If you’re a parent, you know just how difficult it can be to encourage your children to read. To kids, reading doesn’t compare to spending time outdoors, hanging out with friends or beating the hardest level of a new video game. What kids don’t understand is just how important summer reading is for building both cognitive abilities and improving mental recall: two things that are extremely vital for developing minds.
Reading during summer months is an even more daunting task. Generally, students want to spend the summer avoiding any activities that resemble what they did in school the previous year. They like to use the summer to give their brain a break and have the fun they often missed out on while in school. And parents can totally relate to that. For adults, we often like to spend our days off doing the same thing – relaxing and re-energizing. This is the same for children.
The Summer Slide
However, allowing our kids to completely shut down their learning centers in their brains for three months or more can be devastating to the knowledge they acquired while in school. Teachers often refer to this as “the summer slide.” But have no fear – there are ways to lessen the effects of the summer slide without turning the summer into a rigorous learning boot camp.
Reading is fundamental for encouraging learning, increasing vocabulary, and expanding creativity. And trust me, their new teacher will notice the effort they put into their reading and continuing their educational development.
Summer Reading Tips
- Read in creative places like under a tree, in a hammock, by the campfire or build your child a “reading fort” complete with hanging lights, fluffy pillows and snuggly blankets
- Replace a few summer games with a short, fun book series and challenge them to read them all before school (beware of the long book series, it can be discouraging)
- Start a book club with neighbor kids and friends and pick a new book every few weeks to discuss
- Incentivize their reading time with candy, allowance or rewards – you pick!
- Create a reading log that holds them accountable for their independent reading time
- Set goals: pages per week, chapters per week, books per month, etc.
- Reading aloud: find fun chapter books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe to increase comprehension and improve fluency
- Use reading as an incentive for “screen time.” Reading = video games!
- If you’re watching a movie, put on the subtitles to help with phonetics and fluency
- Lead by example: read your own book alongside your child during reading hour