“I don’t like to read.”
“Reading is boring.”
As a writer and avid reader, these comments by my son wounded my literary soul. We struggled to get him to read, and he stayed below average in his reading level throughout his elementary school years.
One summer, though, I took my kids to a bookstore and let them pick out whatever they wanted. One of my son’s friends had read Where the Red Fern Grows, so he selected that book. A few days later, I heard him crying in his bed. When I asked what was wrong, he showed me that book cover and told me the heart-wrenching ending. I knew we had a breakthrough.
Isn’t that what we want for our kids—to read not just for knowledge but for pure enjoyment?
5 Summer Reading Tips for Parents
- Make reading fun. What are your child’s interests? Find biographies about people who do those same things. Consider nonfiction on topics of interest. Create cozy nooks, crannies, and hammocks for leisurely reading. As your kids’ age and the required reading becomes more strenuous, encourage them to read books for pure delight.
- Make books accessible. For younger kids, keep books in several places and easy to reach. Place a basket of stories suitable for bedtime next to the bed or on a shelf with books at eye level. Consider giving your teenager a budget for books.
- Let your kids pick the book (you have final approval). Take them to libraries, bookstores, book sales, and discount stores. Suggest they find out what other kids are reading. Encourage your older kids to get a library card and use it. Visit the ice cream store or coffee shop after the book shopping to associate buying books with something fun.
- Read together. My youngest daughter and I read the Anne of Green Gables and The Little House on the Prairie series. When my son read The Help in school, I read it along with him. We were able to talk about racism and current affairs. Our family would listen to audiobooks on long car rides. We’d ask questions like, “What do you think will happen next?” “How do you think the book will end?” “What do you like or not like about the book?” Without your kids knowing it, you aid reading comprehension and promote critical thinking.
- Praise your child when you catch them reading. Show interest in the topic. Remember reading a newspaper, magazine, devotional or the Bible is still reading, so ask them what they like about an article or story. Most importantly, cheer them on when they finish a book.
Sally Cressman writes about faith, family, and home on her website, www.sallycressman.com. You’ll receive FREE“31 Biblical Affirmations for Mom” cards when you sign up. Connect with her on Instagram at @sacressm