Don’t let the heat of summer fool you. It’s the perfect season to go outside and jump into…a book!

While the school year keeps kids and parents busy with schedules and homework, and the past three months have really amped-up the time devoted to at-home education via online learning, we are truly ready to plunge into an adventure that takes place between the pages. 

Some school districts have required or suggested books for summer reading. Local libraries often offer summer reading programs as well, but the real challenge is selecting the right book – genre, age-appropriate – for your child. And while some kids enjoy reading more than others, as parents, we want to keep reading FUN!

So how do we accomplish this task? 

Simply put, help your child select a book that is both interesting and at a comfortable reading level. Follow these easy tips on finding a book that’s “just right”  to ensure your child’s success. Then, remind them to just read because reading should be FUN, not a chore, and by the end of the summer, we want them to develop a lifelong love of reading.

Take it outside – Who says books have to stay inside? There is no better place to spend time in the summer than in the great outdoors. Once your child has selected her book, find a favorite spot and just read. Try a shady spot under a tree, the comfort of your back patio, or a cool fort built just for reading! A snack and a refreshing glass of lemonade may enhance the outdoor experience. Make it FUN!

Keep it indoors – Much of our summer days may be spent outside. Following an afternoon of swimming, hiking, or bike riding through the neighborhood, your child might need some well-earned time in the cool comfort of home. Build an indoor fort or create a quiet space and time to just read. If he is relaxed, the experience of reading will be more pleasurable.

Read together – If your child has selected a book that is challenging, don’t discourage her. Instead, read the book together. Alternate sentences, paragraphs, or pages – whatever system works best for you and your child. Just read. Eliminating frustration will work toward the goal of a life-long reader.

Model reading – What better way to motivate your child to read than to demonstrate your love of books! When your child is reading, take the moment to pull out your own book while still respecting their space. If your child is resisting summer reading, just read. Model by showing him the book(s) you want to read and let him know you plan to set aside time to enjoy the book(s). Possibly, he may catch you in the act when you sneak a moment for yourself!

Visit the library – There is no better resource than our local libraries. Now that we can visit them again, don’t miss the opportunity to spend some quality time perusing the aisles with your children. It is a perfect time and space to just read in the hushed tones of the library amidst stacks of old favorites and undiscovered gems. Check your local library’s current policy for borrowing books.

Make the most of this summer by encouraging your child to read anywhere and everywhere; the experience should be FUN, not burdensome. Allow your children to provide input into their selections as their choices will cultivate the love of lifelong reading. They will be more inspired to read when they have the privilege of choosing the books.

Continue to encourage and motivate them to – you guessed it – just read.

Helpful Resource: Find your school district’s elementary school summer reading lists here.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels