Raising a Summer Reader

When the lazy days of summer arrive and the schedule is packed with swimming, camp, and family vacations, it can be a challenge to find time for learning.

But kids' reading skills don't have to grow cold once school's out. Here are some ways to make reading a natural part of their summer fun:

Explore your library. Visit your local library to check out books and magazines that your kids haven't seen before. Many libraries have summer reading programs, book clubs, and reading contests for even the youngest borrowers. With a new library card, a child will feel extra grown-up checking out books.

Read on the road. Going on a long car trip? Make sure the back seat is stocked with favorite reads. When you're not at the wheel, read the books aloud. Get some audiobooks (many libraries have large selections) and listen to them together during drive time.

Make your own books. Pick one of your family's favorite parts of summer — whether it's baseball, ice cream, or the pool — and have your child draw pictures of it or cut out pictures from magazines and catalogs. Paste the pictures onto paper to make a booklet and write text for it. When you're done, read the book together. Reread it whenever you need to fend off the cold-weather blahs!

Keep in touch. Kids don't have to go away to write about summer vacation. Even if your family stays home, they can send postcards to tell friends and relatives about their adventures. Ask a relative to be your child's pen pal and encourage them to write each week.

Keep up the reading rituals. Even if everything else changes during the summer, keep up the reading routines around your house. Read with your kids every day — whether it's just before bedtime or under a shady tree on a lazy afternoon. And don't forget to take a book to the beach! Just brush the sand off the pages — it's no sweat!

Reviewed by: Laura L. Bailet, PhD
Date reviewed: February 2010

Kids Health

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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