07/16/20

Keep Kids Learning This Summer Part I: 3 Tips to Help Parents Establish a Summer Reading Routine

By Dan Tahaney, Director of Literacy

Once July hits, most retailers put all the summer stuff on the sale rack and cut over to back-to-school and fall (does this bother anyone else as it does me?). While summer may be over according to the stores, on the home-front, parents are just getting warmed up! It may have been a nice (and well-deserved) break to have a few weeks off from having a routine, but by this time most parents (and kids – although they would never admit it) are craving a little structure. Aside from keeping your household sane, incorporating summer learning is a great way for every student to prepare for the next school year.

There are many, many ways to incorporate learning into your summer – from family outings and trips to games and activities – but here, we are going to focus on (in my opinion) the most important thing you can do to help prevent the well-known “summer slide” – reading (literacy is my job after all)! As all teachers know, students who don’t read over the summer will lose the gains everyone has worked so hard for all year long. So, where to begin? By setting up a regular, consistent reading routine.

In this post, I will share with you three tips to help you implement a reading routines for your child. And, stay tuned for my next post, where I will share with you a few free summer reading resources to keep you going!

3 Tips to Establishing a Reading Routing

  1. Make reading a valued part of daily routines: I recommend setting aside a quiet reading time for at least 30 minutes a day during the summer. Some kids may do better if they do this first thing in the morning when they wake up or after breakfast. It always helps provide a little extra motivation if they are told they can’t do anything until they get their reading done. Other kids may have a set time at night where they turn-in their devices or turn off the TV and open a book. The key is to find what works for your family and stick to it. Before you know if, it will be a well-established routine.
  2. Let them see you read: Kids naturally tend to do what they see their parents do (for better or worse!). This is why your kids need to see you in your favorite spot enjoying a good book. If it’s a book on your phone or tablet, make sure to let them know you’re reading a book rather than working or playing a game. Make reading a part of your week and your kids will too!
  3. Think outside the box (or book!): Younger kids may prefer being read to or reading aloud, either with a parent or with an older sibling. You can have them take turns reading a page, and then having a page read to them – this is a great way to help them learn fluency. This can be done with a parent, grandparent, older sibling (kill two birds with one stone as they are both practicing reading) or sitter – anyone who can read! Also, many online library apps have the option of having the book read to your child as they read along on the screen. And don’t forget that you can take books to the park or out on the back porch and enjoy reading in the fresh air. Whatever it takes to make reading fun and enjoyable works!

I hope these tips will help you to start the process of getting your kids to spend some time reading each day. Don’t forget to look for Part II, where I will provide you with some free summer reading resources to keep the reading going all summer long!