Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Challenge Your Kids to Read This Summer!

...and to celebrate, I've got some great ideas for keeping kids busy with reading this summer!

According to the June/July issue of Scholastic Parent & Child magazine (yes, I read parenting magazines, don't judge me!), children only need to read four books to keep their literacy skills consistent during the summer months. To some kids, four books may seem like a lot, but the right book can keep a child reading at a never-before-seen pace!

I love that the families I work for allow me to bring in and brainstorm projects with their kids. It's fun practice for me and entertaining for the kids, and I love having the freedom to plan projects that are fun and educational! To get kids to read this summer, I've dreamed up (and researched) some great "challenges" that I'll be trying out with my young readers this summer. It helps to have the kids participate in the planning because it will get them motivated to start reading!

Host A Prize-Worthy Read-A-Thon

Look to your local public library for organized, community-wide challenges, or create your own! (Pssst...if you live in Marblehead, Abbott Library is hosting a great summer-long challenge, and registration begins on June 30th!)

For every 10 books (or more/less) your child reads or listens to (keep a running list on the fridge/bedroom door), celebrate with a trip to the bookstore or an ice cream date. Our local library will be giving out prizes throughout the summer and then celebrating with an ice cream party in August.

This is a great way to get very young readers (preschool/kindergarten) to participate in the challenge with older siblings/neighbors/friends, and it might even help to give double-points for when an older sibling reads to a younger one!

Make It Visual

Delayed gratification is tough for people of all ages, but especially for kids. For some kids, a visual motivator may work better than a hand-written list of books. To get your child excited for the reading challenge, have them create a "Reading Jar" with you. Take a large mason jar, decorate it (with stickers, glitter, whatever you like) and keep a bag of colorful pom-poms nearby. Everytime your child reads or listens to a book, he or she can put a pom-pom in the jar. When the jar is full, pick a way to celebrate! This gives your child a visual motivator to refer to throughout the summer. (Your child may be familiar with this idea, it's often used in classrooms to reinforce positive behaviors!)

Host a Story-Writing Party

Know a group of creative kids? Send out an invite a few weeks ahead of time to give the young authors a chance to draft their 1-2 page stories before the party. Then, set up in a tent in the backyard (or fort in the living room) and read the stories by flashlight. Give out awards for "biggest scare," "silliest story," "best character name," and other awards highlighting the unique aspects of each story. Celebrate the young authors with a make-your-own-pizza dinner to wrap up the party and discuss their favorite story moments!

Host a Book Swap For You & One For the Kids, Too!

Young readers learn by example, and are more likely to love reading if you do too. Encourage reading among their friends (and yours!) by hosting a book-swap. Each guest brings a book from their own shelf and gets to trade it for a new read. This will get the young readers to not only read, but also discuss books with their friends, which is great practice for school book discussions and assignments!

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