On January first, many of us make New Year resolutions. Why not do the same thing on the first day of summer vacation? In particular, why not make a resolution to encourage our children to read?
Here are some easy ways to get even the youngest readers reading.
- Make time for reading every day. Turn off the TV. Put away the phone. Turn off the video games. You can read to your little one, or you can share the reading with your youngster who is learning to read or is reluctant to read. If you have a reluctant reader, you can read up to a suspenseful part, and then ask your reluctant reader to take turns. Or you can read five pages while he reads one. Whatever gets the student to read.
- Provide books, lots of books. This could mean weekly trips to the library for a stack of books. Or trips to the local resale shop. Or a special trip to the bookstore for one special book as a reward. Let the child pick and choose. If he finds one author he likes, find more by the same author or on the same topic.
- Document the reading. On the refrigerator, start a chart for each member of the family. List the title of each book read. Make it a contest if your child is competitive. Recognize that chapter books take longer than picture books and “handicap” the readers of longer books. Offer rewards?
- Make sure children see you, the adult, reading for pleasure. Laugh out loud when you read a funny passage. Whistle when you read something exciting. Talk about what you are reading. “Wow! I didn’t know that!” Entice your little ones into the pleasure of reading.
Research shows that some of the gains made by children during the previous school year are lost if they don’t read during the summer (called the “summer slide”). Likewise, those gains made during the school year can be solidified and even augmented by reading during the summer. Read!