As we approach the summer months, and the time kids are out of school, one question seems to pop up on parents’ minds; how do we keep our kids reading? We all have heard the many reasons why reading is so important: do better in school, improves imagination, boosts creativity, and is a great easy way to relax! Yet still, we need to figure out a way to motivate kids to read (and learn to love it) without an impending book report. Here are just a few ways that we have found.
1. Find a story that interests them
DUH, this one is a no brainer. Who wants to read something that they have no interest in? We certainly don’t, so why should we make our kids do it outside of school. From the months of August through May, they are told what they have to read, so why not let them pick out something that interests them for a change.
2. Keep around plenty to read
You can’t be expected to read, if you have no reading material. Make sure to have plenty of stuff lying around the house. Books, newspapers, magazines, even video game strategy guides are all things that they could be reading; which is the whole point. Having stuff to read, doesn’t have to break the bank either. You can visit thrift stores, used book stores, and even your local library to pick up plenty to keep your kids reading all summer long.
3. Give them praise when you see them reading
Everyone loves getting a little acknowledgment for what they do, and so do our kids. Especially if reading has long been a struggle, make sure you recognize when they choose a book over television. It doesn’t have to be some loud, extravagant shout of praise, but maybe sit with them and ask about what they are reading. Which leads us to the next suggestion.
4. Family Book Club
Everyone band together and pick a book that interests everyone. Now we know that this isn’t always possible, but maybe let the kids get a little more weight in the decision making. Not only is this a good way to motivate everyone to read, but it can even encourage conversation between you and your young ones. Have a big life event coming (like starting high school)? Pick a book about that topic, read it together, and have a discussion preparing both of you for the time to come.
5. Model it
It has long been said that children learn the most by watching their parents. So if you want to raise readers in your family, guess what you have to do! Make sure you don’t read only when they are down for a nap, or after bedtime. The idea is that we want them to see you reading, so they will pick up a book for themselves because that’s what mom/dad does. Having trouble finding something to read? Ask a librarian or someone in a bookstore for help. It’s important that you like what you are reading, so you can show your kids just how fun it can be.