Q: How can I make summer reading a fun activity for my child?
If you ask teachers what they most wish students would do during the summer months, they'll tell you, "Read!" If children keep practicing their reading skills, they will return to school in the fall ready to pick up where they left off.
To keep kids reading over the summer, treat it like any other summer activity. Let it be something kids can do when they feel like it. Show them how reading can be fun. Never make summer reading "homework."
Help your child make a connection between books and the simpler pleasures of childhood. This pleasure in reading will then last a lifetime.
Reading Is Fundamental's "Tips for Summer Reading" offers these suggestions to take a "summer approach" to reading.
Encourage a change of venue. Read books at the beach, at the pool, in a tent, or on the road.
Suggest that your child re-read a favorite book, and then find another book by the same author, or find one on the same topic.
Connect books with other summer activities sports books for a summer league player, for instance, or camping books for a camper.
Invite your child to read the newspaper with you.
Encourage your child to retell stories or parts of stories.
Let your child stay up past bedtime when a book is too good to put down.
Start your child on series fiction or thrillers. These "page turners" entice kids into a reading habit.
Watch movies, videos and plays on children's books. Read and compare what you saw.
Share your favorite books and magazines with your child. Especially during the summer, magazines are a great way to keep reading. They can be rolled up and stuffed into beach bags or backpacks. The articles aren't long and usually have pictures.
Look for lighter reading. Ask the librarian to recommend books kids love. Try joke books or other books that will make your child laugh.
Dr. Wayne Babcanec is the superintendent of Norwalk City Schools. His column appears every other Friday during the school year. This is his last School Matters column for this school year. For more information on Norwalk City Schools, call (419) 668-2779.