Summer’s finally here! With school out, you no longer have to worry about schedules, homework, early-morning madness, and tests. It’s the perfect time for you and your children to laze around in a hammock or frolic at a beach with a favorite author’s latest novel. But what if the last thing they want to do, after a year of required reading, is pick up another book?
Let Them Pick And Choose
During the school year, kids have few options when it comes to what they read. Summer is a great time to expand what is offered and give them the gift of choice.
Reading doesn’t just happen between the covers of a book. There are plenty of magazines geared toward children. The lure may be puzzles, animals, monster trucks, or sports, but among those colorful pictures of cute critters or famous athletes is lots of age-appropriate text. Even comic books can be positive reading experiences.
If your child is old enough, let him get his own library card. Pride of possession is a wonderful motivator. And reading is never a chore when it’s driven by a particular passion.
Hook Them On A Series
One of the most effective ways to get kids to read through the summer is to introduce them to a book series. The familiarity of the characters and the story-lines make the leap into the next book effortless. Animal lovers might like the Animorphs series by K. A. Applegate. History lovers might like The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. Check with your local bookstore owner as to what series are popular and age-appropriate for your child.
Take Advantage Of Downtime
Reading doesn’t have to mean sitting in one place for an hour or more, a hard enough task for many kids. Catching up on the fly works just as well. Make sure you exchange toys for books during regular down times, such as in the bathroom and in the car. Take a favorite book with you for unexpected wait times at doctor’s appointments or when running errands with you.
Some kids who struggle with reading can benefit by listening to audiobooks. The spoken word draws them in, focuses attention, and gifts them with quick understanding of character and plot, something they might miss while reading and concentrating on sounding out words and decoding long sentences. Knowing the story, they then can read the same book with more comprehension and joy.
With a little effort, even your most reluctant reader may find himself, by end-of-summer, reading casually under the covers, in the car, or maybe sitting on a bough in his backyard tree, lost in a new adventure.