Are you concerned about summer learning loss or summer slide? One way to prevent a loss of academic skills over the summer is to get your child to read more over the summer.
Be a good role model. Pick up a book during the day, have your kids see you reading. Start a family reading time in the afternoon or after dinner or whenever works best for you.
Keep a variety of reading materials in the house: children’s magazines, graphic novels, children’s books.
Listen to a children’s audiobook in the car when running errands or going on a road trip. Or, with children who are too old for a nap but still need a rest in the afternoon, have them listen to an audiobook while resting.
Write short notes for your child to read. Leave a note on their night stand for them to read in the morning. Put in a note in their lunch for camp. Leave a treasure hunt of notes around the house and have them find something (maybe a new book!)
Visit the library regularly with your child. Allow them to choose books that interest them and choose books for yourself as well! Ask the librarians if you need help selecting books- they’re here to help!
Attend a library program! Whether it be a storytime, craft session, or STEM program, they’ll be improving their literacy in a fun, engaging way.
Read aloud with your child. Even older elementary aged children enjoy and benefit from reading toAre gether. You can read a page aloud and then have them read a page aloud.
Dig deeper into the story. Pause while reading together and ask questions, “How do you think [the character] felt when that happened?” or “Why do you think [the character] felt this was a good idea?”
Point out the relationships between words. Explain how related words have similar meanings, like know and knowledge. Point out how wild and wilderness are spelled the same but pronounced differently.
Read the book, then watch the movie. Maybe choose a book to read together or a book your child can read on their own that has a movie based on it that you can watch after finishing the book.
Get them in the habit of bringing something to read every time you leave the house. Whether it is waiting in line at a store or needing a time out at the pool or beach, your child will benefit from getting in the habit of always having something to read with them.
Avoid the TV reward and reading punishment. Give books as gifts or rewards.
Talk to your child about books that you enjoyed and why you liked them, even if they are way over your child’s head, you can find a theme or plot point that your child can relate to and learn from; engaging with you and hearing how you liked a book might help your child think about and be able to talk about why they liked a book.
Play word games. Tongue twisters. Or games like, “”A’ my name is Anna and I come from Alabama and in my basket I carry apples; ‘B’ my name is Ben and I come from Birmingham and in my basket I carry blueberries” go through the alphabet, alternating turns with your child.
Look for a series of books. Oftentimes if kids get into a series, they want to read the entire series. We are here to help you find series that your child may like.
Create a cozy reading nook in your home. Maybe with a bean bag chair or a fun chair that hangs from the ceiling or a pile of colorful pillows. Hang out in the spot with your child, cuddle and read together.
Kaila Ward is the Youth Services librarian at Middlesex Public Library. She is a graduate of Rutgers University with a Master’s degree in Library Information services.
Theresa Bond is the Marketing and Community Outreach Coordinator for Middlesex Public Library. A former teacher, she homeschooled both of her children through high school and has worked with children for more than 30 years.