With picnics, vacations, and lazy days to look forward to, it is easy to overlook one of the most important things a child can do during the summer—read. Even though there are lots of reasons not to read, it is important to make it a top priority.
Rachel Wad ham, BYU's education and juvenile collections librarian and a strong proponent of summer reading, said, "Reading is important. Period, capitalized, and underlined." She explained that it is crucial for children to be good readers today to better understand and interact with the world around them, to become critical thinkers, and to prepare for jobs of the future.
Wadham Offers Her Top 10 Tips to Help Families Become Engaged in Summer Reading
Tip 1: Make Reading a Habit
The best thing a parent can do for a child is to make reading an integral part of the home. If it doesn't happen all year round, it is not going to happen during the summer.
Tip 2: Use Summer as Momentum
To start the habit of reading in the home, use summertime as a momentum to get going. Once school starts, the momentum will continue and reading will become a focus in the family.
Tip 3: Make It Relevant
When children find a reason to do something, they are more likely to continue doing it. As you prepare for a vacation, check out books about your destination. If it is a national park, check out fiction and nonfiction books about the history of the park or how it was developed. If your children are interested in animals, find books on the wildlife you will find there. Enrich your vacations by connecting deeply with the background and culture of the area.
Tip 4: Make an Activity Out of It
When you hear, “I’m bored,” take your family on a fun outing to the library. Let them roam free and find books that spark their interest. After checking books out, stop and get a treat they can munch on at home while reading.
Tip 5: Take Advantage of Summer Reading Programs
Almost every library has a free summer reading program that is often competitive and offers rewards. If you have a competitive child, use it. If they aren't competitive, they can still have a sense of accomplishment as they enjoy recording and watching their reading progress.
Tip 6: Make It a Family Affair
Summer reading is for the whole family. Kids are observant and watch what their parents do. If reading is important to them, kids will usually follow. It is great when fun summer reading is a family affair.
Tip 7: Define Reading Broadly
Explore all kinds of books. Read fiction, nonfiction, scholarly articles, and magazines. Whatever you decide to read, just enjoy it!
Tip 8: Ask a Librarian
If you don't know where to begin, talk with a librarian who is trained to get you started. They will ask questions about your hobbies, passions, or favorite TV shows. Once they learn more about you, they can direct you to books you will enjoy.
Tip 9: Challenge Your Reading Identity
Don't limit yourself by reading only one genre of book. If you haven't read fiction in a while, stretch yourself! It may surprise you how many different types of literature you like.
Tip 10: Just Start!
Reading is a matter of practice, and practice makes perfect. If you don't consider you or your child a very strong reader, that is okay! Challenge yourself and don't set limitations on the number or types of books you think you should be reading. Start a book and see where it takes you.
Summer reading is something that anyone can do, and it can lead your family down wonderful paths. Choose to make this the summer in which reading becomes an integral part of your home.
Find the full list of summer reading recommendations from Wadham here!