Make reading fun this summer!
While school may be out during the summer, it doesn’t mean that kids’ brains should be on vacation too.
In fact, experts believe summer is a critical time for parents to help their kids increase their vocabulary and improve their reading skills. According to the National Summer Learning Association, kids not only lose general academic knowledge, but their reading achievement level may decline during those few months out of school.
Parents who take the time to build language skills with their children over the summer are building a foundation for their child to succeed in school, says Marjorie Getz, a learning and behavior specialist, at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill.
“Talking and reading to children is so important,” Getz says. “I love to walk into a home and see books everywhere and children and parents talking about books.”
Helping your child love reading won’t just happen overnight, but summer is a great time to start habits that develop lifelong readers, she says. Getz recommends parents start these habits when children are young and read out loud to them.
“In the summer, take a book to the park, the beach or even your backyard,” she says. “Picking a new location makes reading seem exciting.”
Getz also encourages parents to bring their children to the local library. Libraries frequently offer reading programs which set goals for kids and reward them for achievement, she says.
Story time and other events based around books such as storybook walks and author readings are also fun ways for kids to be exposed to books, while helping them become more interested in reading, she says.
“When parents go to the library with their children, it creates a great opportunity for them to model good reading habits by choosing books to read for themselves,” Getz says. “As their children get older, parents can also read the same books as their children and discuss it together.”
In addition to library visits, Getz has found that kids can also benefit from reading in less traditional ways. These include:
- Read magazines. Purchasing magazine subscriptions which focus on topics kids love. Popular choices include Sports Illustrated for Kids, Highlights for Children, Time for Kids or National Geographic Magazine.
- Make a summer scrapbook. While cutting out photos and gluing them down is a lot of fun, having kids write captions and read them back is a great way to encourage creative thinking and writing skills.
- Read on your road trip. Have kids read signs and billboards posted along the roadside while you are driving. Kids can also listen to a book on tape instead of watching a video.
Getz believes that there are countless benefits to summer reading.
“Students return to school ahead of where they were when class ended in the spring, not only in their reading and language skills, but also in their knowledge, ” she says.
Getz adds that’s summer reading, without the pressures and demands of school, helps to pique children’s interest in reading, and nurture a lifelong love of reading.
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