When a kid thinks of summer, they dream of popsicles and beach days and picnics in the park. But why shouldn’t trips to the library be what first comes to mind? Reading is one of the most important ways children learn and their brains develop, and a summer reading program could be just the thing your child needs.
Encouraging a love of reading in your children is one of the best things you can do for them. So just because your children are on a break from school, it does not mean they should be taking a break from learning and being academically curious!
If you’ve ever taken your children to an arcade, you know just how excited they get when they trade in their hard-earned tickets for prizes. What if you told them they could get the same satisfaction (and learn a thing or two!) simply by reading? The easiest way to create a reading routine for reluctant summer readers is to create a reward system. There are two things you need to decide when doing so.
How do you want to measure your child’s progress? Log minutes, count pages, or simply keep track of the number of books read. Once you’ve decided how you are going to monitor your child’s reading, come up with “mile markers.” Maybe prizes are awarded for every hour of reading, or maybe they are rewarded for every hundred pages read. Try challenging your children by offering extra points for books that are considered at a higher level of difficulty for their age.
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Prizes come in all shapes and sizes! Take a trip to the dollar store and stock up on goodies for your children for each “level” they reach. Try making some of the prizes edible – like a trip out for ice cream, or a glass of lemonade on a hot day!
If your child still needs extra motivation, consider one of these fun, themed reading challenges:
A trip without a screen in sight? Gasp! What might seem normal to you is now taboo to your tech savvy little ones! Try planning a weekend getaway and challenging your children to put the phones and tablets down. Board games, outdoor sports, and, of course, reading are all examples of wireless family fun! Try sneaking in some reading with an audio book for a cross country road trip or long car ride.
We’ve all been sucked down the binge-reading before. If your child is a particularly speedy reader or just wants to stick with their favorite characters a little longer, try introducing them to popular book series from Magic Tree House to Nancy Drew to Hunger Games to everyone’s favorite wizard, Harry Potter!
Need we say more? If you’ve ever caught yourself mumbling, “the book was better,” to yourself as you leave the theater, this summer reading program is the perfect challenge for your children! See if your child agrees with you by having them first read a famous book and then watching the film together. Discuss similarities and differences, and what you liked better in either version.
A lot of companies, such as Scholastic Magazine, Barnes & Noble, and even Chuck E. Cheese’s sponsor reading challenges for children! If you want inspiration or don’t feel like crafting your own routine, make sure to look into those. Happy reading!