Who better to extol the virtues of summer reading than the American Library Association?
According to their website, summer reading programs began in the 1890s as a way to encourage children to use the library and develop a habit of reading. Summer reading programs continue to this day in America’s libraries, due to the benefits of reading year-round.
Summer is a wonderful time of rest for school children. But the extended break can lead to summer learning loss. c
Here are some fun ways to encourage reading during the summer.
Summer Reading Challenge
If you haven’t joined your local library’s summer reading program, you can create your family summer reading challenge with rewards for reaching specific reading goals. You can have individual goals for each family member or work toward a collective goal as a family.
Family Book Club
Choose a book that suits the interests of all family members and read it together. If you have early readers in your family, reading out loud lets everyone hear the story together. Set aside time each week to discuss the story, characters, and your thoughts about the book.
Outdoor Reading Picnics
Pack a picnic basket with snacks and drinks, grab some comfy blankets or chairs, and head to a local park or garden. Spend a leisurely afternoon reading together in the great outdoors.
Make regular trips to the local library as a family. Allow each family member to pick out their books, whether they are fiction, non-fiction, or graphic novels. Then make sure there is some downtime each day that allows everyone to read the books they brought home.
Choose a book that has multiple characters and take turns reading the different roles. You can even get creative with props and costumes to make it more engaging.
After reading a book together, have a movie night where you watch the film adaptation together. Compare and discuss the similarities and differences between the book and the movie.
If you have younger children, establish a bedtime reading routine. Take turns reading bedtime stories aloud to them, or have older siblings read to the younger ones.
Create a Family Book Nook
Designate a cozy corner in your home as a family book nook. Decorate it with cushions, shelves for books, and soft lighting to make it inviting.
Book-themed Crafts and Activities
Choose a book and plan activities or crafts related to the story. For example, if the book is about pirates, you could make pirate hats and go on a treasure hunt.
Travel with Books
If you’re going on a family vacation, encourage each family member to bring along a book to read during downtime or while traveling.
Remember, the goal is to develop a love of reading by making reading an enjoyable part of your family’s shared experiences. If you’re looking for some recommended reading this summer, PBS has created a fun list of children’s books for summer reading.
By fostering a love for reading in a fun and supportive environment, you can help your family members develop strong literacy skills and a lifelong appreciation for books. It can also help set them up for success in the school year.