The first thing is to let the kids help in the planning. Instead of giving a child a list of books to read, work together on some ideas. Working together will likely lead to cooperation and engagement through June, July and August.
Experts say kids are drawn to series books, biographies about celebrities and funny stories. As long as the books are within your child's reading level and they’re not just spending time trying to “find Waldo,” learning will become a fun bonus to reading. Remember to give your child a little space to explore different reading options.
Create a fun space in the house designed just for reading. You can pick a theme and decorate the area. Invite your children’s friends to come over and participate, just make sure everyone is reading during the designated time.
If you don’t have the books in your personal collection and you’re on a budget, shop around at yard sales, used book stores or online at Freecycle. Work with other parents and create your own trading system for books to keep everyone involved interested. Many communities have book sharing programs.
Reward kids for completing reading assignments. Use a 3x5 note card and have your child log the title of the book and how much they read each day. Encourage honesty, but don’t watch over them like a hawk (remember the goal is to make it fun.)
After reaching a previously set goal, provide some kind of reward or prize. Some inexpensive or free ideas include allowing them to get out of a household chore for a day, 30 minutes of extra time on electronics or a date night with mom and/or dad. Older kids might appreciate getting to sleep in a bit longer one morning, stay out later one night or get a free download from the iTunes store.
If you want to make summer reading more in-depth and test their knowledge of what they’re reading, create a fun trivia based on the book. But make sure you’ve read it too so you’re not missing the questions. Prizes can be awarded here as well.
Have an end-of-the summer party based on what your child read. For example, if Harry Potter was the favorite book chosen, create a Hogwarts setting and celebrate with other wizards and Muggles. There are plenty of theme ideas online.
Remember, it’s all for fun. You don’t want to create something that’s going to cause chaos around the house and more work for you. Kids do need a break, but it’s important to keep their skills sharp and avoid the summer slump when they’re not in school everyday.
For reading ideas check out our Pinterest Board and keep on the lookout for summer story hours on our website.
How do you keep your kids reading during the summer months?