There is never a shortage of Summer Reading programs for kids once school ends.
Many offer up graphs, charts, and prizes to motivate kids to read during the off- school months. Not that this is bad, just not all kids are motivated by a prize when it comes to reading.
As a lifelong learner, educator, and mom I can tell you that many kids will do better with reading if they don’t feel it’s “mandatory.”
The best way to motivate your reader is to know what inspires them! Making reading an adventure and not a “task, chore, requirement” during the summer months is a great way to help the desire to read and getting them loving the written word.
The Roadmap to Summer Reading Success:
1. Skip the List-Make the Shelf:
Make book reading like a seasonal shift in your wardrobe. One of our first family activities when school gets out is to make The Summer Shelf. Off come the passing seasons books and on comes the fun books of summer. Some are old friends and others are new, but The Summer Shelf is a way to herald in the summer reading season.
2. Leave Them Hanging
Create a desire to come back to the story. Pause your read-aloud jjjussst before the end of a chapter. And to create even MORE anticipation, throw in a little book-jumping adventure. While reading Tom Sawyer, we threw in spontaneous bouts of white washing, cave touring, and river rafting. These activities created great anticipation and had them asking “What’s coming next?”.
I’ve had very different experiences with all of my children on when exactly to plan our little reading adventures. My eldest daughter and youngest son like to intersperse their reading with related activities, while my second daughter insists that the entire book is read completely before we dive into the pages. By mixing up everyone’s reading and book jumping preferences, will help to keep them clamoring for the next reading session.
3. Reading in Snippets:
Reading isn’t just for books only. On the breakfast table, family room and screen porch coffee tables, and in certain bathrooms, I leave bite size reading materials like trivia, jokes, riddles, and quizzes which keep readers engaged. Reluctant readers do especially well with “snippets” of information.
4. Take-Alongs: Reading Gear for Families on the Move!
Reading while mobile has been an absolutely life-saver. The back pockets of the car seats as well as the side pockets of the car doors are brimming with some of our favorite kids magazines. Some of our favorites include:
- National Geographic kids
- Your Big Backyard
- Ranger Rick
- Stone Soup for young writers and artists
- Wilderness kids.
Earlier this year I discovered Kidscoop. It’s a newspaper for kids based on topics. Each weekly learning packet comes with engaging reading material, educational activities, and stimulates great family conversations. They come as download editions or downloadable e-books.
5. “Get Caught Reading”..All The Time
The official month for get caught reading is May but we want kids to “get caught reading” all-year-long. One fun and visible way to track who has read what, is by using Post-it Notes.
Each one of my children has their own chosen color of Post-it Notes. As they finish a book they write the title and author on their note pad and then post-it to their bedroom door.
The main quest is to “try” to fill up the bedroom door with Post-it Notes. That’s their idea not mine, but it’s still a good one
The second function of the Post-it Get Caught Reading Door is for our Inter-Domestic Book Loaning Program. The person borrowing the book from a family member takes the loaning person’s Post-It from their door, and puts it on the bottom half of the borrowing person’s door. When the book is finished, our borrowing reader makes their own post-it and returns the book and post-it to the loaning sibling. How’s THAT for “creative tracking!?”