How To: Motivate kids to read during the summer!

What makes long summer days (that somehow seem too short!) so special?

Beach. Parks. Barbeques. Community and City Festivals. Road Trips. Adventures. Campfires. Block Parties. Day Camp. Movies. Books. Sharing old and new stories with family and friends.

For educators and parents out there, it’s important to remember: All of these activities and moments are inherently connected in one way or another to Literacy. Research shows that reading during the summer is critical. It is estimated that the "Summer Slide" accounts for as much as 85% of the reading achievement gap between lower income students and their middle- and upper-income peers.

So, let’s get to it! 

How to motivate kids to read during the summer:

  1. Make it fun--because it is fun: Summer brings out a child-like curiosity in all of us. And it offers relaxed settings for connecting learning and reading to fun, enjoyable moments. Encourage and help your child find the answers to their questions in books. Get lost in a story together. Allow your child to choose their books on topics that are interesting to them. Play word games. Sign your child up for the Scholastic Summer Challenge. Sing and make up songs together. Don’t make it “homework”, make it “funwork”.
  1. Literacy is all around us: Whether you’re using print or technology, summer adventure requires us to gather information. Take the time to enjoy these moments with your child. Find the best route for that family road trip, look up bus or train schedules together, read magazines and brochures to look for free summer activities. What a great time to celebrate reading in our everyday lives—we would literally be lost without it.
  1. Read aloud and share aloud: Whether it’s in our home, down the block or at a park—summer activities bring family and friends together. This makes it a perfect time to enjoy the magic of sharing stories and reading aloud. So, bring a story or poetry book to that next family gathering. Those young and old are sure to bond as they hear their voices lift the words from the page.
  1. Be well-read and they’ll want to read too: Hopefully, summer means some extra down time for you. And they’ll model what you do with that time. So, whether it’s a novel, the newspaper or a magazine, let them see you enjoy reading! And, remember to share the new things you learn, too.
  1. Write: An important way to develop good reading skills is to write.  Encourage your child to start a summer journal so they have a fun record of their adventures and new memories made. Take the time to sit with them and write to family and loved ones. Turn everyday chores into writing activities—like the grocery list or what you have to pack for the picnic or family vacation. The list goes on and on because summer gives us so many things worth documenting!

These are just a few “how-to’s.”  Here are some additional resources and ideas.

And, encourage your child to sign up for the Scholastic Summer Challenge, where they can log the minutes they read, play games and earn prizes!  What else do you do encourage summer reading?

Comments

I devoted a chapter in my book,"Wise Up: Be the Solution" to summer activities that are fun and enjoyable. Five star reviews on amazon.com and a positive review from Kirkus Reviews.