Make Summer Reading Fun

Summer Reading

Make Summer Reading FunRemember summertime when you were a kid and you’d grab your favorite book (mine was The Babysitters Club) to read under the tree outside your house?

Things are different now.

Most kids pick up their smart phone, their iPad, or any other electronic device before they even think about cracking open a book.

Your kids may not be aware of this, but there’s this really cool place called a library [ˈlaɪˌbreri] where they can go and listen to fun stories and borrow thousands upon thousands of books on just about any subject. You might even have such a place nearby.

Going to the library to check out books is a pretty awesome deal for us parents because 1) it’s free 2) it will give your kids something worthwhile to do this summer, and 3) the benefits of your kids reading books during the summer (along with the rest of the year) are great.

Here are just some of the reasons why:

  • Students’ literacy skills will be strengthened. An Assistant Principal in the US, Twana Santana-Embry, compares reading to exercising, telling students when they read, they are “strengthening their reading muscles.”
  • Students will not fall behind and may actually achieve more the following school year. According to the School Library Journal, kids who participate in [summer reading] programs are 52 Lexile points ahead of their peers who do not.
  • Students will enjoy reading more throughout their lives. Because they will have gotten into the habit, they’ll most likely continue reading regularly as they get older.

In 1978, a New York University sociology professor named Barbara Heyns spent two years following 3,000 sixth and seventh graders in various public schools. Her findings were shocking: children reading at least six books during the summer maintained or improved their reading skills. And kids who didn’t read slipped almost an entire grade level!

Yikes! An entire grade level?

But what if my kid HATES reading?

Summer ReadingI had that problem in my household, too, until my son finally got the hang of it (by reading and reading and reading), and now he loves it. Plus, there are fun ways to get your child engaged in reading by:

  • Reading a book that’s been made into a film. You can offer another cool incentive by allowing your child to see the movie once they’ve read the book.
  • Reading books that are part of a series. Some of my 10-year-old son’s favorites are the “I Survived…” series and the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series. The reason I like series books is that they keep your kid engaged and motivate them to continue reading. After the series is done and they’ve gotten a taste of how fulfilling reading can be, they’ll look into other genres.
  • Reading in a fun place. Such as my earlier example (under a tree), at grandma’s house, or in the car on a road trip.

How about you? What are you doing this summer to get your kids to read? Do you have a summer reading program in your area? Please tell us below in the comments.

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