Tips to keep kids reading over the summer

May 13, 2016

With warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours, kids are starting to get antsy for their favorite time of year: summer vacation. You probably remember the excitement like it was yesterday. Counting down with the clock and rushing the door when the bell rang. Freedom! It's a great time to kick back and relax - but it could also be a time for kids to fall behind if you don't keep them reading. Intellects refer to this period as the "summer slide," the time over the summer where kids suffer serious learning loss, explained U.S. News and World Report. In one example of the summer slide, about two-thirds of the 9th grade's skill gap is a result of inactive brains over the summer.

Need some ideas to make reading more exciting this summer? Check out these eight clever tips and tricks to help your child avoid the summer slide:

1. Devise a summer activity list.
Have your kids sit down and list out all the fun things they want to do this summer. Once they've finished the list, you can go through and assign book values to each activity. Do they want to go to the beach? They have to finish 20 pages first. Or a trip to the amusement park could be valued at two books - whatever you think is best goes.

2. Have your child help plan a vacation.
Great Kids magazine suggested that you have your kids get involved with your vacation planning as well. Don't take any reading for granted. Reading is reading, even if it's an informational brochure. Have your child research places to go and activities to do while you're there. When they start learning about the culture or events, they'll have something to look forward to and can even act as a little tour guide on your vacation. Plus, if you're going somewhere exotic, they'll probably come across challenging vocabulary that will encourage them to read even more to learn about that word,

"A book club will make reading feel less like a chore and more like fun."

3.Start a book club.
Kids love being in a club, so why not organize a book club for all the neighborhood kids? Giving the kids a sense of unity about reading will make them more likely to get involved in the book - if they don't, they'll feel left out when all the kids are talking about the story. Great Kids also noted that your local library probably offers summer reading programs that you can use to help you devise the reading schedule for the club.

Just make sure all the kids in the club are on the same reading level. You can break the club into different tiers based on the ages and skill sets of the kids in your neighborhood.

Pro tip: A lot of schools require a summer reading list, so it'll be beneficial for you to assess that and help kids work through it. A book list from school can feel a lot like homework, and kids don't want to even think about school over the summer, so a book club will make reading feel less like a chore and more like fun.

4. Create a play from books.
Kids have wild imaginations, so a play is a great way for them to channel their creativity. At the end of the summer, and after the neighborhood has had their book club, the kids can then devise a play based on their favorite book. Who knows - it could turn into a fun summer tradition for the whole neighborhood! 

There are tons of ways to help keep kids reading this summer.There are tons of ways to help keep kids reading this summer.

5. Entice with Hollywood.
These days, tons of movies are based on books, so if there is a new film debuting this summer and your child wants to see it, use this as your opportunity to get them reading. Great Schools explained that you could do the same for movies that have already been released. You may have seen "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" before, but the film is likely new to your child. Introduce them to the wonderful world of Roald Dahl before you pop in the DVD. Books are always better than the movies anyway, right?

6. Get involved yourself.
If your child is a reluctant reader, you might want to spend some time reading out loud with them, explained Parenting magazine. Assign characters that you have to make up voices for and take turns reading so everyone gets involved.

7. Use audiobooks.
If you can't read with your child as often as you'd like, audiobooks are a great way to get them reading and help them hear words that might challenge them otherwise. Plus, you can turn an audiobook on in places where it might be challenging for you to read to them anyway like in a long car or plane ride.

8. Get them a library card and wallet.
Kids love to play dress-up and mimic their parents, but they'll feel super adult if they get their very own library card with their own name on it that they get to whip out of their very own wallet. Parenting explained that this card gives them unlimited access to all the books they desire. They might even want to read more since it will give them the opportunity to use their grown-up card!

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