Summer Reading Fun!

Summer is almost here!

Many children in school know how many days are left in this school year, and if they don’t know, they can always ask their teacher. Soon, they will have a lot of time on their hands, so parents are given the monumental task of helping them find ways to pass the time. If you’re like me, you know it won’t be long before you hear those two words that every parent dreads: “I’m bored!” 

What if I told you there was something you could put in their hands to help with that? I’m not talking about the latest smartphone, tablet, or video game console; this is even better than that. I am suggesting that you put a book in their hands...

...and if you plan it right, they will actually have fun reading it!  

Last summer, my own son was required to read a book for the upcoming school year.  Since he was required to read this, I already had one strike against me.  If he had to make a list of 10 fun things to do, reading would be #20 on that list. So that’s why I decided to get involved and read the book with him. The book he had to read was one that I actually looked forward to reading. This fictional story had some historical pieces to it, dealing with a subject I am passionate about.   I was able to share some “back-in-my-day” stories with him, which helped bring the story to life. By reading this with him, he saw my enthusiasm.   As he saw my enthusiasm, a funny thing began to happen – he was soon on the edge of his seat, waiting to see what would happen next. We discussed what we had read, weaving in how we would have handled it if our family were going through the same scenerio.

I found that our talks accomplished two goals: he read the book, and, he enjoyed it!   Mission accomplished!  

Plan Your Reading Journey

Summertime is a great time to get out of the house and go on a journey somewhere. You may be going to the beach, an amusement park, camping, to see relatives, or somewhere else I haven’t mentioned. Wherever you go, most likely it will take some planning to make it happen.  Finding a book to read can be that way, too, so here are some suggestions to help you out:

1. “Book” a trip!  

Sometimes, it is best to follow the advice of the experts – people who have been there know how to help others get where they want to go. Here are a few reading experts I would suggest you check out:

  • Reading Rockets – Offering information and resources on how young kids learn to read, why so many struggle at this, and how caring adults can help. 
  • Scholastic – Remember the book fairs you used to attend as a child? The magazines you used to read? Yes, they are still around!
  • Your local library – If you are looking for someone that loves to read and can help your children learn to do that, this is the place to go. A list of public libraries throughout the state of Florida is available here.
  • Summer Reading Adventure @ Huntington Learning Center, Lakeland – This FREE program meets weekly to challenge students to read over the summer, using book discussions and crafts to teach students about reading adventures.

2. Bring someone with you!  

Use this as an opportunity to do something together. Someone once said that children spell LOVE “T-I-M-E”. Since so much of our time is spent away from our children, we sometimes miss out on having the opportunity to build relationships with them. Reading with them is a perfect way to spend time with them, where you can ask them questions about the story you read with them.  

Ask them questions like:

  • What is this story about?
  • What does the main character want?
  • What will it take to make that happen?
  • What would you do in that situation? (These are just a few to help you get started)

Be prepared, though. Once you get a child talking about a story, they might do most of the talking.  This is a good thing.  Let their imagination take over.

3. Be sure to have fun!

I saved the best for last. If you want your child to get something out of reading, make sure they have fun doing it. Try to choose a book that they will enjoy reading. You know what they are interested in, so find something along those lines. The idea here is to encourage them to look forward to doing this, so they will want to do it again and again.

Getting involved in what your child reads is a great way to get involved in your child’s life. This will allow both of you to go on an adventure together – where you learn what happens when you give a mouse a cookie, what the land of Narnia looks like, or how a baseball player wearing #42 changed the world.

And if you do it correctly, it might be an adventure that they never forget!