Want a Leisurely Summer? Try Reading!
Many parents are concerned about brain drain in the summer. Certainly, children’s skills can get rusty with a 2.5-month break. We have many tutors who can help preserve and enhance writing and math skills, but reading is something kids can not only do independently, but they can count reading as leisurely and fun, while effortlessly improving vocabulary, spelling, grammar, comprehension, and writing skills.
While TV and movies are fun, I argue that reading is more fun. You get to visualize scenes and characters however you want to. Great characters can become your friends. When I was reading a good book as a child, I couldn’t wait to get home from school and open it. As an adult, I still am always reading a book. I just finished a great one called The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson, which is a sequel to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. Both books are historical fiction, telling the story of teenage girls and young women who delivered books by mule and horseback to isolated communities in Eastern Kentucky in the Appalachian Mountains from 1935 – 1943. This is a fascinating and well-written book that any book lover would enjoy. There are so many page-turners out there for your children as well!
Some of you will say, “But I can’t get my child to read!” Here are some tips to get them started:
- They should be encouraged to pick out their own books, with help if needed. Take them to a library or book store, and ask what is popular for kids their age. Find out what their friends are reading. Do some research online.
- Narrow it down to a genre that interests your child the most: fiction, historical fiction, nonfiction, adventure, science fiction, biography, even graphic novels.
- Look for multiple books in the same series or by the same author.
- In order for reading to be fun, it must be easy. Pleasure reading needs to be at or below reading level.
- Don’t worry if you think your child’s choice is frivolous. All good readers spend time reading less than sophisticated material.
- Have a family reading time every day, when everyone is reading.
- If your child can’t manage a book, look into magazines and online articles of interest. Any kind of reading will help keep up and enhance reading skills.
- If your child can’t get into a book, they should abandon it and try another.
- Recorded books are great as well, and a wonderful addition to a long car ride.
While there are all kinds of things you can do to keep up academic skills in the summer, reading for pleasure is most important. Even children who love to read ironically don’t find enough time for independent reading during a busy school year. Summer is the time to finally read what you want. And you can bring those books to the beach, the pool, the car, and hotels. Even people who say they don’t like to read can learn to like it when they pick books that hold their interest. So put the effort into helping your children find books that wow them – it will be worth your investment.
For more information, see my article from Attention Magazine: How Can I Get My Child to Read for Pleasure.
By Cheryl Gedzelman, President, Tutoring For Success, Inc.