How can I encourage my child to read during the summer?

Michele Borba

Here are nine parenting solutions to get kids reading, beat that dreaded summer reading slump, and hopefully rekindle that great love of the printed page.

1. Let them pick. Kids say a big reason they don’t read is that they don’t like what we selected for them. So get your child involved in the selection. If your child has difficulties finding the right book, talk to a children’s librarian, check into a resource on great books kids like to read, or ask other kids for book ideas.
2. Find the right level. The big trick is finding reading material appropriate to your child’s reading level -- not too high or not too low. Check your child’s last report card or reading achievement scores for his or her “Reading Level.”
3. Think outside the book. Don’t be too picky as to what your kid reads: cereal boxes, cartoons, the sports page, baseball cards, those new graphic comic book novels are fine. Find what piques your kid’s interest. What are his hobbies? What are other kids reading? 
4. Set aside time to read. Kids say the biggest reason they don’t read for fun is there isn’t enough time, so carve out a few minutes a day. Hint: eliminating just one TV show or activity will free up 30 minutes a week to read. Set aside a time where everyone reads and make it a family routine.
5. Make reading material available. Be sure reading material is easily accessible. Stash books in backpacks, bathrooms, cars, or on the dining table for those “just-in-case” lulls. 
6. Start a summer book club. Find other kids your child can read with. Or join up with a few parents to start your own kid-parent book club. Suggest the kids pick from their required school reading list (check the bottom of your kid’s backpack) or allow them to choose their own.
7. Become movie critics. Read a book, and then watch the movie together. Harry Potter, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or Hatchet are a few favorites. Then become movie critics and debate if the book or movie was better. 
8. Read out loud. Around the age of eight is when studies say kids stop reading for enjoyment. It’s also the age we usually stop reading aloud to our kids. So find one book to read out loud this summer. 
9. Read together. Dig through the bottom of your kids’ backpacks for their school required reading list. Then get two copies of each requirement: one for you and the other for your kid. It’s a great way to open up a dialogue with your child about a great book.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.