Ahhh, summer. Time to kick back, relax, and enjoy a good book. Except we’re moms, so that’s likely not going to happen. At least not without a little person interrupting us every two seconds. Sigh. But even if we can’t find time to read, we can still encourage our kids to read.
Homeroom, the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education, states, “Studies show that reading daily during summer break is the most important activity to prevent summer learning loss, especially for younger children.” (http://blog.ed.gov/2015/07/take-the-summer-reading-challenge/) How’s that for incentive?
Still, even though we know it’s important, we know our kids need to read every day, it’s sometimes easier said than done. Sure, there are those kids that love to read so much, you have to pry books out of their hands while reminding them to eat. Then there are those other kids that have zero interest in books, and getting them to read is a little bit like slowly yanking off your fingernails. Torture. But no matter what type of reader your kid is, there are always ways to make summer reading more fun. Here are some ideas:
• Books and Movies: Choose a few books to read over the summer that have been turned into movies. Then have movie nights to celebrate! Some good options are Charlotte’s Web, The Bridge to Terabithia, Matilda, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Beezus and Ramona, Harriet the Spy, Tuck Everlasting, Holes, and The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
• Summer Bookclub: Choose a book, invite some of your kids’ friends, and have a book club. Read the book, talk about the book, do a book-related activity, and eat a book-related treat. There are tons of ideas online about how to do this. Or just check out my blog for ideas for a Mother/Daughter and Kid Book club! www.stefaniehohl.com
• Library Summer Reading Program: Go to your local library and participate in their summer reading program. These programs are often very relaxed, with small prizes that kids seem willing to do anything to earn.
• Field Trips/Vacations: Read books about things here in Pittsburgh or about places you are headed on vacation this summer. Create activities for your kids based on the books you read. The Magic Tree House Series is great for this. Read Dinosaurs Before Dark and then take your kids to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to check out the dinosaur exhibit.
• Incentives: A little bribery never hurts, does it? Offer small rewards or incentives for reading. Have kids earn screen time based on how much time they spend reading. Or use a summer reading chart to track reading and prizes. As a special offer for readers of Pittsburgh Moms Blog, use the coupon code SUMMERREADING to receive 50% off my summer reading chart on Etsy! (expires 6/5/16) www.etsy.com/shop/stefhohlcreations Use the chart however it works for your family. You can either have the sun represent a certain number of minutes per day your child has to read or just have each sun equal one book read. For every ten suns colored in, they get a prize!
• Audiobooks: Going on a road trip? Driving around town? Audiobooks are a fabulous way to get in more summer reading. Download them to your phone for free with the Overdrive app, or pay for something like Amazon’s Audible. We just listened to House of Robots by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, and my boys loved it.
• Pick Two: My boys love Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate books. While there’s nothing wrong with that, sometimes it seems like that’s all they want to read. So I told them that this summer, I was going to pick two books for each of them that they were required to read over the summer. They groaned (but I know they’ll like them). If you need suggestions to help find books your kids will like, talk to your local librarian or go to a local bookshop for recommendations!
• Competition/Goal: If your kids love to compete, create a friendly competition either between siblings or between you and your child. See who can read the most pages by the end of summer. Or set a family goal to read a certain number of pages to earn a family reward. For example, if your family has read 5,000 pages by the end of summer, you could earn a trip to Kennywood.
Whatever method you chose, the point is to encourage our kids to read. Good luck and happy reading!