After a long and tedious school year, the precious vacations are here! A break for the mind and body that children desperately need.
Even so, it would be a shame for them to lose the reading habit they have acquired during the whole school year, sometimes after a long effort. Don’t you think so?
Scientific studies show that stopping reading completely during the 2-3 months of summer has really negative consequences on children’s learning.
This total break from reading on vacation can mean up to two or three months of regression in the child’s reading skills and a significant loss of lexis, vocabulary, and even reading comprehension. This fact is accentuated in children who are in the middle of learning to read or who do not yet have sufficient reading fluency.
So we can’t let our guard down and we must continue to encourage children to read during the summer. Luckily, it’s easier than it seems if you follow these tips and ideas:
Set an example:
I’m not going to kid you, of all the basic tips for encouraging reading in children, this is the one I’m doing the worst. I can never find the time to get ME to read a book to ME.
But in the summer that changes! We have a little more time, we are more relaxed, with less work,… so it’s time to pick up that book that has been waiting on the shelf for so long and read it.
It will not only be an example for the children, but a valuable time dedicated to ourselves. When children see us reading, they understand that reading is an important activity for us and they integrate it into their lives more naturally.
Carry a book with you at all times:
Summer can have a lot of “down” times, of doing nothing or not knowing what to do.
That’s great! We’ll be there to offer a story or a book to the kids 😉
Between baths, in queues, waiting in restaurants, and traveling, … if we bring a book, it will surely entertain us in these and other multiple situations.
And in relation to this point, make the child participate in the books that you are going to put in the suitcase if you are going away for a few days. Let them choose their reading, it always helps them to see reading as a choice and not as an imposition. Above all, never force them to read!
And if you have a long trip ahead of you, be sure to put some of your children’s favorite books in the back seat, so that they are within easy reach. CD books or audio stories are also great options.
Lighten up the reading:
Reading always has to be for them a pleasure, entertainment, and/or fun. But in summer, even more so!
So the first thing is that they perceive it as a pleasure and not as an obligation. That’s why it’s important that they can choose what to read and that we help them find the book that best suits their age and abilities. You have tips for this in my free e-book.
Remember: the important thing is that they enjoy it, more than the literary quality of their reading. So lighter readings are also valid, such as magazines, hobbies, comics, guides, manuals, the sports section of the newspaper, or the summer supplement,…
You might be interested in these compilations:
- Our most surprising stories
- The best children’s comics
- The funniest stories and let’s laugh!
- The 10 favorite stories of all children
Remember the basic tips to encourage reading:
Because they are still valid in summer: let them choose, do not force them, give them a diversity of readings, and go to the library,… you can see them all in 12 Tips to encourage reading among Children.
And don’t forget to go to the library because many of them program special activities in summer or take the books out to the street or to the beach!
If you are going to spend a few days in another city, find out where the library is and visit it and borrow some books to read during your stay.
Bring reading closer to their reality:
Take advantage of the activities you do in summer to relate them to readings and thus create a special bond with books.
For example, whether you go to the beach, the mountains, the village, or the countryside, look for stories set in these places or with protagonists who, like them, go on a trip to these places. Or if you visit a certain museum, look for a book about that theme or about the works and authors in it.
In this way, children will see reading as something very close to them and will feel identified and emotionally linked to these books, thus increasing their interest and motivation to read them.
You can also take advantage of the days at home to do activities related to books, from reading a book and then watching the movie to making creative crafts and games inspired by stories, for example here are some good ideas:
- 15 must-read stories and an activity for each one.
- Shadow Theater (with printable templates of more than 10 well-known fairy tales)
- DIY Teatrillo loco (with printable templates)
- We make a LUPA Book from our favorite story.
- We play with the stories of Hérve Tullet
- We paint our emotions with music and stories
If you are going to travel, great, take advantage of it!
Closely related to the previous point, if you are going to visit a new country or city that can be a great opportunity to motivate reading:
Look for books set in that destination, they will surely arouse the interest of children and they can start learning about the customs, people, places or important monuments of the place.
Involve children in the travel arrangements: there are many city and country guides for children, such as My First Lonely Planet.
Look for the best-known authors of children’s and young adult literature in that country, you can discover together some of their stories or find out about their lives. Once there, maybe you can visit their birthplace, etc.