I don’t know about you, but I love to read, and I devour books whenever I have the time. I especially love reading in the summer, when I can read outdoors by the lake or on my deck while soaking up some sunshine. Because I know how special books are and how they can transport you to another time and place, I want my children to have this same love for reading, and I encourage them to read often. My eldest definitely inherited my bookworm DNA – she has been known to cry when there is nothing new to read in the house, necessitating emergency visits to the library or local bookstore. My youngest, on the other hand, needs a little prodding to read, and doesn’t think to reach for a book on his own, so I am always looking for ways to ignite the spark within him.
What can you do this summer to encourage your little bookworm? Read on for some great ideas!
Join a summer reading club. Check with your local library to see if they offer a program. Many have free clubs for different age groups and even include a free book to take home. The younger years will have more of a storytelling approach and there is often a craft session as well, where kids can make their own bookmark or put together their very own book. For older children, the format is more like a book club, with everyone reading the same selection and discussing afterwards. If your library doesn’t offer a reading club, consider starting one at home with your children by setting aside time each week to read a book, discuss it together and do your own complementary craft.
Visit a new library or bookstore. If you live in a small town, visiting a large public library in a neighbouring city can be a fun activity. Inter-library loans are often available, so you can even take books out and return them to your local library when done. Alternatively, if you live in a big city – visit a quaint, small town library to discover some hidden treasures. Going to a retail bookstore can also be a lot of fun and great for rewarding your reader with a new book treat! Large chains like Chapters or Coles usually have a café so you can linger for awhile and have a snack, as browsing and reading can work up quite the appetite.
Motivate with a movie. Choose a book that has been made into a movie so that when your child is done reading, they can enjoy the film version. It’s a great “reward” for kids, especially if you include popcorn and other goodies for the screening. Take time to compare and contrast after the movie, discussing what was the same, what was missing, and if the characters were as they had imagined them. Some picture books that have been made into movies include; The Cat in the Hat, Madeline and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. For older children, consider Charlotte’s Web, How to Train Your Dragon and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Play a reading game or make a craft. There are tons of great ideas on Pinterest or the Internet for DIY games like Reading Tic-Tac-Toe or a word version of the classic Memory game. Scrabble Junior is always a great choice for young readers as it has colourful illustrations to go along with words. Making a simple DIY book with your child can give them a sense of accomplishment and will encourage budding writers. Use plain white paper for the inside and add a sheet of coloured paper for the cover. Staple together to create a book that can be filled with whatever stories their imaginations can dream up.
Most importantly, set aside some time every day where screens are not allowed and reading is encouraged. Read to your kids every night before bed when they are little. As they get older, encourage them to read their bedtime story aloud to you. Make it a habit to have reading time before lights out every night and soon the whole family will look forward to quiet time on a nightly basis. Mom and Dad might even enjoy a little reading time before bed.