Summer Reading Ideas for Children
How are you keeping your little one busy this summer? Bonding over books is an excellent way to spend summer vacation. A love of stories often begins at a young age, and grown-ups can do a lot to help their child learn and love to read.
Here are some summer reading ideas to foster a lifelong love of literature with your little ones.
Encourage Reading Habits
Try these five activities to get your little daydreamer excited about reading:
1. Set Reading Goals
Encourage children to set personal reading goals for the summer. They can challenge themselves to read a certain number of books by the time school's back in session. Create a fun reward system to celebrate their achievements and encourage them to read as much as possible.
2. Schedule Family Reading Time
Make reading a family activity by designating a specific time each day for everyone to gather and read together. Whether you take turns reading to each other or quietly read to yourselves, this experience becomes something that everyone anticipates.
3. Join a Library Program
Many libraries organize summer reading programs for children. These programs often include reading challenges, achievement certificates, book recommendations and discussions, and sometimes author visits. The library is an excellent place for young readers as they usually have regular storytime in the kids' area.
4. Find New Opportunities to Read—Even Without a Book
Just because you're not hauling a pile of books around doesn't mean you can't read with your little daydreamer. Without a proper storybook, they can use their growing reading skills in the real world. Whether it's identifying letters or words on billboards, shirts, or packages or reading menu descriptions, you're sure to find plenty of things to read when you're on the go this summer.
5. Dress Up or Act Like Book Characters
Many kids love playing dress-up, so why not incorporate their favourite book characters into storytime cosplay? Whether you draw a nose and whiskers on their face during If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, or put braids in your hair like Pippi Longstocking, dressing up makes reading together even more fun. No costumes? Instead, you can create snacks that align with the books (if you're feeling incredibly ambitious, try tackling the spread on The Very Hungry Caterpillar).
Tips for Successful Reading Time
Like anything new, it can take a few tries to find your stride with reading alongside your little one—especially if they have difficulty sitting still. Keep your expectations in check; sometimes, reading together will be beautiful, and other times it may feel a bit discouraging, but always try again.
Here are some tips to make reading together more successful:
- Find a quiet place to read with minimal distractions
- Hold your child close while you read
- Have fun by using silly voices and sounds when you read
- Point at the words as you read them
- Let your toddler choose the books
The Best Times and Places to Read
It's summer, so your usual schedule is out the window. That's okay; you can still incorporate reading into your little one's day. Make reading part of your morning or evening routine. Once it's an established habit, it feels more natural and enjoyable for kids.
But because school's out, there's no need to stick to reading on the same couch day after day. Take advantage of the summer weather by encouraging reading in outdoor spaces. Whether it's a picnic at the park, lounging in a hammock, or reading under a shady tree, being in nature can enhance the reading experience.
Some kids like a dedicated place to let books guide their imaginations. Help your little daydreamer create a cozy reading nook with excess pillows, stuffed animals, lights, and a pile of books to take them on imaginary adventures.
The Benefits of Reading with Children
Whether your little daydreamer is a few months old or entering the tween years, reading is an excellent way to enrich their days. Stories and reading provide many benefits for little ones, including:
- Time away from screens
- Exposure to new words and ways of using language
- Sparked imagination and stimulated curiosity
- Brain development, ability to focus, and concentration
- Consistent time together to connect over books
- Learning about the world, different cultures, and different perspectives
- Teaching them empathy and how to handle challenging feelings
Studies show that if you read to your little daydreamer daily, you expose them to almost 300,000 more words by the time they start kindergarten than children who aren't read to consistently. If you read to them a lot, that number can be closer to one million more words.
The Captivating World of Books
Summer provides an excellent opportunity to inspire children to become lifelong readers. Remember, reading is not just about gaining knowledge but also about exploring new worlds, nurturing creativity, and finding tales that resonate.
Happy summer reading!