During the school year, your children are probably prompted to read on a regular basis – whether they enjoy it or not. But now that it’s summertime, the urgency to finish a book has faded. Unfortunately, when children don’t continue to read or engage their brain during the summer, the beginning of the new school year can be difficult. So, what is a parent to do? Here are some ways to make reading fun this summer. Maybe you’ll even inspire them to put down their electronic devices.
Use Electronics for Good
While your child would probably rather watch YouTube or play Fortnite, prolonged exposure to electronic devices can be harmful to their mental and physical health. So, why not use their devices to encourage them to read. There is no end to the number of e-books on Amazon and other sites like it. Or you can invest in a monthly subscription to services like Epic, that has more than 35,000 books available in their digital library.
Even though it’s good to get your child reading on their own, sometimes children just want to be read to. Audio books would be a great solution for a child who needs a break from reading to themselves or for children who are too young to read. Most libraries have a selection of audio books you can checkout for free.
I was slow to jump on the podcast bandwagon, but I am now a believer. We tried them on a recent road trip and the kids loved it. We chose several podcasts that told children’s stories, and they couldn’t get enough. It kept them engaged and listening intently to a story, and kept them from getting bored and fighting with each other. And because most of these are short in length, you could even use them in the car when you’re heading to the store or when you’re trying to get everyone to settle down before bed.
This is a technique I’m trying this summer, and so far, it has worked very well. Before school was out, I went to a used bookstore and bought one book for each week of the summer. So, in total I bought ten books for each child. And because they were used, it cost me a fraction of the cost of buying them at a bookstore or online.
Each week, I wrap the “new” book and leave it on the kitchen table for the kids to open. They have a week to read that book so they can receive the next one. Once they finish reading the book, they fill out a book report worksheet. I’m hoping that writing down the details of each story will help them to recall the information when they take an AR (Accelerated Reader) test on each book when they return to school.
If you’re not inclined to buy 10 books per child, then you can try one of the other reading reward programs available in your area.
- Barnes and Noble – Children who read eight books and record the titles will receive a free book.
- H.E. Buddy Reading Program – Children who read 10 books and fill out the H.E. Buddy Summer Reading Club form will receive a free T-shirt.
- Chuck E. Cheese – Children who read every day for two weeks and fill out the Reading Rewards Calendar, can receive 10 free tokens. And this program lasts all year.
- Scholastic Reading Program – Kids who sign up for this reading program can track their reading minutes and earn rewards throughout the summer.
- Public Library – Many local libraries have their own summer reading programs that include story times, activities, special guests and rewards. And the best part about these programs is that they are typically free.
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Jessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Hooray for Family and the mom of three energetic children. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a long-time resident of Central Texas. When she isn't writing and editing, she enjoys playing board games with her kids, teaching Sunday school and channeling her creativity into craft projects.