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. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â Libraries offer fun incentives such as ice cream coupons, tickets to the circus, and more for time spent reading. Â 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. Â 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: Â When your children know there is a set time for reading built into the day, they are more likely to do it. Â Last summer, we all sat down at 1 pm to read when the little one was down for a nap. Â Even though I said we’d read for 20 minutes, we always read longer. Â 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. Â It was so fun to hear my kiddos reading to me! Â This year, they have both agreed that they want to read themselves and not be read to. Â 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. Â I have always felt that movies are never as good as the books. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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? Â Check out some books at the library and learn about it first. Â Plan on attending a few baseball games? Why not read some books that center around the sport. Â 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. Â A challenge always motivates my kids. We have a big poster than hangs in our kitchen and we list every book that we read. Â And though, we have come really close to 100, we have not been able to top it before we go back to school. Â 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. Â 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: