With our youngest entering middle school next year did you know that it is recommended to keep the kids that age reading at least 60 minutes a day over summer? When they are younger and starting elementary, even 15 minutes a day is a tremendous help to them and as they age through elementary school the daily recommendation will shift to 30 minutes a day and end at about 60 minutes. What’s your plan to keep children reading this summer?
Raising A Reader, a national nonprofit organization that provides resources and guidance for families to implement home-based literacy routines, gives parents the following tips for getting children excited about books and into a regular reading routine during the summer months:
Reading often gets lost in the shuffle of summer activities such as camp, sports and vacation travel. Schedule a regular time to share books with your child and establish a regular routine to ensure reading doesn’t become a low priority and has the same importance as other activities.
- Take a trip to the library with your child at the start if the summer and see if there are any summer reading programs. Going to the library should be a fun experience and a treat for your child; show them what an amazing place a library can be.
- If your child wants to see a movie that happens to be based on a book, read the book with your child first and then let them see the movie as a reward. Engage your child in discussions about differences or similarities between the book and the movie.
- Create an outdoor reading area so the whole family can enjoy the summer weather and not feel stuck inside. Children generally read indoors, so being outdoors will create a new environment for enjoying a book and boost a child’s enthusiasm for reading.
- Find books that are centered on summer activities your child enjoys. If he or she likes to go horseback riding, for example, find books about horses or stories with horses as an integral part of the plot. This will give a child a welcome change from the types of books read during the school year and better complement their summer.
- If you are taking a trip, read books about your destination with your child before you leave. Do some research with them on the location and find things in the area they want to do while visiting.
- If you are taking your children somewhere for the day, such as a pool, the beach, a picnic or the zoo, pack a book to share and have a reading break or two during day. After an hour or so in the water, your child may enjoy some time reading on a comfortable chair or even floating on a raft.
- Create a summer reading challenge with rewards every time a certain number of books is read, or at the completion of a long book. Engage your child in a discussion about the book, talk about what they liked and ask thought-provoking questions such as coming up with a different ending or a new character.
“It is important to instill a love of books in children at an early age and introduce reading as a pleasurable experience,” said Michelle Torgerson, president and CEO of Raising A Reader. One way to do this is to establish a regular literacy routine at home that is independent of school and summer is a perfect time to start.
The Raising A Reader program is evidence-based, with 39 independent evaluations showing that Raising A Reader significantly improves language and literacy skills, cognitive development, communication and comprehension skills, school readiness and social competence. The program is implemented through a network of community partners that comprise more than 3,000 locations across the country including public school systems, libraries, after school programs, community agencies, and other organizations both public and private.
Raising A Reader is a 501c3 charitable organization dedicated to helping families develop, practice, and maintain literacy habits for children ages 0-8 that are critical for a childs success in school and in life. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, Raising A Reader was founded in 1999 and has served more than 1.7 million children nationwide. More information is available at www.RaisingAReader.org. Follow on Twitter @RARnational, Facebook at RaisingAReaderNational and Instagram at raising_a_reader.