Written by Gabrielle Murray
As we leave the rigors of the school year behind, schedules become amorphous: some combination of camp, playdates, summer sports leagues, family vacations, and the odd chunk of downtime at home is about to shake up the clockwork predictability of the year.
Whether you’re a parent working outside the home or you have the freedom to spend extra time with your children over the summer, there are plenty of ways you can keep kids from falling into a summertime slump — and instill habits that will keep them reaching for a book for years to come.
1. Be a reader to raise a reader.
Modeling reading is one of the best ways for your children to understand that picking up a book isn’t just something they’re expected to do in school or when an adult asks them to. It’s a stand-alone activity — and a fun one at that! Bring your books to the pool and model the best way to chill: If you surround yourself with reading materials, children are more likely to pick up a book on their own, too.
2. Make a date with the public library.
Instill a little structure (and duck out of the summer heat) by setting a library date. Keeping a consistently scheduled visit will also keep books, and therefore reading, a priority. Go for story time, get involved in the community events hosted by your local branch, and witness other families reading together. Find something new or spend the afternoon gathering all the out-of-print titles you loved as a child.
3. Relinquish control of what your child reads.
Eighty-nine percent of school-age children report that their favorite books are the ones they have chosen for themselves. Sometimes they’ll choose something far below their reading level, and sometimes okay — especially during the summer months, outside the confines of classroom expectations. Now’s the time to capitalize on the joy that books and reading bring, so loosen the reins and let them choose books you may not have chosen for them yourself.
4. Read aloud to children — of all ages.
While the benefits of reading aloud to infants and toddlers are discussed often, reading to older children has been proven to expand vocabulary, increase focus and attention to detail, and open discussion. Discussion in particular is key for engagement, and it’s one of a few reasons why an audiobook can’t replace reading together.
5. Read with them during the day, not just before bed.
Reading aloud is commonly used as a way to wind down at the end of the day. Fortune may have it that as you’re finishing up a chapter, questions pop up at the same time you were hoping they’d be drifting off to Dreamland. If you have to choose between answering questions and finishing the book, it’s best to put the bookmark in and engage in the discussion.
6. Don’t fear boredom.
With the potential vacuum of structure during the summer, it can be tempting to schedule more activities than usual — but sit back! Make sure your child has enough time to be still, to get lost in their thoughts, and to learn to entertain themselves. Studies show that when age-appropriate books are available at home, within view and accessible, children are more likely to choose reading as an activity.
7. Read with friends, share your favorites, and build your bookish community.
This summer, connect with books! Build your own book club or join a national one like Literati. Literati, a book club for children, sends five incredible books to your doorstep each month. Whether you’re parenting a newborn, an independent reader, or a child somewhere in between, Literati has a little something for all kids from birth through age nine.
Try Literati risk-free today and launch your summer into hyperdrive. Use offer code SUMMERTIME for your first month’s membership free.
Slide Into Summer: Try Literati Today