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How to Get Your Child Excited About Reading This Summer

April 19, 2021

You’ve gathered plenty of entertaining books for your child to explore this summer, but they don’t seem interested. This may leave you wondering how you can get your child excited about reading. Some kids aren’t as ready and motivated to read as others. Change that by encouraging your child to read and opening their minds to the excitement reading can offer. 

Kids may feel that diving into a book during the summer is a chore or an extension of their schoolwork. Summer reading isn’t meant to be a burden for children, and getting them excited about reading this summer can help them see that. Learn ways to pique your child’s interest in reading and discover why it’s such a valuable activity below.

Why Summer Reading Is Essential

Whether your child is going back to school or anticipating their first day, summer reading is a useful tool. Reading inspires creativity, sharpens literacy and boosts communication skills. Kids gain these and different skills in the classroom, but when school’s out, the learning and developing slow down. As learning slows during the summer, students lose gains they made in various subjects, including reading. Summer reading helps prevent those losses.

Think of summer reading as an exercise for your child’s mind. To keep your body strong, you need to engage in frequent exercise, and reading can have the same impact on your child’s mind. More than that, summer reading helps eliminate boredom, instills a sense of empathy and it creates bonding opportunities.

With those benefits in mind, you may wonder how you can encourage your child to read. What will excite your child to read will vary, but we at Haymarket Children’s Academy have compiled a list of useful ways to motivate kids to read that you can try at home.

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How to Motivate Your Kids to Read

To learn how to raise a reader, you first need ways to get kids to want to read. If kids see that exploring the world of books is exciting, they can become avid readers or, at the very least, enjoy reading more. Consider some of the following activities to increase your kids’ reading this summer:

1. Start a Family Book Club

Start a family book club to encourage your child to read. Pick a book that you and your child can read together or independently, then set goals for each day or week. Plan time to discuss between readings, using discussion questions to spur conversation about the book and get your child thinking critically. The questions you should ask will vary based on what you read and your child’s age, but ideas include:

  • Would you want to meet any characters in real life? Which ones?
  • What would you do if you were in a certain character’s situation?
  • Why do you think the author chose the title they did?
  • What title would you give the book and why?
  • Would you change anything about the ending?
  • If you could talk to the author, what’s one question you would ask?

You may even wish to include extended family members or friends in this reading activity. If your child has cousins or friends in a similar age range, invite them and their parents to participate in your book club. Either get together and meet in person, call or video chat to discuss the book.

2. Establish a Routine With Incentives

Summer often has little to no schedule. Create one with reading to help your child develop healthy habits. Your kid’s reading routine will depend on your child and your schedule. Popular times include soon after waking up, after dinner or before bedtime. Try to create a schedule that encourages your child to read every day or at least every other day.

Help make the routine stick with incentives and rewards for your child. Create a calendar for them to fill in with stickers every time they read. That alone is an incentive, or you could offer rewards for consecutive days your child spends reading, such as:

  • A movie night
  • A special outing
  • Their favorite snack or meal
  • A new toy

Balance using those incentives with inspiring your child to read. You don’t want them to feel like they have to read or that they should only read because it means they get a reward. Emphasize that getting lost in a book is fun and rewarding in its own way.

3. Read Books With Film or Television Adaptations

Many children enjoy engaging with a book if it also has a movie or television show adaptation. Choose a book that has an adaptation and watch it with your child when they finish reading. What you read and watch will depend on your child’s preferences and age. Be sure to check that the film or show adaptation for a book is suitable for your child. Consider reading these books that have media adaptations:

  • “The BFG”
  • “Charlotte’s Web”
  • “Curious George”
  • “James and the Giant Peach”
  • “Paddington Bear”
  • “Where the Wild Things Are”
  • “Winnie-the-Pooh”

If you do have your child read a book and watch the adaptation, use that to spur discussions. Explore what the movie and the book did differently and what your kid preferred. Discuss what your child envisioned as they read certain scenes or pictured a character and if it was similar to what was in the movie or show.

4. Offer a Variety of Materials and Switch Genres

Your child doesn’t always have to read a picture book or novel. Offering a variety of reading materials encourages your child to see that reading happens everywhere. It keeps summer reading fresh and entertaining and gives them a break from books. Engaging with words and stories happens across many forms, like:

  • Magazines
  • Digital media
  • Newspapers

Of course, you’ll want to give certain types of content a read before offering them to your child, especially if they’re younger. Magazines for children are an easy choice as they often contain a mix of stories and other engaging content. You could also offer to read something like the newspaper with your child, especially if they’re younger, to explain complex ideas, phrases or words.

If it’s easier to stick to books, switch genres throughout the summer. Have your child read fantasy one week and humor the next, and explore other genres together. This can help your child find a genre that interests them so they can further enjoy reading.

More Ways to Get Kids to Want to Read

With how effective reading is at improving communication, literacy and creativity, you’ll want even more ways to motivate kids to read. The best summer reading tips for children involve whatever works for your kids, so try these other tips to get kids interested in reading to see what works in your home:

  • Choose age-appropriate books: Books for your child’s age or ones that suit your child’s reading level are an ideal selection. If a book is too challenging, kids may become discouraged and not want to read. If a book is too simple to read, it could bore your child.
  • Read a series: If you find a series your child likes, you can keep them reading all summer long. They’ll want to engage with the story and continue reading each book in a series.
  • Go to the library: Use the free resources available to you and your child at the library. Local libraries may even offer reading rewards, book clubs and incentives that motivate kids to read.
  • Use audiobooks: Giving your child access to audiobooks is a great solution for parents with busy schedules. They’re often more engaging for some kids as well, with fun narration and sound effects. Give your child a physical copy of the book to follow along with the audio to help them concentrate.

Discover More Ways to Raise a Reader With Haymarket Children’s Academy in Gainesville, VA

Reading sparks a child’s curiosity, and at Haymarket Children’s Academy in Gainesville, Virginia, we understand how essential reading is to growth and development. We’re the premier education and childcare facility in the region, offering a safe and nurturing environment for children to read, learn and play. We strive to instill values of diversity, happiness and curiosity in your child, using reading and various aspects of our curriculum.

Our award-winning curriculum for early childhood education introduces your child to critical thinking and language early on. Our curriculum specialist monitors our programs to ensure your child is getting the best early childhood education possible from our experienced instructors. From personalized instruction in private kindergarten to before and after school programs, the offerings at Haymarket Children’s Academy will engage your child with reading and learning to develop essential life skills.

Contact us today to learn more about our programs and how to enroll your child.