Now that summer has arrived, why not take advantage of the school-break to encourage your kids to pick up a book? After all, as our children’s first and foremost educators, we parents play an essential role in teaching our kids to read and to love reading. Here are a few strategies to help you encourage your children to read this summer.
Lead by Example.
Kids that see their parents reading are more likely to think of reading as a fun activity. Pick up a book on the way to the pool or the park. Read the newspaper in the morning and share some of the exciting stories with the family. If you are out of the habit of curling up with a good book once in a while, you may find you enjoy rediscovering the simple pleasure of reading.
Don’t Make Reading a Drag.
Now that school is out, don’t make reading an assignment. Take advantage of your child’s natural and spontaneous interest and let them read when they show interest in reading. In other words, don’t mandate a set amount of time or pages kids should read per day.
Establish Read-aloud Routines.
Even if it is only for 5-10 minutes a day, try to make it part of your routine to cozy up and enjoy reading together.
Take Advantage of Summertime Interests.
Summer often involves a myriad of fun, outdoor activities such as swimming, bike riding, or playing in the park. Take advantage of your children’s current interests and choose books about these activities. Then talk with your kids about the books to show them that reading is important to you. Ask what they liked about the book and share what you liked about it. Ask open-ended questions to get them thinking and talking about books.
Check Out Your Local Library.
Summer is a great time to visit the library(s) in your area. Most libraries have excellent summer reading programs for kids. Regular library visits also help keep your summer book selection fresh and fun. Remember that books aren’t the only place you’ll find good stories, there are many great magazines and other publications for children in most libraries.
Reading is Fundamental
Reading regularly with young children stimulates optimal patterns of brain development and strengthens parent-child relationships at a critical time in child development, which, in turn, builds language, literacy, and social-emotional skills that last a lifetime. The importance of reading cannot be emphasized enough, and you should make daily reading a high priority. Check back here for more ways to keep your child engaged this summer.