As school ends, the push for summer reading begins. We asked parents how they encourage their kids to read when the sun is hot and the days are long. Read on for their advice on motivating reluctant readers and fostering a love of reading in every child.
Make Reading a Ritual
Instill a love of reading early on by making it part of everyday fun.
1. “My daughter's interests are very physical, but she does enjoy going to the library. So, we'll make a field trip out of it — pick up a couple books, and then head to the park with a picnic lunch.” — Lisa C., North Haven, Connecticut
2. “We go on many more road trips and are in the car much more over the summer, so we borrow books on tape from the library.” — Barb G., Omaha, Nebraska
3. “I taught my children (all eight) that reading was a lifelong skill. After discussing the importance of reading we made a family rule: the kids have to read something of their choice for about 30 minutes every day before leaving home or having friends over.” — Sherry M., Shelley, Idaho
Find Motivation That Works
Parents recommend library programs and other cool incentives — and don't forget good old-fashioned praise.
4. “When my children were younger I took them to the library weekly. They had to read a book and then write a report or do a skit. They loved showing off what they learned.” — Michelle G., Foley, Alabama
5. “The kids' school requires them to read a book a week during the summer if they want to go to the ‘book fair’ in the fall. The event features games and other fun activities. We go to the bookstore as a treat, and they ‘get to pick out books’ instead of ‘having to read.’” — Jane A., Crownsville, Maryland
6. “I love to encourage my children to read every chance I get during the summer. We take trips to bookstores and let the kids pick out something of interest. I allow my 9-year-old daughter to read the human-interest story in my People magazine. Being a tween, she thinks that she is so grown-up reading People, and it is something we can share. When school returns, she has not missed a beat.” — Kim D., Braithwaite, Louisiana
Allow Unconventional Choices
Let your child read what interests him — even if it isn't on most teachers' reading lists.
7. “My son is 9, and he has remained an avid Pokémon fan. We have all the Pokémon books. He also likes Star Wars and Yu-Gi-Oh. We have encouraged reading anything! I don't care what he reads as long as he reads.” — Nita C., Florence, New Jersey
8. “My 8-year-old son Trey loves to read during school months but once summer vacation hits he gets lazy! He has joined a fantasy baseball league with his dad. He spends a lot of time reading about the players and the games. He reads online, in the newspaper, in magazines, and even the news blurbs scroll along the bottom of ESPN. He's practicing without even knowing!” — Sarah S., Somerville, Massachusetts
9. “We homeschool, and I let my son choose whatever he wants to read outside our regular curriculum. He reads Bionicle, Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! books, comic books, nature magazines, whatever he wants. I figure if he's reading, he's reading, no matter what it is!” — Leslie D., Cleveland, Tennessee