Summer break. It is the time that kids like to go out and play. This could also be a time that families go on vacation.
They have plenty of time to do this, as the average summer break for kids in the United States is 10 weeks.
With the summer break being so long, there is a risk that kids could regress with skills they learned in the classroom. This means that they need to find other ways to keep up with these skills, such as reading skills.
How do you keep a child’s reading proficiency up in the summer? What are the best ways to go about summer reading?
Read on for some of our best tips.
Use Online Materials
One of the best tips that we can offer you is to use online materials to help keep up a child’s reading skills. This can be good for those kids who do not have any assigned summer reading or for those kids who can choose their own books over the summer.
When you use our website, you can find a wide selection of books for kids to read. You can narrow down your choices in a few different ways.
The first thing you have to do is look into your kid’s level of reading. For those who are average, this should be easy. It should match whatever grade level they are about to enter.
However, for advanced kids, you may need a reading level that is a little bit higher than their current grade. For kids who are a little behind, perhaps start with a lower reading level.
Once you know what reading level you want for your child, you can look through that selection of books and activities. From there, you can determine which one will be the best fit for your child.
Join a Summer Program
Another thing that you can do for your child is to enroll them in a summer program that encourages reading. These programs can group them with other children around their age and possibly even encourage them to have fun with reading.
Some of these programs even encourage children to bring their own reading material from home.
Doing this can have a few benefits for your child. The first benefit is obviously that it can make it easier for them to keep up with reading skills that they developed in school.
The other benefit is that it can give them a social opportunity while they are reading.
Let’s face it, with 10 weeks off during the summer, kids are eventually going to get bored and may want to play with other children their own age. A summer program can give them that opportunity while they are in an educational environment.
As a parent, this is an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.
Use Reading Activities
Developing reading skills does not have to be limited to reading books. You can also do it by encouraging children to partake in reading activities.
For some children, it can be more fun for them to think of it as a game instead of an assignment. With this mindset, it could help encourage the child to want to read on their own instead of you having to push them into it.
Get some reading activities that you think your child will like. Then, have them complete a couple every day depending on how long you think one activity will take.
The best part is if you mix up the reading activities, it can help keep the idea fresh in the child’s mind instead of it getting too repetitive.
Make Your Own Games
To go further with reading activities, you can even make your own games out of it in the real world. Eventually, a lot of families end up taking a summer vacation together before the new school year starts.
For that summer vacation, your family is likely going to have to travel to get to your vacation destination. To pass the time, you can make it educational for your child and ask them to read certain things along the way.
An example can be if you are driving in a car on a road trip. There, you may have a few hours to kill in the car.
During the journey, you can ask your child to read certain signs. This can be exit signs, names of restaurants, states on license plates, signs for gas and hotels, and more. The point is that you are trying to make reading fun for your child while passing the slow time that you have getting to your destination.
This can also apply if you are flying to a destination. In an airport, there are likely going to be signs for gates. Have your child find those signs and read them.
There can also be signs for baggage claim and the names of cities that your airport has flights to. See if your child can read any of those city names while you are waiting around your gate.
Create a Reward System
Are you having extra trouble getting your child to read? Is there no way you can convince them to do it on their own?
In this situation, it may be time to break out the big guns. Some children may respond to having a reward system that encourages them to do their reading.
A reward system that gives a child something they want after their task can help them focus on the prize at the end.
Some parents may think that this is too close to bribing. However, you can turn it into a life lesson.
One argument you can make there is that adults go to work with the reward of money at the end of the week for all of the hours that they work. Instead of working, children have to read in this system.
There are several things you can use for rewards. If you want simpler rewards, give younger children extra time to watch TV or play video games.
For longer-term rewards, tell children that if they read for a long enough period, they can get a new toy. Or, for older children that may have grown out of that, you can even use cash as a bonus to any allowance that you may give them.
Figure out what your child likes more than anything else and use it as part of a reward system for reading.
Finally, you and your child should set goals for what you want to achieve in reading over the summer. This process helps hold both of you accountable to get the task done by the end of the summer.
Going through this process also helps you increase the odds of achieving certain goals. That is because people who set goals are 43% more likely to achieve them.
With that in mind, you should come up with a realistic goal for your children to achieve by reading over the summer.
If your child wants to read a certain book series, set a goal for them to finish a certain amount by the end of the summer. For example, if they want to start reading the Harry Potter Books, it may be realistic to finish the first three or four books before summer is over.
It does not have to be about certain books, though. This can simply be about reading a certain amount of time per day for a certain number of days per week. One goal you could try is to read for 30 minutes per day for five days a week.
Get an idea of how fast your child can read and how much tolerance they have for reading. Then, propose the goals that you have for reading this summer to your child and see what kind of reaction they have. If they do not give you much resistance, it could be a goal worth shooting for.
Maintain Reading Proficiency
Summer vacation is just as important of a time as ever to work on your child’s reading proficiency. With around 10 weeks off from school, they need to make good use of such a big educational gap.
You can do this by enrolling them in summer programs and even doing some reading activities on the side. If your child resists this idea, you can try using a reward system and set goals for them to strive for.
Or, you could buy reading activities. Check out our stock of reading skills material here.