If the media is to be believed, July 4th is the unofficial half-way point of Summer. The Baseball All-Star game is next weekend and in the next week or so the Fall fashions will hit the stores. Good luck trying to find a bathing suit in August, it’s nearly impossible, I know because I have tried.
Q: So what can a parent do to prevent Summer Brain Drain?
A: Summer reading
According to librarians Aubri Keleman and Sylvia Tag Summer reading helps readers continue to develop vocabulary and reading fluency. And it just so happens that something good for your brain can be a summer highlight too.
So how do you encourage Summer reading Keleman and Tag suggest the following:
- FIND A PLACE
When you were young did you have a reading nook, cranny, or corner? Nothing fancy or necessarily identifiable by friends and family as a reading space, but a place that settled your spirit and made the rest of world melt away.
- MAKE IT EASY
One of the best ways to encourage your kids to read is the simplest: have books around your home. For younger children, use large baskets or, even better, a cardboard box that you decorate together. Place these book stashes in the bedroom, the kitchen and the family room. Then, keep them full of new books and old favorites. Is there a book that you loved as a child? Check it out from the library and toss it into the stash.
- BRING A FRIEND
Take your child or teen book shopping. For younger readers, there are inexpensive “I Can Read” books, such as the “Little Bear” or “The Magic Tree House” series. Older readers might pick up a couple of paperbacks by Sharon Creech, Louis Sachar or Rick Riordan. Remember, let your child or teen choose. Then, buy two copies – one to keep and one to give away. Think of shipping the second copy to a friend or relative and start a reading conversation.
- EMBRACE BRAIN CANDY
Allow your kids to take the lead during the lazy days of summer. The comic collections of Calvin & Hobbes count as reading, as does Sports Illustrated magazine, and the Twilight series. Read your own brain candy selections in plain sight. When kids see their parents reading, they are much more likely to engage in reading themselves.
- HAVE FUN
Is there a special dinner, an art activity, or a trip that you can tie into your reading? Recently, after reading “The Afterlife” by Gary Soto, a local teen book group celebrated by eating Mexican pastries and cracking open a piñata. Or, maybe going out to Mallard’s to talk about what you’ve read is all you need!
Be sure to check your local library to see if they have a Summer Reading Program. This is a great way to get your child excited about reading and get some great prizes along the way.
Writing on the Sidewalk