Wednesday, June 24

7 Ways to Get Kids To Read This Summer

Ah, summer. The sweet release from the dreaded school year. Swim parties and beach trips. Ice cream and popsicles dribbling down your face... Of course summer vacation is awesome!

But while these thoughts are running through kids' minds, many educators and parents may have this thought: how can I ensure my kids don't experience learning loss over the summer? Don't worry! There are ways you can help keep your kids' brains working and developing! And here's a little post to get you started: seven ways to get your kids to read this summer.

1. Read as a family

This is really the top, most effective way to help your kids. Many studies have found that adult interaction while reading is the best way for your children to learn. This interaction can be done in any number of ways, though setting aside time to read to your kids and checking up on their comprehension is best. If there isn't enough time for that, try scheduling a certain time of day for everyone in the family to sit down with their own books. Often, if a child sees their parent/sibling reading, it will create a positive perception of reading for the child. Afterwards, share what you've all read. And in the end, even if you yourself have no time to read, in the very least, ask your child about their reading. Checking in with their comprehension is key. Be involved! And have fun!

2. Audiobooks

So maybe you can't spare the time to read to your kids. Have no fear, audiobooks are totally and completely a legitimate way for kids to learn reading skills. They're proven to increase vocabulary and fluency of language. Plus, they're totally fun--for some kids, audiobooks may not feel like the "chore" that reading can be. Try using them as a family, like during your next road trip. Or even as an alternative to TV or movies.


3. Let them pick their book

School was all about assigned reading. Anytime reading is assigned, I swear, the joy is sucked out of a book faster than an Otter Pop from its wrapper in July. So let your kids have some freedom--within reason, of course. But honestly, if your child would rather pick up a comic book than Tom Sawyer, then by all means, just be happy they're reading. At some point, you may gently encourage a book or two (or read a more challenging story to them), but remember to let your kids enjoy what they want.

4. Sign up for summer reading

Libraries are your best friend. Repeat: libraries are your best friend! Not only are they full of great reading materials, but will often have all sorts of programs and prizes encouraging the reading of said materials! Okay, I might be a little over excited about this one. But honestly, go to your public library and get your kids signed up for the summer reading program. It's just one more way to provide some extrinsic motivation. Some extremely fun extrinsic motivation!

5. Surround them with reading materials

Going to the library also helps with this suggestion. If your kids are surrounded by opportunities to read, there's a good chance they'll take it. Have children's magazines on your coffee table, a shelf of books around the TV, picture books displayed in their rooms, or whatever else suits their fancy. Heck, ask them what's going on on the back of their cereal box. Any chance to read is a chance to learn.

from The Guardian

6. Book-then-movie club

This is fun idea that I've seen implemented at other libraries and that totally works at home. In the most basic sense: encourage your kids to read the book before seeing the movie! This is a fun club to have just at your house or with friends involved, too. Select different books that have movie adaptations and reward the successful readers with a movie night. It's also a great jumping off point for a book discussion--namely, how the movie butchered the book (although, I will admit to some movies being better than their book). It's great for reading comprehension.

7. Reward system

In the end, even libraries resort to some bribery here and there. For my library's summer reading program, we give prizes after so many minutes read, culminating in a free book after 500 minutes. With just 10 minutes a day, they'll get to this goal by the end of the summer. And at home? Try offering little incentives here or there, whatever may fit you and your child's preferences. Remember, though, any time you can incentivize reading with more literacy-based prizes (e.g. our giving a free book at the end of summer reading) the better.

Honestly, some kids will be more up for it than others, and that's okay. Be creative! For those who aren't as in to reading, check out my post on how to get reluctant readers reading and some book recommendations. In any case, have fun this summer!

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