As a kid, summer to me meant more time being able to read. I know that sounds utterly boring, but I had a fascination with books. They took me on new adventures every new story I started and I was addicted early. As much as I loved being outdoors, I loved reading even more. I would sit outside in my lawn chair, or in a tree, reading until my eyes hurt. I would beg my aunt to take me to the local library and would check-out as many books as I could carry and realistically read in the time frame I was able to loan the books.
Most children don’t have the fondness for reading as I did growing up, but there are many family-friendly reading programs available for youth to keep children reading through the summer.
I think making reading fundamental in your home is a great way to encourage children to read. I started young with my children, reading to them as often as possible. I have books in the bedrooms, bathrooms, in the car, you name it…. there are books.
I believe children learn from their models. Because I showed them that reading can be so enjoyable, they are eager to learn to read and read on their own. If I have time to kill, I bring a book along, as well as books for my children. My son has been learning to read this past year and is doing quite well. He’s definitely eager. I’ve taken the opportunity to sign him up for local reading programs to keep him enthused over the summer. These opportunities are endless.
Generally when I’m reading (stealing time between cooking or cleaning), my children ask me why I’ve laughed. Many times, I even share some tid-bit of information I’ve learned with my husband or my children. They see that I gain information by reading, so they want to participate. I take them to the library every other week so that they can experience picking out their books and actually reading them. Often, I’ll find my oldest son in a corner reading quietly or even sharing stories with his brother. The bookworm in me always smiles at these keepsake moments.
To continue to encourage a love of reading in my family, I have utilized several avenues. The first is Target’s reading program Ready, Sit, Read! This encourages family members to participate in reading, offers book reviews, suggested reading, club benefits, and can be participated alone or with other families. The site shares activities to participate in after reading a book, integrating the material with crafts and other activities. The site allows parents to browse through parent materials, sign up for their newsletter, and print coupons to use in your local Target store.
In conjunction with Target, Rif.org is also sponsoring a reading program. Based on your child’s age, you can sign them up and log their reading time from May through August to tally their reading hours and even win a gift card to Target. This is a fun way to keep children motivated to read. The website is very kid friendly, has colorful graphics, and will keep kids coming back to the site. As children log their hours for reading in the reading club, a rocket sits waiting for more time to be logged and counts down for children to complete a specific hourly amount (based on their age and reading level). My son is excited and reminds me to make sure his books are logged.
Most local book stores also hold story-time dates through the summer, which often include crafts. I’m often tempted to purchase books through these vendors, however I do choose to attend the local library story time which is free and has the same benefits. By exposing children to these activities, they generally find them pleasurable (and before you know it will ask for more).
Pizza anyone? Book-It is a very friendly program also for children through Pizza Hut. Generally this is run through a school or other local organization, however more information about signing up can be located through their website. Every month a child receives a coupon to be filled out with three books. Once this is complete, children redeem this coupon for a free personal pan pizza. They receive stickers for each completed coupon and at the end of the year they receive a certificate. This motivated me to read a child and was much more rewarding than book reports.
Learning can be made fun, and the programs that are offered for children can be rewarding, fun, and enjoyable.
There are many other programs out there, but these are ones that I am familiar with and have chosen to utilize in my home. Happy reading.