Don’t let reading stop just because it’s summer time. Here are some great ways to encourage reading:
- Keep books easily accessible to your children. Put some on a bedside table or on a low, reachable shelf.
- Take your children to the library frequently.
- Visit a bookstore (or browse an online bookstore) together. Ask your children which books look interesting to them.
- Don’t worry if your child only wants to read comic books, or books about a specific topic. Let them choose the books and they’ll be more enthusiastic about reading.
- Consider e-books or audio books as well. Some children do better with listening to a book, and then gradually will become more interested in reading.
- Surprise your children with a couple of books they would be interested in. Even better, have them shipped to your house with your child’s name on the package. All ages enjoy getting surprise packages in the mail.
Have 5th grade or older children? Select 2-3 books you want them to read over the summer in addition to the books they want to read. Don’t forget to include both fiction and non-fiction. Maybe a biography and some poetry for example. Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to get a child to read a topic they aren’t interested in. Don’t give up though. Simply give calm encouragement and bribe them. “Bribe them to read?!!” Yes. It’s easy and there are no downfalls (except maybe for your pocketbook.)
Give small rewards for finishing each book. Inexpensive things like notebooks, colorful tape, special pens, small toys, etc. Most of the rewards we use come from the $1 section at Target or were found on clearance. For older children you can use rewards like a trip for frozen yogurt, a movie rental, iTunes song, etc. As long as the reward comes quickly after they finish their book (immediately for younger children) and within 48hrs if possible for older children it doesn’t really matter what you use. Just choose something you know your child really wants. I try to stick to the $1 – $2 range for a single book and $5 – $6 range for 6 books (for my older child). Adjust this however you need for your children and their reading needs. Reluctant readers do better with a reward after every book.
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