Summer is a time for fun- swimming, camping, playing, and enjoying time off from the school routine. It’s a time of lemonade stands and days at the lake, picnics, bike rides, vacations, and backyard games. But the heat of another hot Texas summer is upon us and as the midsummer days grow longer, kids’ attention spans tend to grow shorter. Inevitably, parents everywhere hear the dreaded words, “I’m bored,” and summer fun abruptly ends. Reading is a long standing tradition of the summer season but is all too often slighted by the excitement of other summer activities. However, the benefits of summer reading go far beyond alleviating boredom in that reading keeps kids learning and growing even when school is not in session. Summer reading provides children and youth the opportunity to read books that expand their imaginations and spark intellectual curiosity. The following are some ways to keep kids reading even as the summer days grow longer and warmer.
• Go the library. The public library offers special summer reading programs for kids that provide incentives and rewards for reading.
• Keep your child interested. Choose books that pique the interest of your child or teenager. Avoid making reading a chore.
• Read aloud to your children. A good way to encourage your kids to read is to read aloud to them on a daily basis. This allows you to become involved in their learning as well as improve your child’s listening and vocabulary skills.
• Go back to the classics. Summer is a great time to introduce kids to some of the classics of literature. Librarians often have a recommended reading list that includes many fine works of literature that your child or teenager might enjoy.
• Talk about reading. Talk to your children about characters in their books and help them make connections with their own lives. Try reading some of the same books as your child and talk about these books in a way similar to which you might discuss a movie.
• Be a reader yourself. Parents can be reading role models for their children and demonstrate the pleasures of reading.
• Read together as a family. Try setting aside some time every once and awhile for everyone in your family to settle down comfortably with a good book.
Try a little reading this summer and motivate your children to do the same.
Harold H. LeCrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyright 2003