While allowing your child to skip the weeks of summer may seem harmless, it can have harmful repercussions and lead to what is known as “The Summer Slide”. According to this study found on Marin County Free Library's Blog, if they do not read consistently, children can regress as much as 2-3 months over the summer. The good news is, it doesn’t take much to beat the slide! Research shows that as little as 20 minutes of reading each day is enough to keep children at a consistent reading level.
So how do you get your reluctant reader to jump for joy at the thought of reading? We’re glad you asked. Here are 10 simple strategies to keep kids reading all summer long (even the reluctant ones)!
1. Create a Reading Nook
In fact, many children would be perfectly happy with a blanket thrown over a table and a couple of cozy pillows to lay back on! Find a place that is quiet and separate from too much noise and activity and then choose some cozy touches with your child to make it just right! Jill, from Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons, offers a few cute and simple reading nook ideas for every budget.
2. Write Letters
Who doesn’t love to get mail? Make reading more exciting by tying it to something in the real world like a pen pal! Connect your child with a buddy, cousin, or even overseas pen pal and encourage them to write each week. Kid World Citizen offers some fantastic pen pal suggestions such as writing to an active member of the military or to a child living in another country. It’s a great way to practice writing and reading, as well as conversation skills, geography, and possibly even learn another language!
3. Give Choice
This tip is simple, but effective. Sometimes a little autonomy goes a long way. Next library visit, give your child the opportunity to choose 3 or 4 books off the shelf. If the options are overwhelming, try one of these fun library book challenges from Growing Book By Book.
4. Create a Book Club
Get together with some local families and make a book club. Have the kids help come up with discussion questions to ask other book club members or dream up some fun crafts or activities that go along with the book. Not only does this build reading accountability, it brings a fun, communal element to an activity that, to struggling readers, sometimes feels isolating.
5. Make a Silly Game
Reading books is fun, but reading isn’t limited to books and poems. Every day we read signs, products, directions, and so much more. Take reading beyond the book by having your child write directions for a new silly game. He or she will then read them to the rest of the family, who has to do whatever the directions say!
6. Subscribe to Magazine
As stated before, getting mail can be exciting! Choose a magazine to subscribe to over the summer that focuses on something of special interest to your child. Not only will they love finding something with their name on it in the mailbox, they will have brand new reading material made specially for them each month.
7. Get the Scoop
Hard-copy newspapers are getting scarcer by the day, but they do still exist! Find some fun articles in your local paper for the kids to check out or see if your library has a newsletter. Talk about what is happening in your neighborhood and how we read to be informed as well as to be entertained. You could even have the kids write their own newspaper article in response! For the child who struggles to get into reading, getting the chance to read something as grown-up as a newspaper might be just the thing he or she needs to view reading in a new light.
8. Mix it Up
Like we said earlier, reading is a part of everyday life from cleaning to cooking, so why not try reading recipes! There are millions of cook books made just for kids that introduce new words and phrases into your child’s vocabulary--not to mention the math, science, and life skills they will be learning along the way. Pick a fun, new dish to serve to the family each week!
9. Write Your Own Story
10. Go for the Gold
Who doesn’t love a good sticker chart? Set a reading goal, such as 100 books over the summer and for each book read, add a sticker! Together with your children, decide on a fun activity, food, or game that would be a good prize. If the chart is filled up by the end of the summer, everyone gets the prize! To keep kids motivated, add smaller milestones along the way. For example, a round of ice cream after the first 20 books, or a new pack of extra special stickers after reaching the halfway point (you’d be surprised at how motivated kids get when it comes to special stickers!). If your kids are competition fiends, make it into a contest to see who can read the most books by the end of the summer. If your kids are still new to reading, make it a team effort and show what can be accomplished when everyone works together. Michael from The Thinker Builder offers some cute alternative reading-tracking methods if you like to think outside the box!
Let us know if you try out any of these strategies and if you have any ideas we missed, leave them in the comments!
Looking for some great reads to kick off the summer? These first two picture books in L.A. Kefalos's Blob Trilogy are just the tools needed to prepare children for the social and emotional issues they will encounter once school is back in session. Complete with accompanying discussion questions, lesson plans, and fun crafts, all you have to do is read!
About Laughing Leopard Press
Hello! We are Laughing Leopard Press, an independent book publisher from Akron, Ohio. At Laughing Leopard Press, we’re interested in publishing works that contribute to our understanding of this wonderful world. Through this blog, we hope to add to that understanding with commentary on life, literature, and a few things in between. We hope you enjoy the blog and take some time to talk with us in the comments or on our social media sites. Happy reading!
This is A. Blob by L. A Kefalos. $14.95
$1.00 is donated to charity for each book sold on this site--half to St. Jude's and the other half to PetFix Northeast Ohio.