Admit it! You understand why summer reading assignments are necessary, but you really don’t want to deal with it and making your child read is not fun for you.
Dean of Admission Confession: When my kids were little I felt the same way…and I’m an educator! I get it. Summers are meant to be joyful and carefree for kids. No rush to get to school on time, lazy mornings sleeping in (for the kids anyhow), trips to the park, camp, swimming, ice cream, picnics, summer vacay. These are not activities that scream, “Let’s do homework!”
Here are some tips and tricks to make summer reading more enjoyable:
Nightly Family Reading – Kids will be happier to read if you are also reading. This can take lots of forms. Read to your child: even high school kids love to be read to even if they won’t admit it. Turn taking: your child reads a page or paragraph aloud and then you red a page or paragraph aloud. For older kids just sitting together on a couch reading silently is great. Your modeling of reading sends a powerful message that reading is enjoyable (and it really is). He/she reading the assigned book, and you reading anything in book form (not Facebook…a book book made of paper and stuff). Better yet, you read the same book that your child was assigned. Here’s why…
Family Book Club – I know, you already read Lord of the Flies as a kid and you remember it well. I promise you, revisiting books as an adult is fantastic. You will certainly see the book with fresh eyes. If you never read the book, you are in for a treat. And, guess what? In doing so you will have a reason to talk to your pre-teen or teen. Anyone with a teen knows how hard it can sometimes be to strike up a conversation. This might break that ice. Decide as a family if you will discuss the book chapter by chapter or once completed. Download some book club questions and discuss. Make this a fun event over a family dinner, a walk in the park, Facetime (if your kid is in camp or college), or whatever you like. After the book and discussion is done, each family member can rate the book by ice cream scoops, pizza slices, movie stars, or anything that speaks to your family. For example a great book is three scoops/slices/stars, a good book is two, and if it was just okay one. Afterward celebrate the end of the book with a trip to the ice cream shop, a pizza dinner, or trip to the movies. Bonus Tip: This works during the school year as well.
Compare and Contrast – Many summer reading books have been made into movies. After reading the book, watch the movie with your child. Afterwards, discuss the similarities and differences of the book and film. Did the actors look like you imagined? Did the film makers leave out or change key segments of the book? How did you feel about that?
Incentives – I know I am targeting myself, but bribes work in a pinch. The Public Library usually offers summer reading programs that encourage kids to read books in exchange for tangible rewards. Visits to the library are fun, and guess what? Libraries are keeping up with the times and have more than books these days. Many feature hands-on activities such as Maker Space areas and more. Check it out and check-out some books too.
Admit it! You want to read, so get to it!
To read more advice from Dr. Eskanos's blog, click here.