Your child has a three-month break from school, and you’re afraid his brain is going to melt away in the hot summer months of nothing but playing, playing, playing. Don’t worry; he’ll probably be fine, and he does deserve to be a kid. But the best way to get him to exercise his brain during those summer months is by reading. Believe it or not, most kids absolutely love to read, but not all of them know it. If your child is resistant to the idea of reading anything that’s not a school requirement, here are some ways you can help encourage him.
Join a Summer Program
Check your local library to see if they have a summer reading program for your child’s age group. He may also be able to attend book readings, and sometimes there are crafts, other activities, and lots of new friends to meet as well. You may find summer reading programs at other places, such as your bank, which may offer cash in a savings account for reading books.
Get the Right Books
The best way to get your child excited about reading is by finding him something he really wants to read about. If he has a particular interest, like dinosaurs, take him to the library or bookstore and help him pick out a book that appeals to him. Check out Scholastic.com/thestacks for great book suggestions for all ages and of all genres. Allow your child to pick the books out, with your guidance or suggestions if needed. He’ll be more likely to read if it’s something he’s chosen.
Use the Movies
Lots of children’s movies are based on books. If your child is interested in a new movie this summer, get him the book version to read, too. If he has a favorite movie that wasn’t based on a book, find out if any have been written since its release. Sometimes books about favorite characters or superheroes will do the trick. This can work for his favorite TV shows, or even video games, too.
Make the Time
Make sure your child has plenty of time to read during the summer. On a daily basis, set aside some time that’s dedicated to reading. Allow him some time to check out books on his own, even if he’s just looking at pictures, and also spend some time reading to him. Reading a book every night is a great habit. You can even read content-appropriate novels, a few pages at a time. Soon hearing the next part of the story will be one of his favorite parts of the day.
Don’t pressure your child to read. If you push too hard, it will only repel him. Reading should be fun; if it’s not, why would he do it? Continue encouraging him and being supportive. Bring books along wherever you go, and maybe one day he’ll find there’s nothing better to do on that long car ride. Once he starts, he may never stop.
Alexandra Kelly is an English teacher and mother who knows the importance of children actively reading. Alexandra is currently working on accent reduction with her children by reading foreign language books.
Photo Credit: Maulleigh