Summer is a great time to link purposeful reading to what you are doing as a family. Here are five simple ways to make summer reading goals easy and fun:
If you are going to the park, take some favorite books along, for both you and your child. After she plays on the swings, slide, or monkey bars, together take a 5-minute reading break, on a special bench or in the shade under a tree. Depending on how long you are at the park, take two, three, or more reading breaks in between play. When you join in the break, you are subtly reinforcing the importance and enjoyment of reading.
Tie activities to corresponding books. For example, if you are going to a baseball game, get a book or two out of the library to read about baseball beforehand. Three examples are Ballpark by Eileen R. Meyer, The Everything Kids Baseball Book by Greg Jacobs, and Curious George at the Baseball Game by Margaret Rey and H.A. Rey
On a nice night, set up a small tent or make one using a sheet or blanket in the backyard. Grab a flashlight and your child’s favorite bedtime story (or stories) and read them in the tent before going back into the house to bed.
At the pool or beach, stretch out on a towel or blanket for a “read and dry” break. Challenge her to use her finger or a stick to print a new word (that she has just learned) in the sand.
Have a “Book Club Play Date Break.” When your child has a friend over for a play date, have the children take a short read-and-snack break. Let them take turns reading a page of the book to each other. After reading, while they’re having a snack, encourage them to talk about the story. Ask simple questions like “What was your favorite part?” “Where did this story take place?” “Who was the main character?” etc.
By being creative and making reading part of everyday activities, reading becomes a memorable aspect of summertime fun!
Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.