Many adults love being able to escape into a good book and want to be able to share this love with their children. Especially with the rise of streaming TV and electronic games, being able to successfully cultivate a true love of the literary arts can be difficult at times, but is always a worthy pursuit. During the school year, most children have set amounts of time they are required to read as part of their homework, but how do parents continue this during the summer without making it an unwanted chore? Being able to translate reading into a fun activity for children is something that should start when they are young, and will build a greater love for reading as they grow.
Even children who grow up with reading as a standard activity in their days can struggle during the summer with motivation, since there are so many other distractions when school is out that draw their attention. These distractions can be used for good, however, if you play your cards right. When you go to your local library, help your child find books that relate to the things distracting them the most. If all they want to do is go to the pool, get some books about spending time at the pool. If they are focused entirely on their summer sports, find some kid-friendly biographies about a sports hero or two of their choice.
Following that same thread, you can tie your reading into your vacation plans during the summer to get them psyched up for that part of their summer break as well. For example, if you are going to Disney World in the beginning of August, spend July reading all about the history of the Disney family and park, and by reading stories about their favorite characters. If you are planning a trip to the beach, find books that are either set at the beach or are informational books about marine life. Who doesn’t love reading about dolphins right before they go on a vacation where they could possibly see a dolphin in the flesh?
Competition is also a great motivator for children—for everybody, really. Setting up a reading challenge, especially one with rewards, is a great way to add some fun into reading this summer. You can include the entire family to make it interesting; plus, you get the added bonus of teaching by example. Create several challenges that involve reading and then use them to create a bingo board. Whoever makes a line with finished challenges gets a prize, and whoever fills up the entire board first gets an even bigger prize. Challenges depend on your family, but some good examples are “Reading for 30 minutes outside,” or “Read a story to a stuffed animal.”
When it comes right down to it, the best way to keep children motivated with reading is to make it fun. These tips may work for your kids, but if they don’t, there’s no need to despair! Every parent knows their child the best, and you will know what causes the most fun in their lives. When you know what causes the fun for each child, you can manipulate the reading to work into that fun activity somehow. And don’t forget to make sure that they see you having fun reading right along with them!