Heather here from FamilyVolley.com and today I have tips for helping your kids stay excited about reading this summer and for raising a reader.
In no particular order, the following will keep reading fun, while also helping your children develop a love for reading this summer, and always.
1. Find a character or subject that your child loves and “read all about it.”
If your child is excited about tow trucks, let them read about them. If they love cereal, let them read all the backs of your cereal boxes. Don’t worry as much about what it is, get them reading what interests them. Our 7 year old is on a Shopkins Kick. They are little collectable toys that she loves. So right now her reading consists of lots of books on Shopkins. Are they classics? NO! And that is okay. She is excited to read each day, that is what matters.
2. Learn a new word.
If your child is small, teach them a single word like “up” and then as you read, have them read that word out loud each time they see it in the book.
3. Talk your way through books.
When our kids watch TV and have questions, the response is always “shhhhh.” Not with books. Where a child asks a question about what you or they are reading, STOP, answer the question and talk about it. Better yet, don’t wait for a question from your child. Ask them questions…”how do you think they felt”?….”what do you think that means”? “… why do you think she would do that..would you like to do that”?… “what would you do”?… Asking and answering questions not only helps with reading, but with reading comprehension, imagination and creativity. As well as strengthening vocabulary skills.
4. Play the “what happens next” game.
As you read, have your child guess what they think is going to happen next.
5. Always be positive.
This can be a hard one. I remember when our oldest child was learning to read, I had to be REALLY careful not to get frustrated when he wouldn’t concentrate, got distracted, wouldn’t give it his best. I naturally wanted to force him and could feel myself getting discouraged when after 40 minutes there was no improvement in his reading. I have since done much better with our other children and stay positive and less critical. Poor kid, being the oldest is tough! It is our job as parents, to be encouraging and supportive, not critical and frustrated. Otherwise, our kids won’t ever want to read.
6. Read to the family pet!
What does that say? Yep, have your kids read to the dog or the cat or the bird or the hamster. Pets don’t judge when we read the words wrong or make mistakes and they provide companionship so our kids don’t feel all alone as they read. It really makes it fun and Works! Give it a try. Plus when you tell your kids to go read to the dog, they will think it is hilarious.
7. Make reading time family time.
If you are asking your kids to read at certain times each day, or for a certain amount of time each day, read with them. Show them by example that reading is good for everyone, including you! Set aside a time where everyone sits down, lays outside on the grass, climbs in the fort together, and reads. It is the same way with cleaning and many other tasks, when we send our kids away to do them “alone” they struggle. They don’t like to be by themselves. It can be the same with reading. It isn’t that they don’t want to read, they just don’t want to be alone. So join them!
8. Destination read.
This works in two ways. One, pack up your books and go somewhere to read them. We like to take a fun hike and then once we reach our destination, we hang out for a while and read. Our children’s favorite is when we take books to the play ground and they all get in different tube slides and read. They love it! The second part of destination reading is to actually read books that talk about different places and then GO visit those places. A book that mentions a beach, then take a trip to the beach. A mystery that talks about a police station, visit a local station. You get the picture. Make tie-in’s to real life and reading will come to life.
9. Encourage your child to read everything.
Reading is more than just books. Encourage your child to read road signs, give them a map, recipes, packages, instructions, anything!
10. Make reading a celebration!
There are so many fun incentive programs you can print off on line or get from your local library to celebrate reading progress this summer. One of our kids favorites is to make a caterpillar. Each time they read 10 pages in any book they get a circle, which represents part of the caterpillar body. We put all the body pieces up around our kitchen and watch the little creature grow all summer. The goal is always to create a longer caterpillar than last year. They are excited this year because they have another sibling who is now of reading age and can contribute. If you want to do incentives, work to keep them family focused, things you can do together or experiences you can have, opposed to candy or toys.
Over all, make reading fun. Make reading exciting. Make reading a good experience and not only will it help the summer slump that can happen to our kids when they are not in school, it will help you raise a reader for life.
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