Though the summer is a great time to get out and enjoy the outdoors, the long break is also a great opportunity for reading to be taken out of the classroom and be that fun, relaxing activity that kids want to do.
The key to creating motivated readers is engaging them in reading. “If they find it enjoyable and are reading about something they enjoy, then they will want to pick up a book,” explained Karen Gawen, Young People’s Services Supervisor from Sunshine Coast Council.
If you are looking to fuel a love for reading in your little one this summer, here are some tips:
Wherever you go, take a book with you – the beach, the park. In between playing, have a rest with a book. If travelling, download audio books from a library and have family story sessions. Hearing isn’t cheating! The more language children are exposed to the easier it is for them to read for themselves, as they have heard the words before.
Book clubs are a great way to spark a shared love for reading. You can all take turns reading recommended books by each family member, then chatting about the story.
On holidays take the opportunity to spend time each day reading with each other. Just because older children know how to read doesn’t mean they don’t want to be read to. If parents read a chapter a day from a great story it’s a wonderful bonding time plus the added benefit of aiding in their child’s literacy development.
Reading doesn’t have to be books either. While travelling play games and point out signs, make up stories, get children to make a silly sentence using the letters on number plates. So many of the old car games are still just as popular as ever.
Board games such as Scrabble, Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit have huge benefits. Children need to read the cards, make up words and through all this fun they are learning. There are so many different versions now to make them more fun for kids (one favourite is Harry Potter Scrabble!)
If they like console gaming get them to write a plot for a great game. All games have a storyline so see if they can make up other versions of their favourite game.
Karaoke is another fun way to read. Stage family karaoke nights, and choose songs they don’t know all the words too, meaning they have to read the prompter (a great fun way to keep reading!).
If singing isn’t your thing, put on a family play. Get the kids to write a story, create costumes and props then invite everyone over to watch the show.
It’s free, it’s air conditioned, and there’s stacks of activities happening over the break. As well as books, there are magazines, comics and even toys and games to borrow… with something to suit everyone.
If your little ones love their screen time, use free online resources such as Kodu or Scratch. These sites teach the concepts of coding and kids can create games or animations.
Get children to keep a summer journal and write what they’ve done while on holidays, what they felt and add in photos, tickets and souvenirs. Not only does it promote reading and writing skills, it’s a great memento to look back in years to come.
If they aren’t an avid reader of books find magazines, comics or non-fiction books on subjects they are interested in. Browsing through a surfing magazine or reading Garfield is reading.
According to the Australian Kids and Family Reading Report*, an overwhelming majority of kids ages 6-17 agreed that their favourite books are the ones they pick themselves, so pop along to the library and just let them browse. “The best thing we can do is to fuel their interest, celebrate and be excited they're reading and share their love for books. If we take an interest in it, they will too,” said Karen.
To find out more about the range of early literacy programs and items available for loan, just head to http://first5forever.org.au or pop into your local library.