While we have hit the month of August, there are still five weeks left of summer to go and PLENTY of time for your child to READ! For some children, reading is a part of their daily routine because they love reading. For others, reading is not a preferred past time and they might require some encouragement or even an incentive or two. This blog post is for that later group in order to help you keep your children reading over the summer.
Do you need help figuring out how to keep your children reading over the summer?
- Set a goal.
My dad always told me that it’s important to set goals, write them down and stick to them. Set a realistic goal with your child on how many books they will read this summer. If you frame it as a “summer reading challenge” your children may find the motivation to achieve their goal. Check out these reading challenges on pinterest.
- Make time.
Carve out a bit of time in each day to read quietly. After a full day of play, a little downtime will help your child re-focus. Consistency is key, so try to stick to the same time each day. Start with 20 minutes a day and see if you can stretch it out to 30 or 40 minutes, over the span of the summer. Like meditation, it’s hard at first but it becomes a necessary respite once you can embrace it.
- Set a good example.
Your children often imitate your behaviours. Set an example by picking up a book of your own. As a teacher, I often noticed that if I was reading a particular book in
class, my students would be 10 times more likely to pick that same book up and read it on their own.
- Record your child’s progress.
Set up a chart to record all of the books that your child has read. Stickers are a super easy incentive. It seems like a silly step, but my students loved it and would often admire their accomplishments. If you have more than one child, there could be a bit of healthy competition.
- Books before movies.
There are a few classics being re-released as major motion pictures. Challenge your child to read the book and then watch the movie as the reward. Afterwards, you can
discuss what they liked more about the book or vice versa. Comparing and contrasting the book and the movie will develop fundamental reading comprehension skills. A good one to start with is the BFG by Roald Dahl. Kipling’s The Jungle Book is another great one.
- Read aloud.
If your child is stuck, a great way to help them along is to read the beginning of the book aloud. This will get them hooked. It’s also a nice way to bond with your child. It also opens up channels for discussion. Ask your child if he or she empathizes with the main character. Is there something they would have done differently? This is a good jumping point for a great chat.
- Watch book trailers.
There are many middle-grade and teen book trailers on youtube these days. Skim through a bunch and see if anything interests your child. It’s not school, so if your
child wants to read Captain Underpants for fun, that’s ok. It’s still reading. However, watching the trailers may get your child to explore more titles and read more than just Diary Of A Wimpy Kid. (Although those books are awesome and hilarious!)
- Write to an author.
I love getting messages from kids about my novel The Dining and Social Club For Time travellers. I’m always happy to respond and help to encourage creative reading and writing. I’m sure other authors feel the same way.
- Start a book club.
Make it a social thing. Challenge a few of your child’s friends to read and discuss a book. Moderating the gathering will keep the kids on track. Check out these discussion questions from the New York Times. I highly recommend reading Wonder by R.J Palacio. It is fantastic book to help nurture empathy, kindness and caring—and it is going to be a major motion picture soon.
- Remember that reading is a fun activity.
Developing a love of reading is more important than hitting goals and skimming through texts. It shouldn’t feel like homework or punishment. Check in with your
little one and offer support and guidance when necessary.
Good luck and happy reading!
These top 10 tips for keeping your children reading over the summer has been brought to you by Elyse Kishimoto. My daughter and I met Elyse recently at an author festival. After hearing about her book, The Dining and Social Club for Time Travellers, I knew that Elyse’s book would be a PERFECT READ for my daughter this summer. So far, she is half way through the book and thoroughly enjoying the adventure.
Elyse Kishimoto’s journey as an author began after she graduated from the University of Toronto with a double-major in politics and philosophy and minor in English literature. Afterword, she pursued a Master’s degree in the Science of Education, as Elyse had always loved interacting, motivating and providing, meaningful guidance for children.
In 2009, Elyse began as an elementary school teacher in Toronto. She especially enjoyed the moments where she could inspire her students with interesting landmarks, history and geography around the world. Although she deeply enjoyed teaching, she decided to leave the education profession to travel and pursue her passion of writing. During this time, Elyse published a popular travel blog documenting her experiences.
Today, Elyse is pursuing her writing career her first novel series, The Dining and Social Club for Time Travellers has been published by McClelland & Stewart and Fitzhenry & Whiteside.