I am a big proponent of Summer Break and during the summer, my kids play hard. We visit historical sights, do things active outdoors, and spend lots of time with our friends. We mean BREAK in our house.
But there is one thing my kids know that I am a stickler about during the Summer – READING!
Luckily, everyone in my family loves to read (even Dad), so it really isn’t that difficult to get them to pick up a book. However, as the years have passed, I have noticed my 9 year old would rather grab a Wii remote over a book, so we employ various tactics to keep them reading all summer long.
1. Sign up for local summer book clubs: Most public libraries have fantastic summer reading programs. If you don’t have library cards, make that a priority to do this summer! My kids were so excited to get their own cards and have the responsibility of checking out books. Libraries offer fun incentives such as ice cream coupons, tickets to the circus, and more for time spent reading. Many books stores such as Barnes & Noble and Half-Price Books offer Reading programs where kids can earn free books or a store gift certificate. Additionally, there are some fun reading programs online, such as this one from Scholastic.
2. Have an established reading time every day and try to stick to it: When your children know there is a set time for reading built into the day, they are more likely to do it. Last summer, we all sat down at 1 pm to read when the little one was down for a nap. Even though I said we’d read for 20 minutes, we always read longer. And I loved it too – I got so many books read last summer, it was great!
3. Read some of the same books – out loud or individually – and discuss: When they were younger, we would decide upon a few books we wanted to read together over the summer and we’d read them out loud, taking turns reading. It was so fun to hear my kiddos reading to me! This year, they have both agreed that they want to read themselves and not be read to. We are going to pick some fun books from a suggested reading list and I am going to read them to, so we can all discuss them!
4. Read a book and THEN watch the movie: When my kiddos find a movie they know is coming out or is available to rent that has been adapted from a book, I challenge them to read the story first. I have always felt that movies are never as good as the books. And as fun as it is to see the book “come alive” on the big screen, I have loved the conversations that followed us reading & watching Mr. Poppers’ Penguins, The Indian in the Cupboard, and The Lighting Thief last summer!!
5. Read on the Road Trip: We always pick a book to read out loud on the road trip and everyone in the family participates – we got through 2 Harry Potter books this way last summer. Reading seems to make the miles fly by!
6. Host a Book Swap: Set up a book swap with your kids’ friends, your neighborhood, or your school. Let kids pick new books to read this summer for every book they bring to swap.
7. Combine activities with books: Heading to a historical site? Check out some books at the library and learn about it first. Plan on attending a few baseball games? Why not read some books that center around the sport. Think of different ways to incorporate reading into the other activities you are doing this summer.
8. Set a Goal for Reading for the summer – and have a reward: For the past 2 summers, we have set a goal to read 100 books together as a family. A challenge always motivates my kids. We have a big poster than hangs in our kitchen and we list every book that we read. And though, we have come really close to 100, we have not been able to top it before we go back to school. We always seem to make it before the first day of fall though!! Regardless, we celebrate our summer of reading with a family visit to the local yogurt shop!
Lastly, allow your kids to pick what they want to read. Don’t force them to read any books they don’t want to – let them dictate their reading.
What fun ideas to you use to get your kids excited about reading?
Here are a few posts on summer reading fun from the Quirky Mommas: