6 Activities To Get Kids Reading This Summer
It's summer, and between all the sports, camps and outdoor activities, the last thing kids want to do is open a book. But, just like we need to exercise to keep our bodies fit and healthy, we need to exercise our brains to keep them sharp and strong. Here are 6 activities to help your kids enjoy reading this summer.
Get Them Reading
A lot of kids need a kick-start to read during the summer; you, as the parent, have to get involved. It doesn't take too much effort to get them started; they just need a nudge in the right direction:
Set Aside Time — It's easy to tell kids to read 20 minutes a day, but kids need structure. Set aside a specific time every day for them to read 20 minutes or 20 pages to create a habit throughout the summer. Make an after lunch activity of reading in the sunshine in the backyard, before dinner -- they can read while you're prepping food — or weave it into their bedtime routine. Have them read a few pages after they brush their teeth and before the lights go out. It's a simple way to develop a routine.
Help with Reading Selection — Take time once a week or twice a month to go to the library to look for books with your children. Figure out what kinds of stories and ideas they're drawn to so you can help them choose books they want to finish. Once they've made their choices, get familiar with the material so you can create easy comprehension activities.
Keep Them Reading
Once they have the books, kids might need help following through on the reading, especially when books are competing with pool time for attention. There are a few simple things you can do to encourage them to read consistently, however it does require a small time commitment:
Hangman — Once you have a reading routine down, help your kids with reading comprehension by making it fun with a game of Hangman. Pick out characters or storylines for a phrase for them to fill in the blanks. It encourages them to review what they've read and remember the stories. As a bonus, everyone likes to win games, and if reading means winning, they'll come to the game prepared.
Identifying With Characters — Once a week, set aside time to talk about the characters in their books. Have them tell you which characters they like and why or which characters they don't like but can relate to. You can do this over dinner, at the pet store picking up dog food or while you're in the backyard doing your gardening chores.
Favorite Parts — When they've gotten through the first few chapters, have your kids tell you what their favorite parts of the book are. That adventure in Egypt, finding a key to solve the mystery or discovering a secret door to an underground kingdom — it's a way to get them excited about discussing their books and you get a little extra bonding experience.
Predicting the Future — Once they get halfway through their books, have your kids tell you what they think will happen in the next act or at the end of the book. This is a way of encouraging them to really digest the material and think about cause and effect of all the events leading up to the first half. If you want, have them write it down so, when they finish the book, they can compare what they thought would happen with what actually happened.