In exactly one week my kids will be getting off the bus for the last time this school year. Summer break is almost here. I can't wait for the slower pace and extra reading time the season brings.
Not all my kids agree, about the extra reading time I mean. The summer slide is a real thing, and no I’m not talking about your local park’s playground equipment. I’m talking about the tendency for young readers (especially the more reluctant ones) to fall off the reading bandwagon over the summer months.
If you are looking for ways to discourage the summer slide and create and/or maintain a vibrant reading culture in your house this summer, I’ve got you covered. Below is a list of 20 ways you can keep your kids reading all summer long. Feel free to add to the list in the comments. I'd love to hear what keeps your kids reading over the summer months.
1. Go to the library, often.
2. Participate in your local library’s summer reading program.
3. Read out loud together (whether your kids are little or big, there is no age limit on this activity!)
4. Listen to audio books in the car.
5. Start a book club. This can be a parent/child club (where you read the same book and then go out for ice cream to discuss), or a book club with other kids. Kids can read the same book or all bring different books to discuss. There are so many different options, be creative and have fun!
6. Start a list of reading spots and see how many different places your kids can come up with. Set up a tent, put cushions in a fort or tree house, the options are endless.
7. Make a Bingo Board where each square contains a different genre to encourage reading variety. Our 4th grade teacher does this and I love how it gets my kids to branch out. Genres can include: nonfiction, biography, mystery, poetry, book series, graphic novel, novel in verse… you get the idea, there are lots to choose from.
8. Read the book then watch the movie. Or, watch the movie and then read the book.
9. Make a paper chain. Every time someone in your family reads a book add another link to the chain and see how long it gets over the summer. If you are competitive, challenge another family to a reading duel and see whose chain is longer by the time summer ends.
10. Organize a book swap with friends or neighbors. This gives you the chance to clean out books your family is done with and gain new books for free.
11. Work with your kids to create a TBR (to-be-read) list for the summer.
12. Read kid’s magazines. Reading doesn't have to be limited to books. Your local library will have lots of magazine options you can check out and explore.
13. Keep it quick. Stop what you are doing, set a timer for ten minutes and have everyone read.
14. Check for online reading sites through your school and give your kids time to use them.
15. Be on the look out for story hour opportunities at your local bookstores and libraries and attend.
16. Keep a basket of books in your vehicle and switch it out often.
17. Let your kids pick their own books. While it is important to encourage them to read books at their current reading level (go here for a few tips to help them find those kinds of books), it’s also okay to let them read books below their reading level. Be flexible and don’t sweat it.
18. Encourage your kids to plan and act out a scene from a book. Give them access to a video camera so they can record themselves and make their own book-themed movies.
19. Send them to bed with a flashlight and the freedom to read however long they want.
20. Model reading to your kids. Take time to sit and read on your own.
It's your turn! What are some ways you keep your kids reading over the summer?