Encouraging kids to read: Summer version

Ahhh, those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer have begun around here.  I am trying to not over plan things, really.  I want to let the summer days unfold a bit and have lots of time for free play and exploration. We’re focusing on doing the things we love–creative pursuits, spending lots of time in nature and reading!!  Yes, reading.

Kids do need a bit of a break and so I am not a fan of hard core academics over the summer. But, hey, we LOVE to read, and now, we have even more time to do so. Summer can get filled up with activities pretty quickly, so I am really thinking this through. I am making a conscious effort to encourage our family to pick up a book.

When I say encourage–I mean just that–provide time to read, have interesting books around, give them time to be bored, and have them see ME reading more than usual. I am NOT, nor even have been an advocate of bribery of any sort when it comes to reading.  Alfie Kohn(his book is a must read) sites numerous studies that reveal that rewards actually turn kids off and make them do inferior work.  I want my kids to read because they enjoy reading, not because they are hoping to get a prize.

Want to see what I’ll be doing this summer?

Making a list of books to read.  

This will be me, more than my kids, but they do have a few favorite authors to get started. I am consulting several sources-Honey For a Child’s Heart, The Read-Aloud Revival, my pinterest board, and our local library. and making a list of books for the whole family to read.  I won’t force them on my kids–but I may choose them for a read aloud or just casually place them in one of our many book baskets.

Give my kids a book light. 

My kids go to bed early–even in the summer we stick to our 7:30-ish bedtime.   But with it being so light out, I do let them stay up a little longer reading in bed.  I make sure their book lights are fully charged.

We will be visiting different libraries.

 Its always fun to take a little trip to a nearby town and visit their library. Find out which one’s are in your local library’s network and you can even check out books.  However, even if you can’t checkout books, it’s always fun to take a look around. Check out their kids section–maybe they have an extra cozy area to read or a big fish tank to look at.  These visits are perfect for a rainy day or when yo need a break from too much sun.

Every day, I carve out regular reading time.

Ours is right after dinner(or after our after dinner walk).  We have about an hour or so to laze on the sofa or in bedrooms and just read.  I take out a book and announce it as reading time and my kids usually follow suit.  I sometime read aloud, sometimes we share things from books we are reading, or we all just sit and read silently to ourselves. We are a week in and this is working great!

During the summer months, I still limit screen time.

If given a choice, most kids will choose screen time over any other activity.  During the school year, we have screen time only on the weekends. I do loosen up(a bit) in the summer.  Screen time is from 4 to 5 each day–if we are home.  Otherwise – no screens.

UPDATE: My kids are getting older! Here’s how we are doing summer screentime now.

My kids will also be seeing me read more, lots more. 

During the school year, I read mostly after my kids are in bed.  But this summer–watch out!  I am going to be reading ALL THE TIME.  Kids who see their parents reading understand that reading is FUN and something many people CHOOSE to do. Modeling a behavior is very powerful!!

I will still be keeping up with some of my old tricks and may add a basket of books outside!!

How will you be encouraging your kids to read this summer?? I’d love to hear!!

Need more ideas to encourage reading?

Here are some  great ideas from a kid who LOVES to read.

Have a reluctant reader? These ideas will surely help.

Try giving your kids an allowance – for BOOKS!