Possibly the last thing kids want to think about right now is maintaining their reading skills throughout the summer.
But, they have worked hard all year and made progress learning at whatever age and level they’re at.
Spending two months away from school without using those skills allows them to forget what they’ve learned, while also creating the impression that fun times do not include reading, writing and arithmetic.
And all the book worms out there would like to tell you that’s just not so.
There’s ample research that tells us how important it is to read to your children from a young age.
It soothes them, builds a routine, teaches them to sit still and listen, expands vocabulary, helps you bond, and has the added benefit of making them sleepy before bedtime. If you feel that your children aren’t ready to be read to, give it a consistent try and see that, over time, they will become more interested in story time.
But what if your children are older and it seems odd to read to them? Or what if your summer days are so busy and tiring you can’t seem to fit reading into your schedule?
There are a million reasons why books and reading might not be a part of your child’s daily routine, and it is true that some kids just don’t seem to like reading.
Having said that, most kids will respond better to the idea of reading if you are willing to make time to do it with them.
Can you spare 10 or 20 minutes a day to encourage a life-altering pastime in your kids?
Kids that love to read always have something to entertain them. If they can find a quiet spot and a good book, they will transport themselves to all kinds of different worlds and adventures.
They find comfort between the pages, and often feel that characters in a good story are like friends they enjoy spending time with.
Fostering in children a love of books and reading not only makes school work easier for them, it expands their world beyond the here and now. Bored? Read a book. Lonely? Read a book. Waiting on a playdate? Go read a book.
Too often, parents take the easy route of giving their kids toys or electronics to distract them and keep them busy.
And it’s true that there are good educational toys and video games nowadays, but imagine a world where your child grows up, works hard, yet doesn’t have the money to entertain themselves with grown up toys and electronics. How will they feel?
Will they grow up equating those purchases with success? Would they feel happy and complete without them? Will they need costly gadgets with which to parent their own children, to feel like they are good providers?
One of the best things about a love of reading is it doesn’t have to cost much at all. In fact, between the library and book exchanges with friends, it can be free, while also inspiring conversations and connections that are becoming less common with the prevalence of social media.
You might borrow two copies of the same book so you and your child can read alone, then discuss the story as it unfolds.
If you act like it’s interesting to you, you will spark the interest in them.
Be prepared to give up on some books that don’t work, and be determined to try again.
A series of stories is a great place to start.
You mean I can stimulate my brain, deepen my friendships, and inspire my kids to love learning, for free, all by making the consistent effort to read in the home?
Obviously, the benefits are many, and the costs are few, besides possibly some late charges.
You can even take some audio books on your next road trip to remind the kids that it doesn’t need to be a movie to keep them entertained. And, as a treat, it’s fun to watch the movie version of a book you’ve read … quite often you will feel that the book was better. Introduce your kids to that kind of experience this summer.
Reading books on quiet summer days might not be the adventure that gets the most likes on Facebook. But when you read with a child, you give them more than just your time.
Read books about people that faced adversity, and relate it to your everyday challenges.
Read about people that do the right thing, and relate it to the decisions your children will face in life.
However you choose to bring reading into your home, know that it is a commitment that invests in more than just staying busy for a few minutes together.