**This post has been sponsored by Trinity Christian Academy to bring you this experience.**
Summer is around the corner, and it’s a great time of year to slow down and take a breath. It’s a nice time of year for our children to take a break from school, too; however, it is important they continue to read over the summer months. Among some of the activities you are planning for your child, add summer reading to that list. For many years, research has indicated that the more students read, the better readers they become (Allington, 2006; Anderson, Wilson, & Fielding, 1988). A 2001 Report of the National Reading Panel which reviewed hundreds of research studies states that, “The more children read, the better their fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.”
When incorporating reading into your child’s daily or weekly routine, make it fun and be creative. Even children who do not enjoy reading can be “tricked” into having fun with a book!
- Public Library: Check out your local public library, as it will typically provide a variety of summer reading programs for different ages. While you’re there, get a library card for your child. My children felt empowered to have their own cards to check out as many books as they liked. They’re teenagers now, and they still use their cards.
- Summer Activities: Look for ways to tie reading into your child’s day-to-day activities. It can be as easy as reading about how plants grow after you plant a garden or getting a book about his or her favorite animal after a visit to the zoo. By slipping in these reading opportunities, you will be enhancing and expanding your child’s interests.
- Reading Space: Let your children create an interesting reading space just for them. It can be as easy as a beanbag chair or a more “elaborate” project of setting up a tent with a blanket and filling it with comfy pillows and a reading light.
- Alternatives to Books: Don’t limit summer reading to the traditional book with text. Children love to get magazines in the mail! Get a subscription to a children’s magazine, such as National Geographic for Kids, Zoobook or Time for Kids. Other options include comic books, wordless books and even that good, old classic: the newspaper!
- Sneak in Some Reading: Some other not-so-obvious ways to sneak in some reading are through having your child read a kid’s menu when at a restaurant, a recipe that you make together, directions to a game that you play together or travel brochures and maps for your next vacation.
- Neighborhood Book Club: Starting a book club for kids in your neighborhood is another way to promote reading throughout the summer.
- Books and Movies: Finally, you can always read a book and then watch the movie; there are some great books that have been made into movies such as Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, and The Polar Express. Once the book is read and the movie is watched, have a casual conversation about the similarities and differences between the two. I also like to ask, “Which did you like better, the book or the movie?” You might be surprised by the answer!
- Be Readers: It’s important for us, as parents, to model reading to our children. Let them see you reading and talk about what you have read with them. Have things to read in your home, and continually look for opportunities to talk about what everyone is learning from the written word.
Sally Berthel is the Lower School Library Media Specialist at Trinity Christian Academy. She has a BS in elementary education and a MS in information science. She and her husband, Scott, have two teenage daughters.