The beautiful weather this past weekend has inspired me to not only do some spring cleaning, but also to start thinking about summer.
If you are a parent with a school-age child, you know that summer is a welcome relief from classrooms and homework for your child. But it can also be a time of hard-won skills slipping away—especially reading skills. Trying to keep those skills sharp is very important for your child’s success in school, but it doesn’t have to be torture.
So how can you motivate your child to read during the summer?
First, help your child make time to read. I know kids get busy with sports and camp and all but plan a reading time. Your child can read independently, or you can share in the reading experience by either listening to your child read aloud, or by reading to your child. I’m a big believer in continuing to read aloud to children, no matter how old they get. My daughter and I read aloud to each other through high school. We went through lots of classics that way, books that I knew she would enjoy, but that she never would have picked up on her own. It’s also a great way to open a dialogue with your child on the “tough” topics. Reading about a fictional character having difficulty with bullies, or drugs, can lead to some solid conversations at a safe time rather than at a crisis moment when emotions can run too high for real conversations to take place.
Surround your child with reading materials – make access to books, magazines and newspapers easy. Your local library branch can help with that. Also, become aware of your child’s interests, and search out books that will inform and support. Always encourage children to select their own books, and respect their choices. Is the book too hard for your fourth-grader to read? Read with them. Get the whole family involved and listening. Young children can listen to books on a higher reading level with ease, so don’t be afraid to select an “older” book.
A great resource to help you select the perfect book is NoveList for K-8, which can be found through the library’s web page under Services. Go to http://www.pocahontaslibrary.org, select the tab “Services” at the top of the page, and then click on “Databases.” This will take you to West Virginia Info Depot, a state database with lots of great information. You’ll see a link for NoveList for K-8 (and also NoveList for adult titles) and you can then search by author, subject matter, or look for “read-alikes” which are those great lists based on authors you already love.
Try to implement a few of these tips, and keep watching Library Lines for news of summer reading activities to be held at the libraries.
Believe me, summer break will be here before you know it, and it never hurts to have a few plans and strategies in place when the inevitable “I’m bored!” echoes through your house.