!
I hope you found these 7 Ways to Encourage Summer Reading helpful, and if you have any other tips that have worked well to encourage your kids to read more, please share them in the comments!