School is out – and kids can’t get their uniforms off quickly enough. Summer holidays are here and they’ve got six whole weeks to relax and have fun, so doing anything remotely school-related will be the last thing on their minds right now.
The trouble is, when kids go back to school in the new year, they’ve often forgotten some of the things they learnt in class the previous year. It’s what teachers call the summer reading slump.
How does one keep kids motivated to read throughout the holiday and stop the summer reading slump?
It’s our job as parents to help make reading fun.
You can help your kids with the challenge by taking note of the following 5 simple rules.
Rule 1: Read the right books
Make sure your child is reading books that are appropriate for his or her reading level. Avoid books that are too challenging. Difficult equals discouraging! The “Five-Finger Test” helps children find books at the right level. Studies show that children are more motivated to read when they feel successful and can approach books with confidence. If your child is choosing books that are too difficult, encourage them to do the following: Read one page of the book. If there are more than five unknown words, choose a different book.
Rule 2: Allow them to choose their own books.
According to Scholastic’s Kids and Family Reading report 9 out of 10 kids are more likely to finish a book that they’ve picked themselves. Kids generally love being in charge of their lives so let them select books that look interesting to them. Summer holidays are the perfect time to allow them to be free with their book choices – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, picture books or whatever else takes their fancy. It’s all about making reading enjoyable for the kids while they’re away from school and not turning it into a task
Rule 3: Look beyond the traditional paper book
Believe it or not, E-books do have their advantages. Since so many kids are into technology, reading books on devices like a Kindle or iPad can help to make reading a whole lot more enticing. And what about Audio Books? Hearing books read aloud teaches an appreciation of phrasing and will help support vocabulary development plus will also assist in improving reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Listening to audio books can also improve a child’s comprehension and critical thinking skills.
Sometimes, just the difference in format is exciting enough to engage a reluctant reader.
Rule 4: Make books accessible
Books need to be accessible so kids don’t forget they’re there! If you don’t have the space to create a dedicated book nook then you could just put them in our Portable Book Box, which makes a handy mini-library that can be moved around the house. It can go with them into the garden or over to their grandparents’ house – even in the car to take on holiday.
The box’s front-facing design means books can easily be identified by their covers, so kids won’t get impatient trying to find the one they want! It holds up to 40 books – plenty of room for all your kids’ books – and also comes with a play clock, so they can have fun learning to tell the time as well.
Rule 5: Bend a few rules
As it’s holiday time allow your little reader to stay up late with a good book. To make things even more exciting free up their hands and add some light to the night with a cool headlamp.
Rather than always leaving your child to read alone, take some time out to read to your child. Change your voice to go with the characters and the action. You don’t have to be an actor, but you can at least change your inflection for a livelier storytelling experience.
Encourage your child to interrupt you if there is an unfamiliar word.
Kids deserve the summer off but reading doesn’t need to feel like homework. All they need is a little inspiration and they’ll soon see that reading a book at any time is fun!
Happy summer reading everyone!