With summer comes the fun of staying up late, beach trips, and ice cream. But there’s one thing we are really trying to make sure stays a habit all year round in our house, and that is reading. It can be a struggle to get children to read during a break with our routines being disrupted and reading being sometimes looked on as “work”.
Devising a summer plan to keep us on track
One: Have a set day to go to the library every week.
Weekly visits to the library with my mom have always been one of my favorite memories from childhood. I would sit in the children’s corner reading while my mother picked out the newest novels in the adult section, then I would get to take my large stack of books to the counter by myself and use my very own library card. I’ve made sure both my kids have their own library cards and make sure they know they are in charge of them once we get to the library. The slight feeling of doing something “grown-up” by yourself adds a lot to the experience.
Two: Let them pick the books they want.
When we first started going to the library or bookstore, I would find and suggest books for my kids. I would find things on subjects they liked, or the level I thought they should be reading at and show the books to them. They were not into it. I realized that me trying to push books at them was a bad tactic.
So, I let them go to the children’s section by themselves, like my mother did and I just looked at the adult section within eye’s view of them to see how they did alone. The first time my daughter came out of the library with a stack of eight books! My son, who was only three at the time, had found two books about trucks that he was very excited to read. We read almost all of them that day as soon as we got home, and my daughter even looked at hers in bed that night by herself.
Three: Bring extra books when out and about!
I have a bad habit, especially on longer trips, to just think about bringing screens to keep the kids occupied. And even though their tablets now have audio and digital books on them, they usually choose the cartoons and video games over reading on them. So, my goal this summer is to bring more physical books with us in the car, or at the park, or at grandma’s house. Having books on hand at all times no matter where we are will ensure that we can read at any time.
Four: Set aside special reading time.
This is something we are already pretty good at during our bedtime routine, but my older child has started to grow out of bedtime stories and prefers just to crawl into bed with a book or journal by herself. I love that she wants to do these things on her own, but I also think it’s important to still read with her, and have her read out loud to me, so finding another time during the day to do this is going to be vital during the summer.
Five: Lead by example.
Going along with setting a special time for the kids to read, I need to set a special time for me to read during the day as well. I am very guilty of popping in one headphone while doing dishes or making dinner to listen to an audiobook, but my kids wouldn’t realize that unless I actively tell them every time I press play. So, my goal is to have more books around for me to read as well.
Six: Find a Summer Reading Program!
Our library always has a summer reading program that starts in June. You can usually go to the website and print out the paper for it. If you have a more competitive child as I do, this can be a great motivator to continue reading during the summer. Then when it’s all filled out, you can take it to the library for a small prize.
With this summer being a little different than our usual summer vacations, I’m really hoping we can get more reading in and make it feel like something fun instead of a chore.