Skip the Summer Slump!

When I was in grad school, I remember reading that kids could avoid a lot of the summer slump by reading three books. That's it- three books over the course of the summer can help kids retain what they've learned from one school year to the next. To some kids, that sounds like a lot, too much, impossible. For others, that's one trip to the library.

Here's the thing- every kid I know likes stories. Movies, magazines, graphic novels, comics, books, imagination and pretend play, drawing, writing letters, listening to older family members. There are stories everywhere.

So, how do you bring those stories out, spark imagination, keep kids reading, or even help them start reading, over the summer?

Turns out, there are lots of ways, some which you might not have even thought of!

10 ways to keep kids engaged and reading over the summer to combat summer slump

Summer reading programs
Check your local library for their summer reading program. Seek out your local bookstores and see if they have programs, too. Barnes & Noble and Half Price books both have programs. Here in Texas, the grocery store chain HEB also has a summer reading program. Often the prize at the end of the summer is a free book which only encourages more reading! Plus, there are generally lots of fun events that accompany the summer programs.

Reading to younger siblings
Have your older kids read to younger siblings or relatives. This is a great way to keep everyone entertained for short periods of time throughout the week, or at a larger family event. Little ones often ask lots of questions about stories so this gives your older kids an opportunity to do some sneaky critical thinking about story, plot, word meanings, and many other features.

Reading on their own
If you have enthusiastic readers, let them read! If you have reluctant readers, work with them to find something that sparks their interest, but don't force the issue. Ask librarians for suggestions. Try nonfiction on a topic your child is interested in. Ask other parents what their kids are reading and enjoying. Try some graphic novels, comic books, or magazines, too. Reading isn't just for books!

Reading aloud
Do you read books aloud to your kids? Not just bedtime stories for younger kids, but bigger, longer books that you can share with older kids? Start this summer! Find a book that you're both interested in and set aside time each day to read a chapter. This could be bedtime, lunch time, an afternoon break. Take time to enjoy stories, words, and reading together and encourage each other to think about and discuss the story.

Audio books
Logging some hours in the car for vacation? Stock up on some fun audiobooks! Your kids might find a series, genre, or subject that they're interested in exploring further once they've listened to it. If you can find some short books, books with short chapters, or short story collections, those are great for day trips, days your running errands, or even to listen to during breakfast or lunch instead of watching TV.

Magazine subscriptions
Speaking of magazines, check some out! Libraries usually have lots of different subscriptions. The short articles, variety of topics, and variety of styles may appeal to a reluctant reader.

Book clubs
The library here has lots of tween and teen book clubs. If your library doesn't have one, maybe that's something your child could start with their friends for the summer. Everyone can suggest and vote on books to be read. This is great encouragement for critical and in-depth thinking about plot, storyline, themes, and lots of other features. It's also a good way to boost your child's confidence when it comes to sharing ideas and speaking in public.

Know some theatrical kids? Encourage them to choose a short play, read it, and then plan a performance for the neighborhood, the family, or a special picnic or BBQ. Understanding the story, planning the production, matching moods and actions to words on the page... it's all part of telling  the story. And the kids get there through reading.

Going on vacation? Have some fun day trips, staycations, or family visits planned? Have your kids decorate and keep a journal to document the fun. They could collect tickets, pictures, brochures, and other bits and pieces from a trip or event. Then, have them write about the event when they're home. Maybe they could write about their favorite part, or a funny mishap, or something they learned. Not only is it a fun memento of the summer, it's a great tool to use as story starters!

You know me, I'm a big library advocate. Make trips to the library a regular habit. Exposure to books from an early age helps create readers. It's also important for kids to see you reading for fun, not just because you have to. Some kids only see reading as a chore, but if you model different behavior, they will pick up on it and it may pique their interest.

How do you keep your kids engaged over the summer to prevent the summer slump?

10 ways to keep kids engaged and reading over the summer to combat summer slump

Linked up at Just Us Four, P is for Preschooler, The Grant Life, Nancherrow, 123 Homeschool 4 Me, The Jenny Evolution, Texas Women Bloggers, Life with the Crust Off.
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