School is out and summer vacation can be a time when skills slip a little. If you focus on activities that are fun and fit a more relaxed schedule, you can keep your blossoming readers reading without burn out.
Two of the most important things that you can do to keep reading skills sharp during the summer are read to your child and have your child read aloud to you or other family members. Make sure you choose age appropriate books—picture books for younger children and chapter books for older children—to keep reading fun instead of turning it into a chore.
* If your child has been involved in a reading program such as Book Adventure (www.bookadventure.org) through school, encourage your child to continue with the program during the summer. If not, your child can sign up for such a program, with your help, on the internet.
* Most local libraries have summer reading programs with incentives to keep children focused during vacation. You can build off of these sorts of programs by offering your own incentives. A trip to the ice cream store, a movie, or a pizza night are rewarding to young readers while also being a great way to spend family time together in the summer. Another reward system could involve a trip to the bookstore to pick out a new book when your child has completed their current read.
*If you’re looking for a way to keep kids entertained on a rainy afternoon, there are many a-b-c activities, word games and math activities available online. Check out sites like www.nickjr.com , www.pbskids.com and www.starfall.com with your child to get started.
* Parent /child summer book clubs are becoming very popular, and if you can’t find an existing one in your area, it’s very easy to start your own. Round up a group of your child’s friends and their parents, decide on an age-appropriate book that will still hold adult attention and get started! Each week, the group can meet at a different family’s house (or a family-friendly location like a library reading room or community center), discuss the parts of the book they’ve read so far, and agree on how far to read for next week. Adults bring open ended questions that children might not have considered, while children can provide adults with a fresh view on group’s book of choice.