5 Tips to Keep Kids Reading This Summer

It goes without saying that summer on Kauai means going to the beach with your family. Kauai has miles of coastline, and numerous lifeguarded beaches.
By Sarah Lyons

School is out for the summer and the kids are finally able to sleep in, play outdoors more, and take a break from homework. While the free time is enjoyable, kids often turn to screens or other activities and let their reading skills slide while on summer break. How can you stop the “summer slide” from happening?

Create a book club
Two people reading a book at the same time can be considered a book club. Pick a book your child would like to read or an old favorite from your own childhood and read it together. If you have multiple children that are about the same reading level, this can be a great way to get everyone involved and curtail the summer slide.

See the movie
Check out what books are becoming movies this summer or those that are already available on DVD and choose those books to read with your child. A reward for finishing the book will be watching the movie together.

Be a role model
Parents who enjoy reading often have children who enjoy reading. I notice if I sit down in the living room with a book instead of turning on the TV, my tweens will often find their own spot to relax and read near me. If I turn on the television, we all end up watching it together. Set a good example for your kids when it comes to reading. It isn’t just for schoolwork, it is a fun hobby as well.

Expand your reading
Not all kids will find a book they love easily. The goal is to practice reading, it doesn’t matter if it is a book or something more creative. Find other things besides just books to read such as graphic novels, magazines, or even audiobooks. You can even get kids into the kitchen and read recipes in the cookbook. They will enjoy helping prepare meals and not even notice they are practicing their reading skills at the same time.

Pick interesting topics
Find out what your child is interested in and check out books on that topic. My son became curious about volcanoes, so we headed to the library and checked out multiple books on volcanoes. When we returned home, he promptly started reading about them and writing down interesting facts in his journal. You can also encourage your child to try different genres to see what they prefer. Nonfiction, historical fiction, mysteries, graphic novels, or classic literature – once kids find their niche, they will most likely be more excited about reading.
Kids who make reading a part of their daily routine are more likely to become lifetime lovers of reading. Set aside part of the day each day when your child can read for 30 minutes or set this as a goal before they can play video games, meet up with friends, or go to the pool. Try to make it fun and come up with creative ways to incorporate reading into your daily schedule. Just a bit of daily reading will help them maintain their current reading levels and be ready to take on new material once school begins.

Make A Journal
• Have your child decorate a summer journal using stickers and colored paper.
• Give them time each day to write in their journal to tell about their summer adventures. You don’t have to go on a trip to have a journal.
• Take a hike or walk down a path and collect leaves. Your child can make a leaf picture and write about it.
• Let them draw a map of their room.
• Let your child make lists in their journal.
• The opportunities are endless!

Find A Pen Pal
This could be their former teacher, an aunt/uncle, or a friend. Have your child set aside time to write to their Pen Pal. They will love getting letters back in the mail.
Start a Reading Routine
• Let your child make a sheet tent and read under it.
• Drive to a park on a nice day and read under a tree.
• Partner read with your child. You read one page and let your child read another page.
• Create incentives for reading.
• Invite peers over and have a Reading Club one day a week. Each child can bring his/her favorite book and share their favorite parts.
• Go to your public library and sign up for their reading program.
• Make sure you read to your child, at a reading level above theirs. They need to hear wonderful vocabulary and the model of a fluent reader.