But before you do so, stop and think!
Over the summer months kids naturally lose some of the information that they earned over their previous 9 months of school. And this gap will only widen if they are not encouraged to pick up a book, a pencil and maybe even a few worksheets over the summer months. Help your child to expand their knowledge, not widen their summer amnesia.
Unfortunately, convincing your kids that reading really is important can be challenging. So take advantage of the free help that is available for parents. Most public libraries offer free summer reading programs which offer lists of suggested books by grade level. Even if you are working full time, find a Saturday morning, twice a month, to have your librarian help you and your kids to select some fun books. Before even entering the library, talk with your kids about their interests. Do they want to know more about the moon, pets, dinosaurs, fairy tales? This simple information will empower your librarian to point out just the right books to engage young readers.
The American Library Association tells us that the benefits of summer reading include:
Encouragement that reading become a lifelong habit
Reluctant readers can be drawn in by the activities
Reading over the summer helps children keep their skills up
The program can generate interest in the library and books
And it being summer, the program can just be good fun and provide an opportunity for family time.
If you are in the Los Angeles area, Paws To Read is the Los Angeles Public Library Summer Reading Club. Check it out! Not near L.A.? No worry. Go to your nearest public library and ask about their program.
Another great, free summer reading program is the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. This program challenges kids to increase their reading minutes while recommending books, offering weekly challenges as they earn rewards on the website. This site includes helpful information for kids, parents and teachers.
Imagination's Destination Barnes & Noble Summer Reading program offers a free book, summer reading kit and more on their website.
Take advantage of the great website activities books recommended by Scholastic and Barnes & Noble and then head to your library to find these books for free.
Reading Rockets website is a great website filled with information for parents on the importance of summer reading and with recommendations on how to engage your kids.
Don't put the books away just because the summer bell just rang. Kids need to remain engaged in constructive learning experiences in order to continue their intellectual growth.
"I will only read if I can read about dinosaurs!" Don't let this demand stop you. Be creative and recognize that there are actually hundreds of books about dinosaurs including when and where they lived, and what they ate. But there are also stories which include dinosaurs as characters like, How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Room?, Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs and even dinosaur joke books. Your kids may pick the topic, but you can assure that there is always a book there to read!
5 final recommendations:
Let your kids see you reading too. Validates the importance of reading.
Set aside a special time each day for reading and be interested in what your kids are reading
Spark a curiosity by finding a book or two on a topic your child has expressed an interest in; then read it together.
Provide an opportunity for your kids to share something about their books. Dinner can be a great time!
Give your kids kudos for reading. Recognize them for their efforts