7 Ways to Increase Your Child’s Love of Reading this Summer

7 Ways to Increase Your Child's Love of Reading this Summer

Most kids drop a few reading levels during the summer and it makes sense why—schools out, no teacher, the official homework is gone, and now there’s time to do activities you couldn’t do while in school. Reading becomes an afterthought. It becomes something some parents forget to push or encourage. Many kids like reading and will want to do it on their own, but not all are like this, unfortunately. So how do we get kids excited to read during the summer when it’s not technically required? How do we grow their love of reading?

love of reading featured

Here are 7 suggestions on how to increase your child’s love of reading over the summer:

Audio books: Some kids love stories but hate reading because the act itself is difficult. Audio books are a great way of fostering that love of reading without putting any pressure on them if they feel they’re too slow at it. Audible, the iTunes store, Amazon and even your local library are all places you can get access to audiobooks for on the go or at home.

Check out your library’s fun summer activities: Librarians want kids to have access to books and develop a love of reading, too. Most libraries will have new and exciting (and free!) reading related activities and incentives during the summer.

Read or listen to a story as a family and do related activities: Reading aloud to your kids, yes even the older ones, is incredibly valuable. Why do you think teachers have read aloud time during valuable school hours? As you read, you’re able to ask comprehension questions, clarifying questions, and promote critical thinking. Your child learns they can ask a question when a word they don’t understand comes up. You can take turns reading, use fun voices, and plan activities related to the story. Reading Harry Potter and also have the means to take a vacation to Potter World this summer? Perfect timing! Or on a smaller scale, since we can’t all afford a big trip: play a game of Muggle Quidditch together!

kids reading

Engage multiple senses while they read: The secondary sense doesn’t have to relate to the book itself. For example, play some music in the background while they read. Our brains work in interesting ways and will start making some cool connections. As your child reads while having music in the background, they will start connecting the music to the story. Then, when they hear the music again later, they start recalling details of the book they are reading, retaining the information better and making links they hadn’t thought of earlier. It gets them critically thinking about the story when they might have just glossed over the words before. Another sense example is feel/touch—letting them squeeze a stress ball while they read or mindlessly play with kinetic sand lets their bodies move while still focusing on the words. It’s like when we doodle while we listen to a lecture.

Let them help you create a reading nook/space somewhere: A dedicated space that they are excited to use will encourage a desire to read. Let your child pick out the color of the lighting you use that they can then swap out after they finish X-amount of books. Let them pick which chair they want to sit in for reading. Have them help you stock the shelves with books they might like. As your child takes ownership of his reading space, he will feel more comfortable and be more willing to actually utilize the space all summer! Check out Growing Book By Book for some easy inspiration!

reading nooks

Trading rewards system: Does your child thrive from accomplishment, charts and rewards systems? Use it to your advantage! For every book he reads, give him a token of achievement, like a wooden nickel (that he’s decorated beforehand), for example. Make the token something that doesn’t truly matter but one that still has value in his eyes because he knows what it can add up to becoming (so in other words, don’t bribe with candy). Once he earns so many nickels, he gets to trade them for screen time, a sleepover party, or whatever else gets him excited. Sometimes just getting him to pick up a book is the accomplishment and where the love of reading begins.

Writing leads to reading, and vice versa: Ask your child to write a creative journal entry about what they want to do this summer if they could do or go anywhere. Help them create a book so they can write their own story. Print photos of them and have them write captions or short stories about what they were doing and thinking when that picture was taken. The more your child writes, the more they will read. The more they read, the more they will want to let their own creativity flow in their writing. Don’t push this like this is homework. Let them use a computer to write if they don’t want to use pen and paper. Write your own book so they see you enjoying the process, too. Be their scribe and write for them as they pace the room, dictating their story. Whatever gets them excited, it’s still a great summer activity!

And if all else fails, look to Pinterest for fun ideas on how to encourage your child to read during the summer! There are so many creative parents out there, ready to help!

How do you encourage your child’s love of reading during the summer?

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Heather lives with her husband, daughter and son and has learned to accept that Utah is now her permanent home. Before becoming a stay at home mom, she taught elementary school and loves to use that background to create fun activities to entertain her children. Though staying home with the kids is great, Heather has always enjoyed finding more ways she can keep herself sane, including elaborate cross stitch designs and playing with any puppy she can find. She particularly loves to read and write and prides herself in always remaining honest in her posts about life as a wife and mother, even when the truth is sometimes embarrassing.

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