Reading may not always be top-of-mind in the summer, but it’s important to keep it as part of your child’s routine. This way they won’t forget the letters or sounds that they’ve learned, can continue developing their vocabulary and reading comprehension, and maintain the habit of making reading a part of their everyday life.
On top of the academic benefits, reading during the summer is a great way to keep your child engaged in positive activities.
Here are some tips for making reading fun this summer:
1 – Go to the library or bookstore and let your child pick his or her own books. A child will be more interested in books he or she picks themselves than in books you pick for them.
2 – Read with your child. Even if your child isn’t naturally drawn to reading, he or she will love the opportunity to connect with you. Make it fun by using voices, asking questions about the pictures, asking your child to make predictions, etc.
3 – Make a pillow and blanket fort to read together in. You child will be excited about building the fort with you, and will enjoy a change of scene for reading. If your child has an older sibling that will read alongside them in the fort, then great! If not, get down on those knees and crawl in with your child. Making it a fun togetherness activity can help encourage your child to take the time to sit down and read.
4 – Have a home-based read-a-thon (remember those?). Stock up on special treats, gather up blankets and pillows, and find a comfy spot to read and snack together for an hour or two.
5 – Find a shady spot outside to read together. If your child gets distracted, don’t worry. It’s just as important for them to see you read as it is for them to read on their own.
6 – Use puppets to help tell the story. Some children have trouble concentrating on books or get distracted easily. Break the routine and add in some fun by using a puppet to help tell the story.
7 – Encourage your child to read to a family pet or stuffed animal. Children love an opportunity to show off their reading skills. Even if they’re still in the beginning reading stages, encourage them to read one of their simple alphabet books to a stuffed animal or family pet. Make it a fun and silly challenge–something like “Guess what your Minnie Mouse doll just told me? She doesn’t believe you can read a whole book all by yourself! I told her she’s toooootally wrong and that you CAN read books, but she thinks you’re too little! What do you think? Want to show her how you can read?”
8 – Find a book with words from a popular children’s song. Let your child follow along as you sing together. Even though your child will be reciting the words by memory, this can help with word recognition. It’s also a fun change of pace for your child.
9 – Write your own book together. Brainstorm a story–maybe a story about your week or family vacation. Help your child write the words, and let him or her illustrate.
10 – Read a chapter book as a family. Make it a nightly routine to read a chapter or two of a family-friendly book together.
11 – Pick out a children’s magazine. National Geographic has a fun kids magazine that has interesting facts about science, animals, and nature. Time magazine also has a fun kids magazine. Most of these can be found at Barnes and Nobel and can be a fun new reading opportunity for your child, even if he or she only looks at the pictures.
12 – Read to visiting family. Are you visiting grandparents this summer or do you have friends staying with you from out of state? Let your child show off by reading a book or two to your visitors. IT gives them a good chance to practice and helps build their confidence.
13 – Ask a relative (or friend) to be a summer pen pal. Help your child write a letters to a family member to help practice their handwriting and spelling. When a letter comes back, help your child sound out the words!
14 – Make reading a morning routine. Do your kids get up with the sun (way too early) on summer mornings? Make a routine of reading a few books in bed together or, if you’re lucky, encourage your child to read a few books in bed themselves before getting up for the day. This can give you a few extra minutes of rest and is a great way to add reading to the day.