How to Keep Kids Reading All Summer

by Kirsti Granholm

Reading is one of the most fundamental skills for a child’s development. The ability to read, comprehend and utilize the information you read, is a skill that needs to be harnessed for life long success. That is why it is so important that parents, educators and librarians all work together to promote the love of reading all year round! Here are a few suggestions to help keep children interested in reading, all summer long:

1. Read a fun book and create an engaging project inspired by that story. This will not only advance your child’s reading skills, but spark some creative skills as well!

2. Let your child pick what they want to read. You can help guide your child through the book options, but leave the final choosing up to them.

3. Make sure your child understands the importance of putting down technology for a good book. They are more likely to do it without asking next time.

4. Figure out what your child’s reading level is to find appropriate books for them. This one is very simple, but also very important! Sandra O’Brien, a former teacher and the editor of the Canadian Children’s Book News, suggests asking your children’s teacher, or doing the “five finger test”. Have the child read a book while holding five fingers up. Every time they do not know a word, they can put a finger down. If you reach the end of the page and all fingers are down, the book is too difficult for them. Advice for older kids is to get them to read a few pagers and then ask for a short summary. If their comprehension is good then you know they can continue on with that reading level.

5. Sometimes the textbooks at school can be dry, giving your child the wrong impression on reading. Surprise them with a fun book, whether it is a children’s magazine, novel, poetry or comic book. It will show them how much fun reading can be.

6. Your child, grandchild, niece or nephew look up to you! So set a good example as an adult in their life. You can do this by discussing your reading interests with them or talk about favorite books from your childhood; any kind of literary discussion is further promoting the importance of reading to children.

7. Introduce your child to all the wonders of a library! There are so many summer reading programs at public libraries, all across the country. You can find more information about these programs on your local library’s website.

8. For older kids, sign them up for a YA reading club to really get them engaged. They can make new friends and become inspired by other readers that are just like them!

9. Try creating weekly themes. You can also follow the schedule to make it even more fun for the whole family!

10. Log your books or create a book checklist. The sense of accomplishment can help instill confidence in a young reader.

11. Identify any areas of weakness to help your child build their reading skills and become an overall stronger reader.

12. Make a specific time “reading time.” Whether that is daily, every other day, or a couple times a week, it is up to you! Creating a schedule is a great way to help children build on their organizational skills from a young age.

13. Create a relaxing reading space for your kid. We all appreciate a comfortable reading environment so look to enhance your children’s reading space to encourage reading this summer.

14. Take it to the lake! Take your kids to a park or beach, to relax, read and play. Sometimes a change of scenery can inspire wonderful ideas.

15. Try writing stories together! Writing and reading go hand-in-hand, so don’t be afraid to get creative with your child.16. Read out loud. Whether it’s a parent, older sibling or grandparent, it really does not matter. Reading out loud to each other is both a great bonding experience and a fun way to encourage year-long reading.

17. Connect with other parents/guardians who believe in the importance of reading. You can set up reading dates, attend literary events/festivals and learn from each other while you’re at it.

There are so many great ways to get your children reading this summer. Whether it is creating a network of literary lovers or just adding more books to your child’s shelves, these tips will encourage them to read and understand the importance of reading, too. If you are wondering what books are appropriate for the young readers in your life, check out the CCBC’s publications. Both Canadian Children’s Book News and Best Books for Kids & Teens have Canadian book suggestions for kids of all ages!