During my years as a public schoolteacher, there were two questions that parents repeatedly asked. Well, there were lots, but I’m just going to address two of the most common.
“What can we work on during summer break?”
“How do I get my child interested in reading?”
I can sum up the answer to both of these questions with one simple word — READ! That’s it! Just read! The most important thing your child can work on during the summer months is their reading fluency and comprehension. And piquing their interest in books begins with simply having them read.
Let’s expound upon this a bit more. Reading is not only enjoyable, but it’s also a vital academic and life skill. A child’s ability or inability to read affects so many areas of their life. A non-fluent reader will struggle with history because they can’t read the book. They’ll balk at solving a word problem in math because they don’t understand the question. They can’t memorize their part for that play because they’re having a hard time fluently reading the script. Do you see what I mean?
There are some kids who would rather read a book or visit the library than go to the pool. That was me! That isn’t always the case though. The pool is a fantastic destination during these hot summer months, but the world books can take you to some super cool destinations too! Making reading a priority can help prevent “summer slide.” And I’m not talking about the water slide at Dollywood. I’m referring to a child’s academic regression during the months when they are out of school.
Maybe you are one of the parents who finds yourself asking, “What can I do to help my child academically this summer?” or “How do I foster a love for reading in my child?” Here are 12 easy tips that will help you and your child begin an amazing reading adventure this summer no matter what their current reading level is!
12 Tips for Encouraging Your Child to Read This Summer
- Involve your child in a few Summer Reading Programs. (This list of programs is from last year, but most of them are ongoing and also apply to this summer.)
- Get your child excited about books by visiting your local library. Kids love having their own library card and using it to check out books. Knoxville’s libraries also have some exciting events scheduled this summer.
- Readability is crucial. Make sure your child is selecting books that are challenging enough to keep their interest but still readable. I like to use the Five Finger Rule. Have your child read the first page of a book they are considering. They can use their fingers to count any unfamiliar words they encounter on that page. If they get past five unfamiliar words, they probably need to select a more appropriate book for their reading level. The goal is to not have frustrated readers. If there is a book that is too hard for them to conquer alone, that doesn’t mean they can’t still have exposure to the text. Just read it with them. Children of all ages can benefit from having books read to them.
- Visit the bookstore! Let your child pick out a brand new book to read. This could also be used as an incentive after they accomplish a reading goal that you’ve set for them.
- Use sticker charts! It’s such a simple idea — marking progress towards a goal with stickers on a page — but it gets great results.
- Use movies as an incentive. “Read they book, and we’ll have a pizza party and watch the movie!” If your child loves movies, this will certainly get them excited about reading the book. There are numerous children’s classics that have been turned into movies.
- Prepare crafts and snacks themed after the book your child is reading. It will not only encourage them to read, but it will bring the book to life!
- “My child hates to read!” I cannot even begin to count the number of times I heard this from parents when I taught. Find books that suit their interests. You’ll quickly discover that they don’t hate to read. They just haven’t been introduced to the right books for them.
- Set the example. Let your children see you read. Show them how important and enjoyable reading is to you. Spend some quality time reading books together.
- It’s no secret that kids love technology. Computer games, tablets, and video games are huge interests for children. Combine that interest with reading by finding apps and e-books for them to delve into.
- Provide time for reading. Carve out quiet times each day for your child to read.
- Having a consistent reading time is important, but providing materials for your child to read is equally important. Have quality books and reading materials readily available in your home.
I hope implementing these simple tips helps your child soar to new heights on their reading journey! Choose a few to try or all of them. The main thing is to make reading a priority this summer!
Happy reading! Do you have any tips you’d add to this list? Share with us by leaving a comment!