I don’t know what’s going on in your neck of the woods, but it’s officially summer here. Not by the calendar, maybe, but since our homeschool year ended several weeks ago and the public school year ends today, summer is on in southern Indiana.
Summer is such a good time for littles. They get a break from all that learning (unless you’re like me and find teachable moments in even the most unlikely situations), and they have the opportunity to do whatever they want with their days.
It’s heady stuff. The problem for us parents is that it can mean a distinct lack of interest in reading as other activities become open to our kids. So how do you keep them reading all summer?
There are ways it can be done. If you find that your school-year bookworms are more interested in video games, swimming pools, and catching up on their favorite television shows, follow these tips to make sure they pick up a few books over the summer.
Start a book club
If you’re not sure how to do this, I give you full instructions in How to Start a Book Club for Kids. A summer book club with friends and family can give them a reason to actually look forward to completing a chapter. Plus, it provides the opportunity to hang out with other kids and discuss what they’ve read. Just like a book club can give us mamas a reason to get together, share a glass of wine and a laugh, and dive deeper into what we’re reading, kids will enjoy the excuse to meet for snacks and conversation once a week or so. If you choose one of the books I’ve done in an Activities for Learning, you can turn the activities suggestions into discussion questions very easily. You know, in case they don’t know what to talk about.
Sign up for activities at your local library
Libraries always run summer reading programs. Story times for littles, book clubs for teens, and rewards for reading are usually part of that. Getting your kids involved in your library’s summer programs guarantees they’ll be reading all summer. Plus, it’s the library, so… fun!
Plan some summer read alouds
We always read at least one book together during the summer. This year, our first pick is All Quiet on the Western Front because we studied World War I at the end of the school year. I love picking books that go with our curriculum because a little fiction always helps them remember what they’ve learned, but I’ve had summers when I just picked a book because I thought they would enjoy it. Western Front is a short book, so we might also squeeze in Ruby Holler since we didn’t have time for it during the school year.
Like always, we read a chapter together a day. During the summer, we usually do that at breakfast, but you can pick whatever time is good for you. I mean, it’s summer!
Have reading competitions
Set up a list of books for each of your children and a reward system. Then tell them that there will be a grand prize winner at the end of the summer for the child who reads the most from her list. Pick an appropriate prize, like a day alone with mom or dad, getting to choose a movie to see or an exhibit to visit, or even a small cash prize or an Amazon card. Nothing like a little sibling rivalry to spark competition.
Only have one kiddo? Tell him the number of books he has to read to get the prize. Let him compete with himself.
Invoke a quiet time
If you haven’t read about my Quiet Time Basket, go check that out. I’ll wait.
Setting out a basket of books and a time for them to dig into it every day means they will have a daily reading time. Quiet time can be as short as 15 minutes or as long as you wish, but the rules are that no one talks until the time goes off and everyone has to pick something from the basket. Once the time is up, let everyone discuss what they’ve read. That makes it fun. Kids love to share their thoughts.
Let them see you reading
Perhaps the most important thing you can do in creating lifelong readers is to let them see you reading a book. Every day. Kids love to mimic the adults in their lives, so if they see that reading is fun for you, they will believe it is fun for them. Especially during the summer, when so many other things distract them from books.
See? That’s not so hard. You can keep your kids reading all summer with just one of these tips. But if you really want a fun and bonding summer with your littles, I suggest reading aloud together and picking one other idea to get them reading on their own. Because reading aloud is the best. Kids of all ages enjoy being read to.
Trust me. I’m a librarian.
Looking for more reading tips? Check out: