Reading is one of my favorite things. Fortunately, both of my sons love books too. I have to be extra careful that books are a significant part of their lives during the summer months though. It’s easier when we’re not “out and about” as much during the cooler months of the year. That’s why I was happy to get the following tips on how to keep kids motivated to read during the summer. (The guidelines are from dad-preneurs Mark Sarpa and Scott Feldman, creators of Frecklebox: personalized story books, journals, coloring books and more for kids of all ages.)
1. Set a good example. If your children see you reading, they will want to do the same.
2. Be consistent. Set aside time every day specifically to read with your kids. Dads, maybe the time that works best for you is evening, there’s nothing like a good story before bedtime. You can also encourage your children to choose the book, assign them to be a page turner or take turns reading with them (i.e. you read the pages on the left, you child reads the pages on the right.)
3. Make it fun. Play reading games while you wait at a restaurant, at the grocery store or even while you’re in the car. You know how bad Bay Area traffic is — take advantage of it and make up a game! Here’s an example of a game you can play anywhere: each person reads as many words as they can from street signs, billboards, store names, menus, labels, etc. in one minute.
4. Start early. It’s a crucial time in a toddler’s life when they learn that they have their very own name as part of their identity! To help toddlers learn to recognize and spell their names, it helps to see it in as many settings as possible: from cubbies at preschool, to t-shirts, to spelling their name out in blocks, to painting and writing it down on paper for them to marvel at.
5. Try a personalized book. This is the tip that inspired our line of products. We feel it goes a long way in promoting self-confidence and engages the reader because the story is actually about them.
6. Find books that YOUR children enjoy. Let them read the same books over and over if they want to. Sometimes reading starts with kids actually memorizing what is on each page and pretending to read the story to others.
(Right now, my boys love If You Give a Cat a Cupcake by Laura Numeroff. What is your child’s favorite book?)