Keep Your Kids Reading All Summer Long

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Keep Your Kids Reading All Summer Long
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School’s out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean learning has to take a break too. Research shows that children who read well in the early grades are far more successful in later years; and those who fall behind often stay behind when it comes to academic achievement, according to the U.S. Department of Education. How do you get your kids to read when all they want to do is play? Here are some ways to get your kids reading – and enjoying it – all summer long.

Read Anywhere and Everywhere
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Read Anywhere and Everywhere

Chances are kids want to be outside enjoying the sunshine and hot weather on their summer vacation. Since they’ve been inside a classroom every day, the last thing they want to do is be cooped up inside their rooms reading a book. Let them know that reading can be done anywhere and at any time. Reading at the beach or at the park is a good place to start. Pack a picnic, and you can have a fun and productive day outdoors.

Read Anything and Everything
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Read Anything and Everything

If the goal is to get them consistently reading, have them read almost anything that has words on it! Take them grocery shopping with you and have them read off the list. Then have them read the signs on the aisles to find whatever you’re looking for. You can also print out the driving directions when you’re going on a family trip so you can have your child read them to you.

Set a Time
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Set a Time

Most schools do it, so why can’t you? Have them read for 20 minutes sometime during the day – whether it’s before lunch, after lunch, before a nap, or after dinner. Since it will be a bit harder to get your kids to read in between activities or meals, let them choose their own book. Since it’s their leisure time, let their reading be whatever they want it to be.

Library Trips
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Library Trips

The library is free, fast, and probably close by in your neighborhood. Take your kids to the library at least once a week and let them check out whatever they want to read. By frequently making trips, they’ll subconsciously start thinking of the library as a hangout. Most libraries usually have fun group activities for kids during the summer, such as story time or arts and crafts. What better way for them to be in a learning environment and socialize at the same time?

Night Time Stories
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Night Time Stories

Research shows that reading aloud to young children is not only one of the best activities to stimulate language and cognitive skills, but it also builds motivation, curiosity, and memory, according to Reachoutandread.org. Try to start this habit while they’re still young. Preteens might think this ritual is corny, so if you frequently read to your young children on a day-to-day basis, they’re more likely to develop a positive association with this activity. Read a variety of books to them and eventually they’ll have a favorite that they’ll want you to read to them every night.

Reward Good Habits
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Reward Good Habits

It’s summer vacation – make time for them to go out and play! It can be as small as taking them out for ice cream or frozen yogurt, or as big as taking them to a carnival or theme park. Find the balance between work and play, and they’ll continue to develop those skills later in life. Remember, too much of a good thing can easily turn bad.

Books Before Movies
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Books Before Movies

Summer means a lot of movies are coming out every week that your kid might beg you to take them to watch. Instead of caving in and letting them watch it, make it a learning activity! If the movie is based off a book, have them read the book beforehand. Most family-friendly movies are based on books so depending on their reading ability and age, it can be an easy and fun activity. If the movie doesn’t have a book, have them find reviews of the movie online or in a newspaper. Just be careful they don’t stumble upon spoilers!

News Consumer In-Training
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News Consumer In-Training

Reading the morning paper can be a fun activity to do while having breakfast. Not only will they be learning, but reading the newspaper can contribute to family bonding and teach your child the importance of current events. Choose at least one or two stories in the paper (if you have them read more than that, it’s more likely they’ll lose interest) and read it together. Or if they’re old enough, have them read it on their own. Discuss the story together to see if they understood what they read, and you’ll help sharpen their cognitive and analytical skills. Don’t forget to reward them by reading the comics together!

Be a Role Model Reader
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Be a Role Model Reader

If you want your kids to read, you have to read too! Reading the newspaper in the morning, reading a magazine at the hair salon, or always having a small paperback in your purse will show that you frequently read and enjoy it. They’ll notice that amongst all the things you do, you still find time to read. If you demonstrate how fun it is to read, they’ll be more inclined to read frequently too. After all, you are your kids’ biggest role model.

Do it Together
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Do it Together

Reading together often will help strengthen your bond with your kids and help achieve your goal of keeping them reading even when they’re away from school. You don’t need to be reading the same book. You can read your novel and they can read the latest issue of Spiderman, but as long as you are together and doing the same activity, your kids will realize not only the importance, but also the fun in reading. Once they start enjoying it, they’ll have fun reading during the school year too.

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