Make Summer Reading Important
Reading, reading, reading! Every few weeks a study or article comes out that talks about the importance of reading, and reading on a regular basis at every age. This is especially important for younger children who depend on reading to help them explore new information and ideas, gain new knowledge, and make connections in their own environment. When school lets out for the summer, parents and kids tend to think, "Alright, break time from school work!" This is partially true. It is after all a summer vacation. At the same time, it's so important to keep your child reading during the summer. They need to keep their reading, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension abilities fresh and in practice. Not only that, but summer reading can be a great time for those abilities to improve or even surpass grade level expectations. How do you get kids who are off school for the summer to keep reading?
It is important to establish expectations and a routine at the beginning of the summer. If you need help deciding how much or how often, ask your child's teacher for help. Listed below are some ideas for how to incorporate reading into your child's summer routine.
- Get your child a card to the local library. The library is full of enough books to keep your child reading for free all summer. Many libraries also have summer reading programs that your child can sign up for and win prizes for how much they read.
- Have theme week at your house. Choose a theme such as the weather, animals, gardening, or the beach and set up activities for the week that correspond to it. For example, the theme could be bees. Have your child read one non-fiction, and one fiction book about bees. Then choose a book about bees that you and your child read together. Find a bee activity like coloring pages or make a bee out of a toilet paper roll and crafting supplies, and do it together. You could even have your child write their own short story about bees with illustrations. You can display the bee week activities around the house. The next week you pick a new theme.
- Set up a reading log or chart. Choose age appropriate reading goals for each week, and mark them off with a stamp or sticker. When your child reaches their goal, they get some sort of reward or prize like buying a new book, special pencil, or a yummy treat.
- Take your child to visit a local retirement home and have them read to a resident, or group of residents. Just call the nursing home ahead of time and ask if it's okay, and what time works best for them. The residents will LOVE it and your child will feel really good about making someone's day.
- Have your child do a compare and contrast of a book and the film based off of it. Depending on their age, you may have to read the book to them and help them with their compare and contrast list. Have them watch the movie and read the book, then make a list of things that were the same and different. I have previous blogs on lists of books and films that can be used for this.
These are just some ideas for how to incorporate reading into your child's summer schedule. There are so many more on the internet, teaching sites, and more. Also, don't be afraid to ask your child's teacher, the local librarian, or others for their ideas and advice. Happy reading!
Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons and Paul Martinez
About Hannah T
I am a 2010 graduate with a degree and certification in Elementary Ed., and I have worked with students from birth to junior high. I believe that one of the most important qualities to surviving a teaching career is a sense of humor. I also strongly feel that students are most successful when they are active and hands-on learners. My Mom was a Special Ed. teacher for almost 30 years, and my Dad was an English major, so I enjoy bouncing blog ideas off the two of them. This usually results in an exchange of great stories with my Mom, and a correction in my writing from my Dad. When they're not available, the job falls to my rescue dog, Coozie.