Don't Let Reading Get Lost During Summer Fun!

Hanna Lim

Posted on July 26 2016

Don't Let Reading Get Lost During Summer Fun!


Tips for parents to get kids into regular summer reading routine

Summer is a time for beaches, swimming, camp, vacations and all kinds of outdoor activities. Unfortunately, many children will stop reading while having all this fun in the sun and experts say parents need to make sharing books a part of summer vacation and establish regular reading routines for their children. Lollaland is working with Raising A Reader, a national nonprofit organization that provides resources and guidance for families to implement home-based literacy routines, to support children’s literacy and raise awareness of the importance of reading.  “Summer reading should be all about the parent-child experience,” said Gabrielle Miller, Ed.D., president and CEO of Raising A Reader. “Rather than having it be a chore, or a list of must-read books, summer is a terrific opportunity to build family reading experiences. Whether it’s as simple as reading with children so they can see how much adults love reading, or visiting places and doing activities tied to a book, there are a host of ways reading can help children enjoy the summer and be ready to start school in the fall.”

Here are some of the Raising A Reader summer reading tips for parents: 

  • Reading often gets lost in the shuffle of summer activities such as camp, sports and vacation travel. Schedule a regular time to share books with your child and establish a regular routine to ensure reading doesn’t become a low priority and has the same importance as other activities.
  • It’s OK to let your child read e-books if he or she is comfortable using a tablet, but remember, whether it’s an e-book or a print book -- especially for young children -- the most important thing is to spend time together sharing the book. It’s about the experience, not the technology.
  • Make it fun. Have your child come up with a different ending to a story, play ‘what if’ with the characters or the setting, or read the book from end to beginning. Come up with fun ways to engage your child beyond the actual reading of the book.
  • Create an outdoor reading area so the whole family can enjoy the summer weather and not feel stuck inside. Children generally read indoors, so being outdoors will create a new environment for enjoying a book and boost a child’s enthusiasm for reading.
  • Invite the family pet to join the book sharing experience. Even if your child can’t read yet, have her ‘read’ the story to you and the pet. Children who can read will be able to practice their skills and children who have not yet learned to read will begin to think of themselves as ‘readers’ which is very important to lifelong learning.
  • If you are taking your kids somewhere for the day, such as a pool, the beach, a picnic or the zoo, pack a book to share and have a reading break or two during day. After an hour or so in the water, your child may enjoy 30 minutes of reading on a comfortable chair or even floating on a raft.

Even though babies don’t know how to read words yet, there are still plenty of things that they can do with books that will help them grow up to be strong readers and book lovers.

  • Get your babies use to holding and playing with a book. If you’re reading with an infant, it’s OK to let them “chew” or “munch” on a story. Board books and bath books are the best for this because they can withstand baby drool!
  • Help babies understand that books have pages by letting them just flip through the book. Show babies that the pages of a book flip from left to right.
  • Take this time to point out what is on each page. Help them build word banks in their brain by telling them what the different pictures are. Talk about the colors, count objects and if you’re looking at a touch and feel book, talk about textures.
  • Use books to build motor skills. Instead of a toy, place a book in front of your baby during tummy time and encourage them to grab it.
  • As babies become older and are able to look at a page for more than a few seconds, start talking about the story.
  • You don’t have to focus so much on reading the actual words on the page. Just describe what’s happening in the pictures. Make it fun!
  • Help your baby make connections between what they see in the pictures and something that they experience in their own life. If your family owns a pet dog and you happen to read a book that has a picture of a dog, help your child make that connection.
  • Use books to get a baby’s attention during activities like bath time and diaper changes. It really helps!
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