According to Phineas and Ferb, there’s 104 days of summer vacation. That’s 104 days to either do lots of texting, video gaming, wall-staring, etc … or 104 days to do productive, meaningful and life-altering activities. There are copious amounts of activities available to keep your children busy during the Summer, and I just recently read an article by Olivia Goldhill on Quartz Media about how we should have our children pick and choose which activities they are really interested in. According to the article, psychologists recommend you allow your children the opportunity to make a list of potential activities, then as the Summer progresses, when they come to you with “I’m bored”, you show them the list they created. This way, they are making decisions for themselves and are responsible for their own happiness and entertainment. One thing I hope you would encourage your children to add to their list is reading. Reading books extends far beyond the classroom (and is a skill that I truly believe can be practiced and cultivated even before the traditional school age). Summer is the perfect time to grow your child’s love of books and stories, and today I’d like to share 4 no duh reasons you kids need to read this summer.
Four Reasons Your Kids Need To Read This Summer
1. It will help them academically.
I think this is the most obvious result of summertime reading. Practice makes perfect, don’t ya know? The more your child reads, the more they will begin to master the skill. Their fluency will improve along with their comprehension, and in turn their academics will follow suit. If your little one has struggled with reading in the past, summer break is a low-pressure time to encourage them to practice, without impending homework looming over their heads.
2. If you find books they love, they might actually enjoy it.
Now this does take a little effort on your part, but if you help find books they are actually interested in, your children will likely enjoy reading. The key is taking the time to seek out books that reflect their interests, which may mean sitting down with your child and going over some of their favorite topics (hello, what a great bonding opportunity, too). Once they have a topic they like, find a few books that relate to it and watch the magic happen. My guess? Before you know it, they will be coming to you with all sorts of fun facts and anecdotes to share, and big puppy dog eyes begging for you to take them back to the library or bookstore for more. If you need help finding books once you know their interests, get my free master booklist.
3. It’s a productive activity.
Reading an entire book gives a feeling of great accomplishment. Making a list of books to read during the summer and checking them off one by one will help your child feel like they are making progress on something – which provides a nice structure during this structure-less time. While the pressure that a school setting might provide is not necessary in this case, the progress and goal setting will help keep a forward momentum. You can even make it into a real game with this awesome summer book scavenger hunt by Lu and Bean Read. They will get the feeling of accomplishment and pride as they progress, which is an amazing gift to give your children that will directly feed into their self confidence.
4. Their relationships will grow.
Whether it be the relationships they have with you, their siblings or their friends…books and reading can be the pathway to deeper connections. For example, sitting down with your child and cuddling up to read their favorite stories every night during the summer will inevitably lead to lasting connections. If this is something you do not normally incorporate into your daily routine with your children, summertime is an amazing opportunity to begin to build reading as a family into your life. Likewise, your children will have the content for meaningful conversations with family and friends about the stories they have been reading and the things they have been learning. If you commit to helping your child cultivate a love of reading all summer long, include their friends and help them build those bonds amongst their peers as well. This might require you to talk to other parents (which, as an introvert like me, I get it…it’s hard) but it could have very positive implications for your child and their friends.
I didn’t address the little ones, now did I? Even if your child is not school aged, Summer can be a perfect time to start integrating more books into their life. It’s a defined chunk of time (remember, 104 days) where you can set a reading goal for them. Maybe it’s to read 50 books. They still gain all the above-mentioned benefits, and it will help prepare them for a lifetime of book-loving. Don’t count those little guys out, my daughter is 2 and absolutely adores her bookshelf.
Now, I would hate to give you all these amazing reasons you need to encourage your child to read this summer, then leave you empty handed. If you are convinced at this point that your child absolutely needs to be reading this summer, I highly recommend you grab one of my curated summer reading packs. They are packages delivered to your door filled with age appropriate books, a themed tote bag, bookish items, exclusive access to online resources (booklists, activity ideas, etc) and an invitation to a private online community. This Summer’s theme is Animals – because, what kid doesn’t want to learn about animals and read stories with animal characters?
At some point, I will try to remember to share the books I plan on reading this summer for myself and for Addison. We are making a big move to the East Coast and so the start of our summer is a bit truncated, but we want to get lots of reading done and start marking books off our list. Are you committed to encouraging your children to read this summer?