There are many ways to encourage learning during the summer that doesn’t include school books! Today I am sharing 5 ways to encourage your child to read more this summer and promote summer reading in your home.
Today is the beginning of our 10 Days of Summertime Learning Fun Series! I have been looking forward to this series for weeks! 25 Mom Bloggers got together to bring you 10 days of tips for your homeschool and today is the first day! Be sure to go to the landing page for this series to find links to all of the other blogs that are participating. I will also be linking to each day of Summer Learning tips there too, so be sure to bookmark that page so you can check back for all of the tips in the series.
Thanks for using the affiliate links in this post. It won’t cost you anything extra, but it will help me out a lot!
Summer Learning – Huh?
If I were to tell my kids we were going to school through the summer, there would be groans all around. I know there are many homeschooling families that do school through the summer months for a variety of reasons. Some families live in areas that are ridiculously hot during the summer and prefer to take a break in the spring or fall, when it is more comfortable outdoors. Others love the freedom to schedule in more breaks throughout the year, and want the routine that comes with school. And while I love the idea of year-round schooling, I have never been successful in implementing “real” school during the summer. As soon as year-end evaluations are done, my kids kind of check out for the summer. School books are closed, and there would be mass revolt if I insisted on more school.
So I have found some sneaky ways to keep my kiddos learning even during the summer. And then by the time September rolls around they are ready to hit it hard again. And they never realize they have been learning all through the summer!
Encouraging a Reluctant Reader
I grew up in a home that encouraged reading and I love it even now. Give me a good book, and I will be happy. I remember maxing out my library card every time we would visit the library as a kid. I remember hiding a “real” book inside my school books so my mom wouldn’t know I was reading instead of doing my school work.
So imagine my surprise when I ended up with two reluctant readers.
My oldest daughter learned how to read pretty much on her own. I showed her what the sounds of each letter were, and she was off – reading up a storm.
Then came my second daughter who struggled to read for several years. I despaired of ever teaching her to read. I tried every program I could think of to help her, but it was truly a struggle for her. Finally at about age 10 “got it” and is now a voracious reader.
And then there’s my boy… who would rather listen than sit down with a book himself. He is eight and still prefers not to read himself. He can read pretty well, but doesn’t want to.
As a homeschool mom, I know that reading is important to learning. You can learn anything you want to if you can read. I have five great tips to encourage your children to read this summer!
Let them see you reading
Children are the great imitators, so give them something great to imitate. – Unknown
One of the best things you can do for your children academically is to build a culture of reading in your home. I love the tagline of Read Aloud Revival (one of my all-time favorite podcasts, btw!) – “Build your family culture around books.” She says it at the end of every podcast and it’s a great way to live your life, especially as a homeschool family.
Maybe that means setting aside a few minutes every day to read together as a family.
Maybe it means there are more books than decorations on your shelves.
Maybe it means your kids see you reading for enjoyment yourself.
Maybe it means turning off the TV or IPad and listening to an audiobook.
However you do it, encourage and model reading to your children. Kids who see parents reading will be much more likely to read themselves.
Set aside a time to read
I can’t remember where I first heard this tip, but I loved it as soon as I heard it. Set aside a time during the day that is designated as family reading time. It might be 15 minutes right after breakfast or 20 minutes before bed. It doesn’t really matter when it happens, but that it is a time for everyone in the house to drop what they are doing and read for a certain amount of time. Even Mom.
You can do it however you want, but in our home, everyone curls up on a couch or chair in the living room, each with our own book and we read for 15-20 minutes. No talking, just reading. It’s amazing how often 15 minutes turns into more when everyone is enjoying a good book.
Bonus tip: I allow my kids to stay up a little later if they are reading. So it’s ok if our reading time is before bed… then if they keep reading for a few extra minutes they aren’t missing their bedtime.
I have a whole post about audiobooks almost ready to post later this month, but I wanted to go ahead and touch on it a little bit here.
In our home at any given time, there is most likely at least one audiobook going. All of my kids have devices that allow them to download audiobooks from the library and have access to our Audible collection. So most of the time they have an audio of their own they are listening to, and we often have a family read-aloud audiobook we are listening to together.
The thing I love about audiobooks is that they make good books accessible for even for the most reluctant (or busy!) of readers. My son refuses to pick up paper books; but he will sit and listen to audiobooks for hours while he plays with Legos. I tend to listen to audiobooks while I am cleaning house – doing dishes and putting away laundry are mindless tasks that easily lend themselves to listening to an audiobook.
They are also amazing for road trips where you have a captive audience. We just returned from a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, and we listened to several books on the way to and from the camp site. We listened to Island of the Blue Dolphins, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and a Lemony Snicket book. It helps keep their attention on something other than their sister in the back seat while they are “reading” a good book.
Sign up for a Summer Reading Club
Maybe this tip is somewhat obvious, but get your kids excited about reading by enrolling them in a Summer Reading Club. Most libraries have great summer reading programs, and allow kids to earn prizes for reading!
If your library doesn’t have a Summer Reading Program, there are several good programs online.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program – Finish a reading journal for a free book.
Family Christian Stores Summer Reading Club – Read 6 Christian books and get a free book.
Race Across Space from Pam Barnhill – A really awesome book club to get your kids to read books from different genres. You choose and provide the prize.
Read the World from Jamie Martin – I am so excited to get my kids started on this book club. Each week read at least one book from the selected country, and be entered to win some really great prizes!
Read somewhere special
When I was a kid, I would slide a book into my pillowcase and drop it out the window. Then I would tiptoe down the hallway to sneak out the back door past my mom’s observant eyes to my special reading tree. It had a little indentation around the roots that made the perfect recliner to sit in for reading. I spent many hours leaning comfortably against the trunk of that tree thinking I was in a secret hide-out and no one knew where I was. Not only was it magical to read a wonderful book there, it felt a little bit thrilling to think that I was the only one in the world who knew where this mystical reading spot was.
Your child’s reading spot may not be a tree. It might be a pile of pillows inside a box, a secret closet in your home, or a special corner of the attic. Help them find a favorite place to read… and you might just find that you have a budding reader on your hands!
Do you have a special way to encourage your kids to read during the summer? Please share your favorite tips!