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Here are some simple things you can do to keep your kids reading over the long summer school holidays.
How to keep kids reading over the summer
Do you wonder how on earth you are going to keep your child / children reading through the school holidays?
Especially the long summer school break that can be seemingly endless.
In a world of digital gadgets, kids clubs, activities and packed social diaries galore, it can be a real challenge to get your child to pick up a book on a daily basis.
Reading is no-longer a go-to activity in the way it was back in the day.
But the reality is, that to continue to improve their reading, kids need to be reading on a daily basis.
Why do kids need to read regularly?
In short, reading is the key to everything.
Reading can have a major impact on how a child does academically.
But more than that, the power to read is the power to discover, learn and grow.
The amount of reading a child does outside of school relates directly to the growth in their vocabulary, their comprehension skills, their verbal fluency and their general knowledge.
Sounds great, yes?
But how do you get your child willingly reading on a daily basis when school’s out?
The key to getting your child reading regularly, is to get them reading for pleasure.
“Go figure”, I hear you say.
Yes, but it’s true.
So, what’s the best way to make this happen?
How to help your child read for pleasure
Kids become better and more engaged readers by reading.
So, what is the best way to ensure your child is engaged with reading?
Here’s some simple steps to take…
1. Let kids in on the benefits
Help your child understand that the more reading they do, the more likely they are to be ahead of the curve when they get back to school.
Most children are keen to do well at school. So let them in on how amazingly helpful it is to read daily to achieve academic success.
2. Let them choose their own books
Encourage your child to read more by allowing them to choose the books they read.
If they are actively involved in the choosing process they are much more likely to see their new reading book in a positive light.
Make the time to take them to your local book shop to browse the shelves.
For younger children you can even use buying a new book as a reward….
“if you make your own bed for a week, you can choose a new book”…
… the kudos of being gifted new book in return for succeeding at something else can go a long way to getting a child excited about reading a book.
3. Guide them to a book that’s a pleasure to read
Whilst the choice of book should ultimately be theirs, ensure you steer your child towards a book they can easily read by themselves within two weeks.
Make sure the language is on their level, something they can read competently without repeatedly getting stuck on words they don’t know.
This makes it easy to keep up momentum.
Plus it ensures your child isn’t put off by having to wade through complicated language and long words they’ve not seen before.
4. Show an interest in their book
Ask your child questions about the book.
Encourage them to share their thoughts around the book, the main characters or the storyline.
You can even use the book as a basis to come up with other activities.
Perhaps get them to draw the characters as they see them in their mind’s eye.
5. Set a reading challenge
There is no harm in setting your child a school holiday reading challenge.
In fact it could be just the ticket to get them powering through.
If, for example, the school summer holiday is six weeks long, give them the goal of reading four books by the end of the school holiday.
Don’t forget to keep track of the challenge.
You can choose to incentivise the challenge or just have them do it for the satisfaction of success.
6. Create reading moments
Finding the time to fit in reading can be a challenge.
It can also be hard to keep a child reading on a daily basis when there is so much else they want to be doing.
So look at creating a certain time of day that is set aside for reading.
Perhaps you can have a screen ban until a certain time in the morning, to ensure your your child reaches for a book first thing, rather than tumbles out of bed and in front of a screen.
Reading is a great way to wind down at the end of a busy day.
So look at allowing your child a 30 minute reading slot before lights out.
Another good time is before an evening meal.
7. Always pack a book
Make sure your child’s reading book goes wherever your child goes during the school holiday.
At the same time, ditch the idea of them taking a screen with them.
Plus don’t let them at your smart phone!
Waiting at the bus stop… whip out the book and have a quick read.
Taking five minutes out in the playground… grab that book!
You get the picture.
8. Go to the library
If you’re lucky enough to have a local library… use it!
It’s a great way to while away some time each week – and free too!
Build a weekly trip to the library into longer school breaks.
This is a great way to get a reading rhythm going, especially if you go to the library on the same day each week.
9. Support their reading
If your child struggles with reading you can supplement their book reading by signing up to an online reading programme.
My, currently 8 year old, daughter has taken time to gain her confidence with reading.
One of the things that has really helped her find her feet is Reading Eggs , it really has been invaluable.
It can be hard to squeeze in extra learning during term time.
But, come the holidays, a fun and friendly online reading programme can easily be slotted into the diary.
We first used Reading Eggs during the Easter school holidays.
We’ll be doing the same through the up coming summer break.
My daughter tends to use Reading Eggs in 15 minute bursts.
The thing I like most about Reading Eggs is that I can hover in the background, to be on hand only if needed, rather than having to sit and go through it all with her each session.
This makes it ‘her’ thing and she loves seeing her own progression.
You need to buy an annual subscription, but there is a two week free trial you can do.
Click the link to sign up to the free trial: Reading Eggs Free Trial
The trial gives you access to Reading Eggs Junior for ages 2–4, Reading Eggs for ages 3–7 and Reading Eggspress for ages 7–13.
There is an initial assessment, which is quite fun for your child to complete and then the lessons are tailored accordingly.
I really hope you find these tips useful for helping you ensure your kids read for pleasure over the school holidays.
Talking of the school holidays… don’t forget to check out my School Holiday Survival Tips for Working Mums post if you’re one of the many Mums Make Lists readers who juggles working with parenting. That said, the tips are pretty useful for all parents.
We’ve also got a bunch of Learn To Read posts that you might find useful if you have younger children just starting out with learning to read or in the early stages.
Including a post on Common Reading Issues for children in the first couple of years of learning to read.
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