As our children’s first and foremost educators, we parents play an essential role in teaching our kids to read and—maybe just as importantly--to love reading. Now that summer has arrived, why not take advantage of the school-break to encourage your kids to pick up a book? Here are a few strategies to help you encourage your children to read this summer.
1. Lead by example.
Kids that see their parents reading are more likely to think of reading as a fun activity. Pick up a book on the way to the pool or the park. Read the newspaper in the morning and share some of the interesting (non-scary or violent) stories with the family. If you are out of the habit of curling up with a good book once in a while, you may find you really enjoy rediscovering the simple pleasure of reading.
2. Establish read-aloud routines.
My kids have enjoyed bedtime stories since they were born. For that matter, so have I. My kids are a little older now and have long since been able to read on their own, but there’s something about our peaceful, unplugged reading time that keeps us coming back night after night. Additional bonus: when my children are all grown up, I will have stockpiled countless hours of happy memories during these read-aloud evenings. Even if it is only for 5-10 minutes a day, try to make it part of your routine to cozy up and enjoy reading together.
3. Take advantage of your child’s summertime interests.
Summer often involves a myriad of fun, outdoor activities such as swimming, bike riding, or playing in the park. Take advantage of your children’s current interests and choose books about these activities. Then talk with your kids about the books to show them that reading is important to you. Ask what they liked about the book and share what you liked about it. Ask open-ended questions to get them thinking and talking about books.
4. Check out your local library.
Summer is a great time to visit the library(s) in your area. Most libraries have excellent summer reading programs for kids. Regular library visits also help keep your summer book selection fresh and fun. Remember that books aren’t the only place you'll find good stories, there are many great magazines and other publications for children in most libraries.
5. Don’t make reading a drag.
Now that it school is out, don’t make reading an assignment. Take advantage of your child’s natural and spontaneous interest and let them read when they show interest in reading. In other words, don’t mandate a set amount of time or pages kids should read per day. Keep it fun!
6. Educate yourself.
Use these summer months to learn how you can teach your children early reading mastery. Yes, you can do it! You can gift your child with the ability to read--a gift to last a lifetime! Check out Age of Montessori’s Royal Road to Reading DVD series. The method is simple, fun, affordable, and it works!