School is almost out! And if you’re like me, you’re wondering how to encourage your kids to read more and stare at screens less this summer. Of course, we know some kids love reading and will read a book a day over the summer. Woot woot! Those kids are awesome! But what about our reluctant readers? One of my children said he’d rather do chores than read a book. WHAT?? How do we help kids like him? It’s not always easy, but here are some ideas:
Go to the Library
Taking your children to the library every week allows them to be physically surrounded by books. It also allows them to browse and choose their own books. Use your library’s resources, like summer reading clubs, or ask your librarian for suggestions of books that your child will be interested in. Librarians are awesome and know so much!
Go to a Bookstore
There’s something special about owning your favorite books. There’s something about the way they smell, the shiny cover, and the unwrinkled pages. Excuse me while I go smell some of my books… ah. Now I’m back. :) I’ve found that when my children go to a bookstore and get to pick out their very own book, it becomes special to them.
Let Your Child Pick
Let your children have the freedom of reading whatever they want to read over the summer. Graphic novels? Sure! Nonfiction? Sure! Diary of a Wimpy Kid ten thousand times? Sure! Research has shown that when kids are able to choose their own books, they are more likely to become life-long readers.
Sometimes kids don’t even know what’s available out there to read. Often they say they don’t like reading because they haven’t found the right books. YET. There are SO many options! Research various books online or talk to friends or librarians and find a variety of books that might appeal to your child.
In our family, we often have some sort of reading challenge over the summer—a friendly competition, or a Reading Olympics. We track how much time is spent reading and whoever has read the most by the end of summer is the winner. You can find more charts and ideas here.
Host a Book Club for your child and his or her friends. Or host a Parent/Child Book Club. These can get kids excited about reading. Talk about the book, eat food related to the book, and do a fun activity about the book. This often helps kids read books that they wouldn’t normally read. For some ideas, check out my Mother/Daughter Book Club posts here.
Sometimes my kids have to earn their screen time by reading. For every minute of reading they do, they get a minute of screen time. Or every hour of reading is thirty minutes of screentime.
Audiobooks are awesome for car trips or just driving around to activities. Use an app like Libby or Overdrive, or use Libro to help out your independent bookstores. Some kids prefer to listen to books than to read them on their own.
Read Out Loud
Reading out loud to your kids is awesome for so many reasons, but especially family bonding. If you can work it in to read novels to your kids over the summer, it can really help them develop a love for reading and create wonderful memories.
Let your kids see YOU reading! If they see you reading, they are more likely to become readers. Plus, any excuse to sit down and read a good book is a great one, right?