Elkhart girl readingI was on vacation at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin and visited one of my favorite vintage shops, “Three Gables Consignment,” partly because they have a sign that says, “Open” on one side and “Shut” on the other. As I was browsing I heard a child reading and turned the corner into the next room and found a little girl curled up in a chair, reading to herself out loud. She held a large book called, “Rapunzel’s Revenge,” and was completely absorbed in her book, unaware of my presence. I was so excited to see a child loving a book and soon found out it was the shopkeeper’s daughter. Mom reported that her daughter had made three trips to the library that week alone.

So how do we keep kids reading over the summer?

  • Keep reading TO your child, even though they can read independently. There are great read-alouds for older children with far more intricate stories than what they are capable of reading themselves.
  • Allow your child to select what they find interesting. There will be a better chance that they will pick up the book if it is of interest to them. (Aren’t we the same way?) I have to laugh when I arrive at homes the day kids visit their school book fair. They come home with some very unusual titles but the choices are theirs, which makes them special. The kids can’t wait to crack them open when they get home.
  • Offer some books around the theme of what your family might be doing this summer–visiting a national park, going to the beach or exploring a city.
    This strengthens the book-to-life connection and will be fun for the family.
  • Suggest some series that might interest your child and get the first book. If she makes a connection and enjoys the book, she has several more to read.
  • Make regular visits to the public library which often has fun incentive programs for summer reading.
  • Engage in conversations about the books your child is reading as well as yourself. Think of it as your own book club between the two of you. I have heard of moms organizing a book club with their daughters which turned into a lot of fun!