Few people have more experience getting kids excited about reading than librarians who staff school and local libraries. So we asked a few to share what summer reading programs really work and what to do to make sure your kid doesn't take a vacation from reading.
1. Full of Summer Reading Fun
“Visit your local public library because there is so much going on and the enthusiasm of the librarians is infectious. So many libraries do wonderful summer reading programs for all ages. We actually have a program called ‘Teens & Tots’ where older kids read to younger kids — it's great to make that connection between kids, and both generations really enjoy it. We also hold a lot of activities at night, like story hours, so parents can come after work with their children — and we encourage parents to volunteer, which really shows the kids that reading is important to adults as well."
—Anita LaSpina, Librarian, Rockville Center, New York
2. Show Children That Reading Is Important to You
“Model, model, model. It cannot be emphasized enough that children who observe their parents reading become readers themselves. Make sure there are plenty of reading materials scattered throughout the house — not just novels, but magazines and newspapers as well.”
—Jennifer Hubert Swan, Librarian at the Little Red School House/Elisabeth Irwin High School, New York, New York
3. Make Summer Reading a Way to Connect
“Some children respond better when they know other children are going to read and respond to a book, which is why book discussion groups are great. I also think parents should be required to read what their children read at all ages so they can really connect with their child and be able to answer questions and instigate discussion. This is one of the reasons parent/child book groups are so great.”
—John Peters, Central Children's Room, The New York Public Library
4. Set Reading Times and Find the Fun in Books
“The number-one golden rule is to make time to read over the summer — parents should designate an hour a day just for books, or set aside a time once a week to go to the library. There's so much going on in the summer, so much temptation to be outside, that it's important to schedule time just for reading. Have kids keep a reading journal — even if it's just the book titles. Once the journal gets filled up, there's a real sense of accomplishment that's very rewarding.”
—Dorie Freebury, Librarian, Northville, Michigan
5. Take Reading on the Road
“When preparing for family road trips, stock up on audio books from your library. Let your children choose some stories to listen to in the car. Have family members share favorite ghost stories and/or adventure stories around the campfire at picnics and on camping trips.”
—The American Library Association (Reprinted with permission from the ALA)