Make books part of summer

Reading Workshop

June 02, 1999|By Susan Rapp | Susan Rapp,Village Reading Center

As summertime approaches, children's thoughts turn to swimming, baseball and -- reading? Why not? Summer is the perfect time to practice the skill of reading. By experiencing a variety of family reading activities, you will be helping your child make a successful, confident transition to the next grade. Here are some suggestions to keep them reading this summer.

Whet their appetites. Obtain a book list appropriate for your child's age from your local or school librarian or use the Children's Choice list from the International Reading Association ( Check out a few books and read a page or two until your child gets "hooked" on some.

Stroke their interests. Relate reading to your child's interests and hobbies. If she child has a favorite pastime, she might enjoy reading one of the many books or magazines dealing with that topic. If you have a pet, find factual books about that animal or books that feature animal heroes.

Give a gentle push. Go to the library and sign up for the Summer Reading Games. Ask your child's teacher to suggest book titles and make a contract with your child to read a certain number of books over the summer. Keep a list of the books on the refrigerator, and check them off as they are read and discussed. Then give your child a reward for completing the list.

Turn the tide. Many publishers produce summer activity books geared for each grade level to help children keep up their reading skills in a nonthreatening manner. Two sources are: Summer Bridge, available from Rainbow Publishing (801-268-8887) and Summer Smarts for grades K-4, from Great Source Education Group (800-289-4490).

Dive right in. Go to book stores or yard sales (gently worn books are just as enjoyable as new ones). Let your child select some books to take on vacation.

Don't go overboard. Try not to push reading on your child, but use opportunities as they arise to point out reading in the environment or to read "tidbits" in waiting rooms. Don't insist on long reading periods. Just 15 minutes of reading each day in the summer will help your child keep her reading skills sharp, and this can be broken into smaller time segments. And the best thing about summer reading is that she can choose whichever books she wants to read!

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