• Summer vacation has finally made its beginnings. I could not be more excited! The only problem is that over the summer many kids forget half of what they learned in school. It is a huge bummer. I have a rising second grader, and she has just recently become a very strong reader. Therefore my goal for this summer is to keep her reading as much as possible so she continues to grow as a reader. We have worked so hard to get her here, I loathe the idea of backtracking. Getting your kids to read over the summer can absolutely be a challenge. Most kids would much rather be outside playing than even thinking about books.

    Our guideline is that she has to give it three full chapters

    In my mind, the whole point of summer is to get more reading done. I want to establish this with my kids too. My thoughts on how to get it done are simple. First never make it a requirement. Summer reading should feel spontaneous and child led. If they are forced to read a certain amount each day it becomes more and more like school. The more it becomes like school the harder your reluctant readers will push against you.

    I take my daughter to the library often. I let her peruse the shelves in her section as long as she chooses. Then I let her pick whichever book (within reason) she wants. I let her pick books below her reading level, and some above too. The objective is for her to be excited about the books she chose. If she made the decision to borrow it, she is more likely to read it.

    I never get upset if she starts a book and doesn’t enjoy it. Honestly, I can’t count the times I have started a book that just did not interest me the way I thought it would. Our guideline is that she has to give it three full chapters. If by the end of the third she still isn’t interested she can move on. More often than not after three chapters she is engaged in the story.

    If your child needs incentives don’t hesitate. Make them something with which you are comfortable.  Last year I told my daughter that if she read a certain amount of books during the summer months I would take her to the store and let her pick out a toy $25 or less. I told her this while we were already at the store and in the toy aisle. She had the toy picked out and in her mind the whole time. I’m proud to say she surpassed her goal.

    If that doesn’t sound fun to you, you can opt for smaller things. Or check your local library. Many libraries have summer reading programs that include prizes for time logged reading. I believe our library has prizes that are vouchers or coupons for ice cream and things like that. Best part, it is free!

    Lastly, don’t be afraid to let your kids see you reading. Kids learn by example. Take one afternoon a week to sit under a tree and read. Take books with you everywhere you go. Have them in your car, suitcases on vacation, picnic lunches, everywhere. Sometimes just having a book available can do the trick!