Aug 11, 2020

Tips to Make Summer Reading Fun for Kids

By Joyce Venezia Suss

Most school children are required to read some books during the summer months. This assignment outside of the regular academic year is important for several reasons. It helps maintain critical thinking skills and prevents the loss of learning skills that may fade in just two months.

Here are some creative and fun ways to keep children interested in reading during the long days of summer – and all year long.

Read Books Aloud to Children
Do this when they need some quiet time, especially during the heat of the day. Act out the characters with funny voices and gestures. Ask questions as you go along, such as “What do you think will happen next?” Or play “I Spy” and ask kids to find certain objects in the illustrations. You can even change the name of a key character to your child’s name.

Visit the Local Library on a Regular Basis
Sign up for story time and other special events, such as reading marathons. At the library, look for children’s books with Caldecott Medal honors (best illustrations) and Newbery Medals (best writing).

Read a Book and Do a Related Activity
For instance, bake a cake after reading “Bunny Cakes” by Rosemary Wells, visit a local train station after reading “The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper, or collect a pile of hats for kids to try on after reading “Caps for Sale” by Esphyr Slobodkina.

Organize Craft Activities Related to Books
Children can make puppets out of paper bags or felt that depict the characters in a favorite story, then act out the story with the puppets. Or let kids make personalized bookmarks or bookplates with construction paper, markers, stickers and more.

Expand Your Children’s Book Collection
Start collecting with visits to garage sales, flea markets and discount tables at bookstores.

Books Don’t Have to Stay on Bookshelves
Keep a rotating supply in the car. Create a “reading nook” at home with low bookshelves, soft pillows and a good light, or find a special place outdoors that can become a favorite reading spot. Occasionally at bedtime, let everyone climb under the covers and use a flashlight to read a story to kids.

Keep Track of Progress
Create visible ways to keep track of how many books children read. For instance, start a paper chain with the name of each book they read on a paper link, or cut a large tree trunk out of brown construction paper and let kids add colored paper leaves with the names of books they have read. Or simply keep an ongoing list posted in a prominent place.

Have a Book Hunt
Gather at least two children in front of a pile of books, then ask them to find objects in the book illustrations, such as an apple, a horse, something that people can drive in, two different colors on the same page, etc.

Create a Club
Help children organize their own kids book group, where participants all read the same book and gather once a week to discuss it.

Let Them be the Author
Let children create their own stories. Non-reading preschoolers can look at pictures in a book and tell you their story. Pretending to read gives children the courage to try. Older children can create their stories on a computer, printing out the pages and leaving space if they want to add illustrations.

Finally, let children see you reading books on a regular basis. It sets a great example.