I recently went to a parent night on summer reading at my children’s elementary school. I was aghast to learn statistically how many children actually lose reading skills over the summer. The teacher explained why this happens…each school day (for about 180 days), our children are immersed in reading. They are sitting down to read for at least 45 minutes a day and the rest of the day they are literally surrounded by print. Plus they are constantly being read to. Then summer comes and they leave their word-rich classrooms. I am all for relaxing and playing a lot outside during the summer; but this program really made me understand how important it is for my children to read over the summer, especially for my son who is less likely to just pick up a book on his own. So here are some cool ideas to incorporate reading and writing into your summer routine.
Turn on the closed captioning when your family watches TV. • Ever watch a movie with subtitles and try NOT to read them? It is really hard and your older children will find themselves reading along without even realizing it.
Have a designated daily reading time. • Stop, drop, and read. • When reading is an expected part of your family’s daily routine, there is less room for struggle.
Help your child find a special place where he/she can read quietly each day. • Put a basket of books on his/her reading level there.
Read aloud to your children everyday. • Chapter books, newspapers, even some online articles make for great reading.
Help you family notice print all around them. • Pay attention in the grocery store, on the road, in a flyer.
Visit bookstores and libraries often. • If your local bookstore or library has a summer reading program- GET ON BOARD!
Take trips with books. • Play books on tape/cd in the car. Bring a book to a doctor’s appointment while you wait.
Leave notes for your children. • Tape a note to the bathroom mirror or pack a note in their camp lunchbox.
Encourage friends and family to give your child “reading and writing” gifts. • books • magazine subscriptions • pads of paper or notebooks • fun pens or pencils
Find a penpal for your child. • Maybe a classmate or relative would like to participate. • Remind the person to write at your child’s level (e.g. print for young readers).
Play word games. • Word BINGO, Scrabble Junior, Boggle, Bananagrams, Apples to Apples
Make up silly rhymes with your family.
Show your child a picture form a magazine or a photograph and have them tell or write a story about it. • Teach them to think and write critically about what they see: who, what, when, where, how?
Routinely journal each day. • Keep designated journals handy and pull them out everyday after breakfast or after dinner. • Give your child a topic each day as a starter, or allow them to just write freely.
You are your child’s best model. • Read yourself while he/she reads • Show real-life samples of things that you read and write each day.
How have you made reading and writing a part of your family’s daily routine during the summer? In what new ways will you make reading and writing a priority over the summer?
* This post was written by parenting post and frequent ListPlanIt contributor, Annie Young.