I am thrilled to have Ginny Marie of Lemon Drop Pie guest posting today! She has some great ideas on how to keep your kids reading this summer!
School’s out for the summer! One of the first things we do every summer is sign up for our public library’s reading program. However, sometimes reading conflicts with what we really want to do. My daughters and I spend a lot of time at the pool and playing outside. Reading can fall by the wayside. Lily, who is eight years old, loves to listen to me reading books to her. Reading independently, however, has been a struggle for her. Here are some ways that worked to keep her reading during second grade. She came up with most of these ideas on her own, and then I encouraged her to keep reading!
1. Read to a pet or stuffed animal.
Lily loves reading to Stripe, her pet fish. She really thinks that he listens to her read, and who am I to argue with that? Emmy, my five year old, was caught reading to her teddy bear the other day. She just finished Kindergarten, and all of a sudden she is becoming an independent reader, too!
2. Find a quiet reading nook.
Lily and Emmy have a small play tent that I will bring out for fun every once in a while. With some pillows and blankets, this little indoor tent makes a perfect reading nook. This summer, we’re going to set it out in the backyard for an outdoor reading spot. Emmy also creates her own little reading spot in her bedroom. She will put her child-sized rocking chair in the little nook between her dresser and bookshelf and camp out there to read.
3. Become a reporter for your local newspaper.
The joy of writing also encourages reading. Lily often grabs a notebook to report the latest news in our neighborhood, such as a water main break. Of course, every day happenings are not always that exciting, but Lily has included our daily adventures such as trips to the park in her one-copy-only newspaper. She also knows that I am a writer, and has even written a guest post on my blog.
4. Have some DEAR time.
I encourage Lily to sit with me on the couch to read her book while I’m reading mine. So far, this has been a challenge because Emmy hasn’t been an independent reader for very long and doesn’t know what to do with herself while we read. We’ll keep working on this one. (You may recognize the D.E.A.R. acronym: Drop Everything and Read.)
5. Don’t let the enjoyment of reading end when the book is over.
Lily LOVES to talk about her favorite books, even when she’s done reading them. Her favorite characters in books become friends, and she talks about them as if she really knows them. After reading The Mysterious Benedict Society with her dad, she talked about Kate and her red bucket for days. You can help your child extend the book by having them draw a picture of their favorite part or write interview questions for one of their favorite characters. Lily has also written a quiz on Goodreads for one of the Magic Tree House books that she loves. (I checked her questions and answers before I published her quiz on Goodreads.) After reading a retelling of The Gingerbread Man, Lily and Emmy held a mock trial to decide if the fox was guilty or innocent after he ate the Gingerbread Man. My husband and I were the jury. Extending the book in these ways help enrich the reading experience for your child.
Most of all, if your child sees you reading, whether it’s a novel or your favorite magazine, you are sending a message that reading is fun! Enjoy your summer reading!
Ginny Marie loves sticking her nose in a book, and has often forgotten to start making dinner because she can’t put her book down. She taught second grade for thirteen years and now she reads books to her preschool students. She blogs at Lemon Drop Pie, and you can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.