"If you want to be happy, be."
June 21st was the first day of summer and school will be terminated next week if it hasn't been all ready. A long summer vacation is ahead for your kids and you need to start a bit of planning now. Figure out ways you can keep your kids in the reading loop over the holiday.
Although the summer schedule is packed with swimming, camping and vacation time the continued reading schedule can pose a problem.
1. Check out and explore your local library. Let your kids take out books and magazines that they want to read. Create a special spot in your home to house these books while they are visiting, that way when it's time to renew or exchange them you will know exactly where they are with - no scrambling, no harsh words trying to gather them up and none lost. Purchase or make a special book tote to transport those precious books back and forth from each location. You can make up a fun logo and words to put on the side of the tote so you can be a walking bulletin board and spread the love of reading around your neighbourhood. Many libraries have special summer reading programs for the kids. They offer book clubs, reading contests, field trips etc. to get your kids all fired up about great kid's literature. There are often incentives and rewards to be awarded upon completion of reading lists and of course kids just love that. Kids delight in owning their very own library card. It makes them feel all grown up and important, so head off to the library and see what summer events are coming soon and get your child signed up and involved.
2. Read on the road. Pack your car, camper, beach bag, suitcase with books and let your child dig into that pile any place that a good book is needed. You may need them while you are waiting in a long line, waiting for food to be delivered in a restaurant, or before bedtime in a strange hotel. Books are fun and familiar and your child will feel like they have included their best friends in the family get-a-way. Of course audio books are a big hit to listen to while on that road trip. Music is also very much recommended. Songs are amazing for memorization and flow of language.
3. Make your own books. Pick a favourite family event: soccer games, ice cream, baseball or at the beach or pool and have your child draw pictures or cut them out of magazines to make a book. Help your child record the text to explain the pictures or if your child is able, let him create his own captions for the pictures he had selected. When the book is all finished sit down and read it together.
4. Keep in touch. Have your kids send letters, postcards, texts or emails to family and friends whether they go away on vacation or not. Make this a summer project. Ask a relative or friend to be your child's pen pal for the summer.
5. Keep up the reading rituals. Even if everything else changes, keep up the reading routines that you have already established. Add extra fun reading experiences in the park, under a shady tree or under the stars. Keep momentum going and have fun.
6. Get cooking. Cooking requires reading and math skills so chose some great summer recipes and do some cooking together.
7. Keep learning. Visit museums, nature centres, art galleries etc. If something special is happening around you try and sign your kids up to go. Circuses, theatre, local fairs, yard sales etc. The more exposure kids get to different experiences the more questions they'll ask and the more information you can impart. Read everything out loud - even signs along the road or on exhibits. This will help increase your child's vocabulary and sight word bank. Reading out loud to your kids exercises their listening and comprehension skills.
Go on....enjoy summer vacation and enjoy a natural and happy reading time with your children.
Read on and read always.