It’s the end of the school year, and summer dreams fill the air. In less than a month, kids everywhere will be running free as they leave the classroom, teachers, and homework behind for a few glorious months.
Unfortunately, the end of school often means the end of reading. Kids who aren’t avid readers may not touch a book all summer, and this could be a big problem. The National Education Association (NEA) tells us that "children, especially those from low-income families, can lose up to three months of reading progress over the summer months, and that loss has a cumulative, long-term effect."
So how can we keep kids engaged in reading, while not making it seem like a chore?
Here are a few tips!
Let kids pick their own books - They’ve probably been reading assigned books all year long. Summer is the time to explore the things that they’re interested in. Studies show that children who choose their own books are more likely to become lifelong readers. It’s okay if kids don’t choose the classics. Even an adaptation of a popular movie, for example, still counts!
Schedule reading time - If you do something regularly, it becomes a habit. Reading is no different. My kids read before bedtime. They shower, brush their teeth, read, and then get tucked in. They’ve been doing this pretty much since birth, so it’s as much a part of their routine as getting their pj’s on. You can establish this routine during the summer months, when kids generally have more free time, and it may even last the entire school year!
Explore summer reading programs at your local library - Many libraries have summer reading programs and challenges. Kids log their reading time, and in return, the libraries may offer incentives and prizes. Contact your local library to see if they have a program near you.
Audiobooks - Planning a road trip this summer? Long car rides are the perfect excuse for audiobooks. You can often get books on CD at your local library, or use an app such as Audible, which allows you to play books through your phone or tablet.
Read the same book as your child - I started doing this when my kids began reading on their own, and it’s so much fun! Not only are middle grade and young adult books full of awesomeness, but the opportunity to talk with your kids about them create bonding moments that will last a lifetime.
Read non-fiction books, too - Is your kid fascinated by poop? There’s a book for that! Does your child adore swamp animals? There’s a book for that! Don’t limit summer reading to fiction. There are so many fascinating non-fiction books out there. You are sure to find one that interests your child.
I wish you a summer filled with relaxation, recreation, and reading!