Encouraging Your Child to Read Over Summer BreakEncouraging Your Child to Read Over Summer Break
by Jennifer gregory
Many parents have a list of fun activities to do and places that they would like to go with their child this summer. Make sure that encouraging your child to read is on your list of things to do over the break. One of the best ways that you can help your child in succeed school next year is to keep them reading over summer vacation.
Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer at Scholastic, explains that any activity that we participate in, such as playing a musical instruments or participating in sports, requires practice. If you stop practicing these activities, you will lose some of the skills that you have gained. If your child stops reading over the summer, the same thing will happen to the reading skills that they learned during the school year. “Taking a break from books is taking a break from education,” says Alexander.
Over the summer break, your child should read at least four books that are on her reading level and try to read 15-20 minutes each day. Over the summer break, be sure to approach summer reading as a fun opportunity and not as homework. To give your child a head start on the school year and encourage a lifelong love of reading, incorporate some of the following ideas into your routine this summer.
Participate in a Summer Reading Program
Many libraries and businesses offer incentives and programs for children to continue reading over the summer. In addition to getting kids excited about reading, attending these programs are a great opportunity to pick up new books for your child.
During this year’s 2010 Summer Reading Challenge at Scholastic.com/summerreading, your child can keep a book log to participate in the attempt to set a world record for reading. The Reading Challenge also offers games and fun activities to encourage your child to read over the summer. Barnes and Noble will give your child a free book for reading eight books over the summer. To track your child’s summer reading and see suggested books for your child’s age, go to www.barnesandnoble.com/summerreading.
Find Books that Meet Their Interest
One of the best ways to get your child to want to read over the summer is to find books that she enjoys. You can do this by finding an author, series or topic that they are interested in. Alexander suggests finding a series that excites your child. “When your child get’s hooked on a series, there is another book to read when they finish. The child gets to know the characters,” says Alexander.
When helping your child find books, don’t forget about nonfiction topics. Stacey Kannenberg’s eight year old daughter is interested in food, clay and arts and craft. When her daughter wanted an adult cookbook on cupcakes, Kanneberg’s first reaction was no because it was an adult book, but once she got the book home both her and her daughter spent hours enjoying the book.
Magazine subscriptions are also a great way to encourage reading because your child receives a new issue each month and you can get magazines on topics that interest your child, such as sports or science. If you child enjoys comics, encourage him to read comic books and find series that he enjoys.
Use Fun Incentives
Since many kids are motivated by using the computer, watching TV and playing video games, set up an incentive program where your child can earn extra screen time tickets through reading. For example, if your child reads for 30 minutes during the day, then they earn two tickets that they can exchange to watch an extra television program that night.
Alexander suggests another way to make reading positive is to let your child stay up 15 minutes later if they want to read in bed. You can even give your child a special flashlight or reading light for late night reading. Let your child know that if they choose not to read that their light will need to be off at their regular bedtime.
Use the Computer
According to the 2008 Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report, “Kids who go online to extend the reading experience – by going to book or author websites or connecting with other readers – are more likely to read books for fun every day.” Over the summer find ways to incorporate reading online into your child’s summer reading routine.
Encourage your child to read online about topics that they are interested in, such science topics, music stars or even TV shows. If you are going on vacation, have your child do some of the research for the area. “Kids are already attracted to the computer and this is a great way to get them to want to read,” says Alexander. “Reading online is another way to read.”
Over the summer, be sure to make time to read yourself and be sure that your child sees you enjoying books. Children who regularly watch their parents enjoying to read are more likely to view reading as a fun and pleasurable activity.
Jennifer Gregory is a freelance writer and mom of two kids. Her kids are eagerly awaiting participating in the local library reading program this summer.