Great Ways To Help Kids Enjoy Reading This Summer

Reading during summer can help kids avoid the summer slide. If your kid finds reading to be a bore, here are some tips to get them started on their lifelong reading journey.

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A child reading a book being transported to different worlds.

Summer vacation is the time for kids to be free of school and discover things about themselves and the world. For my dad, summer vacation meant shoving books inside his son’s brain. Make no mistake, I am not upset he chose to do that. I remember being excited and eager to visit the library every week when previously I was not a fan of reading. Reading during the summer never felt like a chore, it was something I looked forward to because my dad took steps to make it fun and engaging. Here are some suggestions to encourage summer reading from an ex-kid who found the love of reading from reading in the summer.

Avoiding the Summer Slide

The first suggestion to get your kid interested in reading is through a local library reading program. These programs typically last through summer break and help avoid the “summer slide” which is when a child loses some academic ground because summer breaks are not traditional learning periods. Reading programs require kids to sign up with the library which helps record the books read and the progress the kids make. Sometimes these libraries offer rewards for reaching reading goals through a point system or a reading journal.

A kid sliding into a book, ready and excited to read!

Family Book Club

Another idea to help your child continue reading through the summer is a family book club. There’s no better way to get your kid to enjoy reading than leading by example. If they see you enjoying it that will create an interest for them to try it and enjoy it themselves. By creating a family book club you can help them critically think about the books they read and how to digest information from books properly.

A group of people sitting in a circle reading their book and discussing it in a book club.

If you don’t like the idea of a book club you don’t have to give it an official title! Instead, you and your child can read the same book and talk about it over dinner or in the car. Or, if you don’t fancy yourself a reader, ask your child questions about the book that helps them think critically. Rather than making it a “book club” and setting aside time, you can make it feel less formal and more lighthearted. Remember, they are graded on this during school, so don’t treat it like work or you may scare them off!

Reader’s Choice

Taking your kid to the library or a bookstore and letting them pick out the book they want to read is another way to get them interested. Letting them choose what to read makes them feel like they are in charge. Don’t think of it as tricking them into reading, they are choosing what they will be reading after all! They are told what to read during school, and this is a chance to create a genuine interest in reading. Help them learn that reading isn’t a chore that has to be done a specific way to get a certain grade. Reading is more than that and shouldn’t be seen as something they are always being tested on.

A child debates his book choices.

Kids are durable and curious little creatures. They want to learn about the world and it’s your job to facilitate that learning process. While school is a perfect place for that, summer break is an opportunity to expand their learning into topics they are interested in. Whatever may interest your child there is certainly a book about it. If you feel stuck or are unsure what to suggest to them, your local librarians are more than happy to share their knowledge and can offer great recommendations.

Incentivized Reading

Another method to support your child in their reading journey is through incentives. There’s a thin line between incentivizing and bribing, but I can assure you there is a difference. As a kid, I was incentivized to read during the summer with promises of candy and video games. The promise of push-pop ice cream if I read got the ball rolling. The act of reading and the joy that came from it kept the ball rolling.

Kid is excited to have new toys for reaching his reading goals.

The goal of incentivized reading isn’t to create a loop of reading for a reward. The objective is to foster an interest in reading, not an interest in the reward. The reading and reward circle will eventually dry out but before that happens your child will learn what the joy of reading is. It takes them away to another world and can teach them about different lifestyles and cultures. The reward incentive will start them on their reading journey but it’s up to you to grow their interest in it like a budding plant.

The summer slide is a slippery slope that’s hard to climb out of. The best way to avoid having to scale back up is to never slide down in the first place. Engage your kid with reading by making it fun instead of a chore. Your child has the rest of the school year to be forced to read things, make this a time of reading for fun.

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