Let’s continually encourage our kids to love reading. During the summer months we can take a little more time to enhance their interest in a good book. Take a weekly visit to the library with the family. Most libraries offer a summer reading program to motivate young readers. Every once in a while, just for fun take a trip to a half price book store in your area. I used to hand each of my kids a $5 bill and tell them to pick out what they wanted. This not only helped them with math and budgeting, but also made a bit of a game out of finding prize books for a good price. When we got home we showed each other our purchases and gloried at how much we were able to buy at a small price.
You may want to create some new and different reading areas in the house. A bath tub filled with pillows, or a large box with blankets can make fun and unique reading nooks. At times we draped a sheet over the kitchen table and made the area underneath the table our “Reading Castle.” You can also give your kids rewards for reading, just like the library does. They can earn play money or tickets for a certain amount of books or reading hours. The play cash or tickets can be used for new books or a movie day or television time.
Consider playing the “Choose 4 You” reading game. Put each family member’s name in a basket, and then allow everyone to draw a name. The assignment is to choose a book for the other person to read. Explain that they must think about finding an age appropriate book according to their interests. You can either go to the library or a bookstore to pick out the book for the other person. After an allotted amount of time, meet together as a family and tell about the books which were received and read. This little game encourages not only reading, but caring about other’s interests.
Declare a “Stretch Day” where you encourage each of the kids to stretch out of the genre they typically like to read and explore another type of book. For instance if your daughter is a big fiction reader, then encourage her to stretch into reading a biography or a book about horses. If your son only likes to read books about baseball, then encourage him to stretch himself and explore books about hiking or a fiction book about outer-space. Help your kids to see there is a wide variety of books to be explored.
Think about theme weeks for your family reading. Choose a theme for the week and focus on books around that topic. One week you could choose bugs or animals, then plants and flowers, then kings, queens and castles. As you center on a theme you can also do other activities, games and field trips which enhance the theme. As you share your enthusiasm for reading, your kids will catch it. Let’s be deliberate to make reading fun.
Lady Montague said, “No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.”