KRISTY JO VOLCHKO is an award-winning, multi-genre author, poet, blogger, book reviewer, and human rights activist.
Summer vacation is almost here and that means lots of sunshine, campfires, baseball games, road trips, roller coasters, fireworks, barbecues, cannonballs into the pool, and Summer Reading 2018! Encouraging your child to stay on top of their reading maintains literacy, strengthens critical thinking skills, keeps them from falling behind, supports their reading development, builds vocabulary, and nurtures a lifelong love of books. All great stuff, right?
VISIT THE LIBRARY
Getting kids involved in their local library is important for many reasons. In addition to the various Summer Reading Programs, access to free books, magazines, audio books, music, and internet, there are opportunities to volunteer, find a reading buddy or tutor, and be in an environment where other kids are reading for fun. Most libraries have some sort of Summer Reading Program so stop on in and let the fun begin!
“A library card is the start of a lifelong adventure.” Lilian Jackson Braun
“I have found that the most valuable thing in my wallet is my library card.” Laura Bush
“The only thing you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.” Albert Einstein
“Getting my library card was like citizenship: it was like American citizenship.” Oprah Winfrey
SUMMER READING GOALS
Whether kids are getting their books from libraries, bookstores, or online apps, setting aside 20 minutes or more for reading should be an essential part of their daily routine. Create a snazzy chart, graph, or poster to record daily, weekly, or monthly reading goals, use incentives, and reward progress. A promised shopping spree at Barnes&Noble or Half Price Books goes a long way!
Reward them with the key to a locked treasure chest filled with surprise goodies. The wonder and anticipation of what’s inside is a huge motivator. Fill it with stickers, baseball cards, bookmarks, ear buds, sidewalk chalk, crayons, markers, UNO, Crazy Eights, Old Maid, or Go Fish cards, Jacks, a journal, shiny marbles, colored stones, beads…the possibilities are endless!
- A magazine subscription for Highlights, National Geographic Kids, Story Monsters Ink, or any subject of particular interest (dance, science, sports, fashion, cars).
- Tickets to an upcoming sporting event, concert, or movie they’ve been wanting to see.
- A gift certificate to Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Half Price Books, or Record Exchange.
- Something specific they’ve had their eye on (video game, skateboard, jewelry box).
SUMMER READING PROGRAMS
* Your public library
* Carnegie Library Summer Reading Extravaganza
* Barnes&Noble Summer Reading
* Half Price Books Summer Reading Program
* Scholastic Summer Challenge
* Sylvan Learning’s Book Adventure
Let’s face it, reading lots of books can get pretty pricey. Luckily, there are a ton of places to score some free ones. School, online apps, and the public library are always great places to start.
- Get them a library card.
- Take them book shopping.
- Take turns reading aloud, alternating pages.
- Encourage them to donate/share used books.
- Laugh! Reading should be fun.
- Discuss the story and characters; encourage questions.
- Prompt them to bring stories/books along for trips, car rides, waiting areas, and picnics.
- Create decorative bookmarks together for every season.
- Be an example! They need to see you reading too.
- Do a Summer Reading Challenge with them.
HAPPY READING, HAPPY SUMMER!
Getting children to be enthusiastic about reading can sometimes be a challenge. Compared to the television, with all of its stimulating jingles, colors, and characters, reading may seem quite boring. That’s why the earlier they begin their lifelong love of books, the better. Books with vibrant art, rhyming, and lively characters is a great place to start. Soon they’ll be hungry for new words, worlds, and of course, special time with you.
*Make sure to read with them daily. Although schedules get hectic, carving out 15 minutes for a story goes a long way.
* Take turns reading aloud, alternating pages.
*Use funny voices or accents sometimes just for fun.
*Get them a library card and show them how to use it. Spend time there together and allow them to choose subjects of interest. You may also want to participate in some of the activities/programs that your branch has to offer.
*Bring them to the used bookstore for new reads and encourage them to donate or share books they’ve outgrown.
*Make story time your uninterrupted one on one time together.
*Laugh! Reading should be enjoyable and fun.
*Discuss the story and characters- always encourage questions. Rouse their imagination by asking how they would’ve chosen the story to end or what happens afterward.
*Have lots of literature at home and available to them. Make it a fun project to build and decorate a bookcase for their bedroom filled with favorite books.
*Prompt them to bring books along for trips, car time, waiting areas, picnics, etc.
*Teach them to respect books, their pages, and to take good care of them. Allow them to develop a bond with reading in general.
*Create decorative book markers together for every season for some craft time fun.
*Be an example. If kids see that reading is your norm, it’ll be theirs.
*Most of all, inspire them to make books and reading a part of their everyday life. Read signs, menus, games, flash cards, magazines, comic books, etc. Take them to libraries, bookstores, annual book sales, and flea market tables. Sound things out together, teach alternative meanings, challenge, and praise them often.
“What is another word for mommy?” Bibliophile. Bibliophagist. Logophile. Bibliomaniac. Bookworm. Happy.