OK, so summer’s here and every sort of teaching person at the kids’ school seems to be obsessed with making sure they read over the summer. They do, they really do. Mostly it’s not even under duress. Here’s what we do:
-Enroll in summer reading programs. The kids love getting free prizes. And since the free prizes in this case are almost always more books and not junky plastic things for me to step on barefooted in the middle of the night, it’s a win-win for all of us around here. Check your local library, bookstores (we’re signed up for the Barnes and Noble reading program here) and educational websites like the Scholastic Challenge
-Read yourself, momma! Yes, you. I know you’re busy. But if your library, like ours, has an adult summer reading program, it’s only fair that you sign up. Your kids will love it. And if they’re at all competitive, they’ll spend the rest of the summer trying to dominate you in reading hours. Besides, you get a free prize. When was the last time you got a free prize?
–Make it personal. Try books about places you’re visiting this summer or animals and creepy crawlies that live in your region — something that they can read and then personally experience.
-Plan it. After lunch every day, we read. OK, some of us nap…but those that don’t, read. I love it because it gives everyone a much needed break from each other, gives a little structure to our mostly spontaneous summer days, and gives us all a rest. None of them will admit it but they need a rest. And I surely do.
-Let them pick what to read. Within reason, of course. I’ve never been a fan of the “I know this book is violent/gross/attitude-y/somehow objectionable but hey, at least he’s reading” argument. There are enough wonderful children’s books out there that you should be able to find one you both like (if you have trouble, children’s librarians are pretty great with this one). I’m talking more about not forcing your 6-year old boy to read the Little House on the Prairie books with you when he’d prefer something with some actual boys in it. But maybe I’m the only one who needs to be told that.