Kids want summer reading to feel different than the homework they do during the school year. Some avoid reading books, instead spending their time playing outdoors. Others are thrilled to have long summer days with nothing to do but read favorite books. Whether your child loves to read or not, summer is the season when parents need to find creative ways to keep children and teens reading every day.
Spring is a good time to start planning summer reading activities and register for tutors, classes, and summer camps that will teach new reading skills, vocabulary, and concepts. Here are some activity ideas to make summer reading fun.
- Make a summer scrapbook. Gather materials for a simple summer scrapbook. For each page in the scrapbook, have your child add a written description of each event. Encourage them to use skills they learned in school to describe the setting and add interesting details about the people in each photo. Help your child find detailed information in the library or online about the places you visit. Share family stories to make their written descriptions richer.
- Become a fan of favorite authors. Choose an author of books your child loves. Read about them online. Find the author's webpage. Then, send an admiring email or write a letter to the author's publishing company asking them to forward it. Don't forget to read all of the author's books!
- Plan a trip. Check the library for guidebooks before going on a trip. Have your child read the guidebook description of the place you are going to. Once they are familiar with the location, your child can make a list of their 10 top things to do, including restaurants, lodging, and places to visit. Take the guidebook on the trip, and encourage your child to read as you travel.
- Read in new places. Find out if your library has a summer reading program. Sign up for it. Then, plan a family reading time each day to fulfill the library program goals. Try reading in different places like the backyard on a blanket, or in a nearby park.
- Learn to cook new recipes. Use the library to find recipe books for food your family doesn’t normally eat. With your child, choose recipes for an adventurous family meal. Remind your child that there are many different types of books, and talk about ways recipe books are different than stories. Try creating and writing down some new family recipes.
- Start a new outdoor project like creating a vegetable garden, bike repair, or building a deck. Choose an interesting project you can do with your child, then read how-to articles in books or online together to learn more. Consider taking a class together that teaches the skills you will need for the project. Once you get started on the project, assign your child to read the directions out loud while you both work.
- Learn new games. Go online or look for books in the library to learn ball games, outdoor group games, or old-fashioned games like jacks and hop-scotch. Ask your child to read the directions out loud before you have fun playing the game together.
- Visit nature centers, State Parks, or National Parks. These wonderful places usually have written information everywhere. Instead of quickly passing by signs, take time to stop and read them. Take photos during the visit. Later, show your child the photos and ask them to retell what they learned on the trip.