Read It Don’t Weep: How to Get Kids Excited About Books this Summer

Summer is a freeing time for most kids. You’re probably already sick of hearing “I’m bored” over and over. There’s plenty of time to run through the sprinklers, go camping, and stay up late playing board games. But if you’re a parent who wants your child to retain the reading skills that they’ve built throughout the school year, you need to figure out how to get them to continue reading throughout the summer, so here are a few tips that you can try with your child.

Go to Library Events

Your local public library likely puts on extra events during the summer to help kids stay engaged and entertained. Find activities that are related to reading or Storytime to help your child become more interested in reading. For instance, find out if there are any events that focus on a book that would be the appropriate reading level for your child. They might even have some high low book recommendations for your children. Going to the library and being surrounded by books is a great way to make reading fun. Especially if you yourself get books and share the joy of reading. Many libraries have books by interest so you can see what book serves as an anchor to your child’s unique needs. If your kid is obsessed with unicorns, fashion, or Pokemon, find books with those interests to reach a gap between their interests and reading. 

Set Up Reading Rewards

Does your child like to go to the public pool to swim? Have that activity be a reward for meeting a certain goal. Children and teenagers can also earn TV time or video game time that you might put a limit on. When you set up a reward system, have a notebook or poster where you track the amount of reading that your child does so that they can follow along with their progress. Many libraries have summer reward programs set up with local restaurants or businesses. If they won’t read for fun, maybe they’ll read for free pizza or ice cream vouchers. 

Read Books and Watch Movies

There are many wonderful children’s books that have been adapted to television series and movies. Have your child read a classic book, such as “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Then you can enjoy watching and comparing the book to the movie on demand together. The promise of watching the movie is also an extra incentive to read the book when you have the movie be extra television time on top of their normal allotment. TV and Film are not the enemy, they can be a tool to help nurture a love of reading. Having a movie party as a reward to reading a book can get the stubborn reader to push through the discomfort and associate reading with fun times. It can also help them see things they may have missed if they struggle reading. You can have fun spotting the differences in adaptations and discussing their reading material and bonding over favorites.  Watching movies with subtitles is a great way to sharpen their reading skills. The best part is once they get used to it they won’t even notice they’re reading as they watch. This is also a great way for them to hear and read new words while normalizing reading.

Illustrated books are your greatest tools to get younger kids interested in reading. Huge blocks of text can easily bore them, but colorful drawings make reading more fun and enjoyable. This illustrated and simplified Bible series makes it fun for kids to learn about stories and people from the Bible, Jesus Christ, and important Christian values. The books you choose are just as important as the methods you use to get your kids to love reading.

Create a Routine

If you want your child to read for half an hour every day, it will be much easier to track the time if it’s at the same time every day. Setting a routine is also a great way to ensure that the entire day or week passes without a missed reading time. You can have your child read in the morning while you’re making breakfast or at night just after dinner. The point is to keep it consistent so that your child knows what to expect every day.

You don’t want your child to forget the skills that they’re still working to learn. If anything, you want them to continue to progress so that they’re a step or two ahead of their classmates when the fall comes. Watching TV with closed captions can help them get used to spelling and reading. Remember, you want to have a variety of entertainment options to keep everyone sane.  Consider your child and their personality to determine which strategies will most motivate them to complete their summer reading schedule.

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