When school lets out for the year, it is tempting to want to toss those disgusting backpacks, throw away all the paperwork for the previous year, and just not think about schoolwork for a few months. Homeschool parents might just want to shut the door on the homeschool room or the cabinet where curriculum is kept. But there is one thing we should hang on to through the summer.
If you've been struggling with your child recently in school, it is even more tempting to not do anything that resembles schoolwork just so you won't have to deal with that conflict. It would be nice to enjoy being with your child again. Don't worry--you can!
The one thing you must hang on to is reading. But please don't think about "Reading" as a subject to teach. I'm talking about SUMMER READING. Not assigned reading. Not reading logs and charts and comprehension questions. Just...reading...for fun...for pleasure. Do you know that kind of reading?
If reading sounds like a chore to you or your child, I suggest working to change that thinking! Here are some tips to get you started:
Does your child have a library card? Just walk in to your local library and ask. They will be happy to help. It's free.
Check out your library's website today. In our state, there is a state-wide summer reading program that you can sign your children up for. There are incentives, prizes, and activities to get involved in at local libraries across the state. Enroll your kids!
Schedule a day each week to go to the library. Please don't tell your child they can only get 1 book. I cannot tell you the number of times I have heard parents say that to their child. Picture books don't take a week to read. When my older girls were little, we took a cart and got up to 50 books every week. If you want your child to read, they need lots of books to choose from at their fingertips!
But they will lose them. Possibly, yes. Get a basket or crate where library books are kept and put your bossy or tidy child in charge of keeping up with that. Tell them, "this week there are 35 books" and watch them police their siblings. You know which child to pick.
Display your progress! One year, my sister cut tons of circles from construction paper and wrote the title of each book she and her little girls read. They put them on the wall and made a long, giant, colorful caterpillar. They were so excited watching it get longer and longer. If you don't want to write titles, you could just add a link to a paper chain for each book read.
Set aside reading time each day. You can come up with a cute name for it if you like. D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read), S.S.R. (Sustained Silent Reading--Ramona Quimby style) are some choices. Of course, if your children are young, you will be the one reading to them. Cuddle up on the couch, lay on the floor, find a cozy spot and let them choose the books. Set a timer, if you like. If they are older, you can send everyone to their own favorite spot. Bonus: You get some quiet time!
Be a good example. Let your children see you reading! Make sure they see you reading books, not just your phone. If you are reading on Kindle, announce that you are going to read your book now so they will know you aren't just scrolling social media. Examples matter.
Set goals and celebrate them! Maybe your family wants to read 100 books this summer. If they are older, you might have to go by minutes/hours read. Set a goal and celebrate when they reach it. A good celebration to me involves ice cream and a trip to the bookstore.
Work to bring the love of reading to your children, because children who love to read will be life-long learners.
And plus, it's fun! If you don't associate reading with summer fun, what can you do to change that in your house today?
“One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by.” — Jeanette Walls