Besides being a wonderful time to relax, swim, and enjoy the hot weather, summer is also a marvelous time to encourage a love of recreational reading in our children. Although summer is usually busy with outdoor fun, family reunions, weddings, and picnics, leave room for plenty of time for lazing about with a good book. Use these four simple tricks to keep your kids reading all the way through June, July, and August.
After lunch, send the children to their rooms or beds for a quiet time. It doesn’t need to be hours long. Even just 45 minutes of quiet downtime every day helps to keep everyone rested and cheerful during the long summer evenings when you are more active outdoors and probably stay up later.
Encourage your kids to take a book with them for this hour of rest. The best case scenario is for children and teens to select their own books. But you may need to help a reluctant reader find a new series to hold his interest. If necessary, assign historical fiction set during the period of history you will study in the upcoming school year. Whet their appetite for next year’s studies with entertaining, fascinating books on a variety of topics.
If your kids are anything like mine, they find it hard to fall asleep during the summer. The sun is up later, and it’s hard to close your eyes. Instead of fighting your kids, allow your kids to read in bed for a while.
Reading in bed will help your children relax and fall asleep. It also gives them an excuse to stay up later. What kid doesn’t want an excuse to stay up an extra hour or two? Allowing your kids to stay up later at night reading will help develop their reading skills and develop a love of reading. You may want to encourage such behavior with flashlights or book lights.
Read at the Park
Instead of fighting with your kids over reading at home on these sunny summer days, pack your kids up and head to the park. Lay a blanket on the ground with a basket of apples in the middle. Insist your kids read for 20 minutes, enjoying the apples while they browse their books. Once they’ve finished reading in the sun, let them run off and play.
Reading at the park is a fun change of pace from reading at home in the living room or bedroom every day. Sometimes instead of a basket of apples, take a picnic lunch instead. Keep the reading time short to encourage your kids to look forward to reading at the park this summer. Of course, once the 20 minutes are up, they are welcome to keep reading!
Summer Reading Programs
Many local businesses and libraries host summer reading programs for kids. Sign up your children for as many as you’d like. The trick to the summer reading programs is to have a set time period for the kids to read each day.
They can read for an hour at bedtime, an hour after lunch, or for 20 minutes each day at the park. The location and time don’t matter as much as having a set daily time to read.
A motivated reader will love the reading programs and will need very little encouragement to participate. A weak reader may be enthusiastic to win the awards but will struggle to complete the daily reading.
Make it easy for your children to participate by having a consistent time every day to read. Also set the example for your kids and enjoy a relaxing summer reading books yourself.