School’s out for summer (for most of the country), but that doesn’t mean it’s time to close the chapter on reading! Summer is actually a great time to encourage kids to read “just for fun” rather than under the pressure of school requirements for weekly reading logs or to meet AR goals. A love of literacy can start at a very early age — with a little help. And the no-stress, no-pressure days of summer are a great time to help kids learn to incorporate reading into their lives. Apex Leadership Co. offers the following tips for parents to help making reading fun this summer.
Let them Lead
While many kids and teens associate reading with school or learning, reading should be seen as a relaxing activity that can become a lifelong hobby. And much of that has to do with the reading material! So when it comes to selecting a book, parents can encourage their children to choose what they want to read, not what they “have to” read or “should” read.
Remember, summer reading isn’t about making a grade, it’s about fostering a real love of reading. Spend some time at the library exploring all the different sections (some kids may love non-fiction books about far-away places while others may become immersed in graphic novels or fantasy fiction). Step back and let them discover a book (or two or three…) that speaks to them and captures their imagination.
Make it Fun
For children that are motivated by achievements, make a fun summer reading chart or log how many pages or words they read throughout the summer. (A few free online printables and some colorful markers or stickers can make easy and fun work of this.) Have them set their own goals or ‘challenge’ benchmarks so as to not have them associate it with a ‘chore’ or task that they must do. However, parents can get involved with offering some incentive for when the kids do achieve their goals or exceed their own challenges. A trip to the bookstore for some new reading material, perhaps?
When encouraging summer reading time, associating it with enjoyable things can help turn this ‘challenge’ into a true lifelong hobby. Parents can put ‘quiet time’ on the weekly schedule for the whole family. A half-hour time slot after dinner and baths/showers is ideal for getting this habit started and a soothing way to transition to bed time, but daytime reading is great too!
During this time, TVs are off and phones are put down. Everyone can find a cozy spot with some cushy pillows, a soft blanket and ample lighting. Or take some time on a laid-back morning or afternoon to read outside — ‘camp out’ under a shady tree, in a hammock or even poolside. Some ‘reading’ snacks — think popcorn and some hot chocolate for a nighttime reading session or fruit and a cool glass of lemonade (for the daytime reading) — might even sweeten the pot. Then let the fun begin!
Read to Early Learners
Another great way for parents to encourage a lifetime love of reading is to read to their little ones. Reading bedtime books is a wonderful activity to help little ones settle down before its ‘lights out.’ And to encouragement some excitement about reading, parents can have fun making up voices for each character. As little ones grow, taking turns reading to one another is a great way for parents and children to bond over their budding love for reading!
There are countless resources to help parents find age-appropriate books and content for any reading level and on nearly any subject. Reading at any level, at any age, is a great way to build literacy skills and learn something new (just for fun!). Apex Leadership Co. encourages parents and guardians to help children develop a love of literacy this summer (and increase their own!) with these easy, no-pressure tips.