The summer months offer a great opportunity to show your child how fun and engaging reading can be. Looking to strengthen your child’s reading skills while simultaneously getting him excited about reading? Here are five ways to do just that:
1. Participate in a summer reading challenge.
Summer reading programs provide your child with a chance to set summer reading goals. Local libraries and organizations often offer summer reading challenges according to age group. Generally, these programs consist of your child logging the number of books she reads over an allotted time period. She may then receive prizes or incentives depending on the number logged and her goal. Summer reading programs are a great way to get her motivated and excited about reading and also teach her how to set and achieve goals.
2. Encourage library time this summer.
The library is a great place to encourage summer reading because it offers a plethora of opportunities to make reading fun. Libraries typically have some type of reading corner or space set up for kids. Take your child to the library for an afternoon or evening once a week and let him explore, sit down to read books, and check out what he may want to read in the coming week. This is a great way for him to explore various book genres and to have a sense of pride in having his own library card. Libraries also offer resources, such as librarians and story times, that can teach him even more about the joys of reading and how the library works.
3. Create a book mystery box.
At the beginning of the summer, visit a local bookstore and purchase a variety of books geared toward your child’s interests and reading level. Add these books to a mystery box for her to select from on a weekly or biweekly basis. This can be a great way to get her excited about reading because it gives her something to look forward to once she finishes the book she is currently reading. You can even take it a step further and incentivize chores and good behavior with a new book she can pick from the mystery box.
4. Take summer reading to the streets.
Remember that all reading counts, so encourage your child to practice his reading skills everywhere he goes. He can read billboards, street signs, shop names, and age-appropriate magazines. This can help younger children understand that reading is a part of every aspect of life, and it can act as a way to keep him engaged during outings. You can create challenges that encourage him to read a certain number of words—and to understand their meanings—while you’re out each day. This number can reflect the length of your outing and can be a fun way to get him excited about going out. Additionally, you can incorporate this challenge into family vacations. When traveling to new destinations, he may encounter words he is somewhat unfamiliar with and can, therefore, work to expand his vocabulary.
5. Make summer reading a social experience.
Encouraging conversations about reading is essential to summer reading success. After your child finishes a book, have a discussion with her about it (better yet, read the same book she is). Ask questions about how she liked the story, what characteristics the various characters possessed, and if there were any words or aspects of the story she struggled with. This will encourage her to be open about her reading habits and what she is enjoying about these books. It can also help gauge how her reading is progressing and what style of book she prefers.
Additionally, reach out to other parents, either in your child’s class or in the neighborhood, to see if they would be interested in starting a summer reading group or book club. This will show your student what others are reading this summer and encourage her to openly discuss books and stories with others. Libraries or local independent bookstores may offer book clubs for various age groups, so do some research to see what programs may be available for your child to make the most of summer reading.
Caitlin Grove is an Associate Content Coordinator for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.