For many families, summer brings increased opportunities to slow down, connect with one another and engage in fun activities. It’s also a great time to inspire a love of reading. Not only is reading an important life skill, but it exposes children to new ideas and experiences and helps them imagine futures that they might not otherwise even dream of. Adults have a very important role in inspiring children to read, and can help children develop it into a lifelong love. Here are some suggestions how to get started:
*Set an example: Let your children see you reading. Have reading material (books, magazines, newspapers) readily available at home. Talk about interesting things that you’ve read whether it be books, magazines or online articles.
*Explore interests through reading materials: Show them news stories, articles or books related to what they are interested in.
*Accept what they choose to read: Reading anything is important, even if it is comics or cartoons.
*Audio books are a great way for kids to experience literature: Choose something of interest to you both (the public library is a great place to find these). Listen during long car rides or in the evening before bed.
*Magazines based on your child’s interests are another excellent way to spark their interest in reading: There are many magazines aimed at younger reading levels such as Sports Illustrated Kids, American Girl and National Geographic Kids.
*Choose a book and read it together: You can each read a chapter or portion and talk about the events. If you’re struggling to spark your child’s interest in reading, read it aloud to them. Taking turns reading sections aloud is another option.
*Find a series: For many children, including my own, the Harry Potter was a great series that adults and young people could enjoy together. Once engaged, a book series can be an excellent ‘hook’ that keeps them reading over time.
Reading is a non-threatening way to connect with kids. Sharing thoughts about characters and events helps to build shared experiences. Establishing these connections and shared experiences can promote communication about real life events as they arise.
So, grab some books and head for the beach. Enjoy!