Summer reading programs aren’t just for bookworms. Children with short attention spans, hyperactivity, reluctant readers or kids who are just more inclined to enjoy physical activities can get excited about reading, too. With this guide, you can transform a reluctant reader into an eager reader by summer’s end!
If your child historically hasn’t been a big fan of reading, there are a few steps you can take to prep them for success:
- Meet with their teacher before school lets out. Teachers are a great resource for advice, tips and tricks for motivating and encouraging kids to read.
- Make an appointment to have their eyesight checked. You might be surprised how many kids have vision problems that go undetected and make reading troublesome. I’ve seen this first-hand with my own child.
- Do a little parental sleuthing. Once you know why you’re child isn’t into reading you’ll be able to offer the right books and experiences to get them excited.
Once you’ve got your child on board, you can start looking for ways to make reading more intriguing for them. Here are some of my favorite tricks that I’ve used with my kids:
- Make a connection. Encourage your child to read books they can connect with whether it is with the characters, setting, theme or style of writing. Find future reads by the same author or similar theme.
- Be practical. Many kids love “how to” books like how to build a fort, make a homemade volcano, learn archery or improve your baseball pitching skills.
- Promote pictures. Find non-fiction and fiction books with pictures on subjects your child enjoys. Books with pictures tend to be less overwhelming for children than just text.
- Leverage technology. Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Libraries offer eBooks, audio and video books. TumbleBooks also offers video books for beginner readers through grade 12.
- Find their hero. Most kids have a favorite athlete, scientist, historical person, musician or artist. Help them find a biography on their reading level about their favorite person.
- Keep them current. Introduce your kids to the wonderful world of magazines where they can stay current on their favorite sports teams, nature, animals, hobbies or music.
- Dish over dinner. Have your kids sit and read a book while you make dinner, then dish you the details of the story they just read while you all eat together.
You can find summer reading resources from the DoD Morale, Welfare and Recreation Summer Reading Program, through your military installation and at your local community library. If you are not located near an installation and would like to participate, you can register for DoD’s Virtual Summer Reading program and earn a reading incentive. Happy reading!