Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Helping Your Kids Continue to Grow as Readers over the Summer

The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge
When I was growing up, there was nothing more delicious than reading away a summer day (it's so much harder for me to do this nowadays; I always feel like I should be doing something else - cleaning, gardening, painting, etc.). While many lament the summer months as a time when children regress in their academic skills, I like to look at it as a time when we can foster in our kids an individual desire to do something for themselves, whether that be reading, exploring the natural world, honing one's skills in a particular sport, stargazing, writing, you name it (I also used to write a lot during the summer; I made up a newspaper and "reported" on the events going on around town;)).

Since I'm a reader myself, I've always made reading a big part of our summer vacation. I leave books lying around everywhere that I would like my kids to pick up. I find that if I tell my oldest she should read something, she won't read it. However, if I leave it lying out on the coffee table, she will pick it up and start reading it herself. I also sign them up for the Summer Reading camp at our local library, which is a great way to get kids excited about books - they often do crafts and activities related to the books, plus they take two wonderful field trips that are different every year (the cost of these trips is partially covered by the library as well; check this out in your area, as it may do the same:)!!).

This year, we are also going to do the online, free Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, which is called "Reading Under the Stars" and runs through September 4. The Summer Reading Challenge "is a free online program designed to motivate and excite your kids around reading books this summer. Kids can log the minutes they spend reading, earn virtual rewards and prizes, and enter sweepstakes, all in an effort to set a new reading world record for summer 2014!" You can sign your children up at the website linked above, which also features excellent resources for parents, videos about summer reading, a reading timer app, book recommendations, and more. The key, I think, is to make it fun. If you make it too much like school and are too school-marmish about it, your kids most likely won't want to do it. If it's more of a fun activity that kids can look forward to, they will be more willing to jump on the reading bandwagon.  

Let us know if you sign up and how your experience goes. Here's to many hours of happy reading (why not make it a family activity? When they read, you read too;)). A/J

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