Escape the Dog Days of Summer with a Book
(Photo by Nicole De Khors from Burst)
Although the long, hot “dog” days of summer are here, we still have several weeks ahead of us before school starts. In case your children haven’t been great about reading so far, these lazy days are perfect for getting back on track. Reading is like exercise for the brain - you lose reading skills when you don’t read just like you lose muscle when you don’t exercise. Take the time every day to make reading a priority from now on. It's also a good time to check in with your child’s school to see if there are any summer reading assignments that your child is required to complete before school starts.
While it may not be difficult to find the time to read for at least 30 minutes a day, it may be challenging to motivate your child to read. Here are a few ways to help get them excited about reading:
Model reading. If they see you reading for fun, they are more likely to do the same. Show them that reading doesn’t have to be a chore, but rather a way to relax and unwind especially after a busy day of activities.
Find fun places to read. Reading by the pool or beach, in the car or at the airport while you travel are all popular places for summer reading, but spice it up by reading in a more unique place such as a hammock, on a porch swing, on a blanket under a shady tree or even in an indoor fort.
Spend time at your local library browsing for different types of books other than what your child may normally read. The local library is an ideal (and free) resource for discovering new books. Allow enough time for your child to read a few pages of a book to see if it catches their attention. They may discover a new author, genre or even a new series that they’d like to try. If you can get them hooked on a new series of books, then they will have a lot of reading material to last them for the rest of the summer and into the school year.
Create a reading challenge or contest. Set a reading goal with your child (i.e. a number of books, pages or number of minutes of reading a day) and let them help decide on a reward once that goal is achieved. Keep it simple - a trip to get ice-cream or an extra 30 minutes at the pool/beach are good enough.
While you may not need to start your back-to-school shopping quite yet, now is the time to take advantage of the remaining days of summer to get prepared for the upcoming school year by making reading a priority again. Pick up a good book, find a comfortable place to relax and enjoy the benefits and fun of reading for the rest of the summer!