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Easy ways to Get Kids Reading

Stop the Summer Slide by keeping kids engaged with reading. Learn what you can do to make sure books stay a part of their summer.
Credit: 13 ON YOUR SIDE

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Stopping the Summer Slide refers to the effort to prevent learning loss that occurs over summer break when children are out of school. Many studies have shown that students who do not engage in educational activities during the summer can experience a decline in their reading skills.

To Stop the Summer Slide and keep kids engaged with reading, here are some easy and free ways to encourage them to read and making it a habit.

Public Library Programs: Check out your local public library for summer reading programs. Libraries often offer reading challenges, book clubs, storytelling sessions, and other interactive activities that encourage reading during the summer months. 13 ON YOUR SIDE is participating in free events at GR Parks all summer long including the Summer Celebrations with Storytime GR.

Create a Reading Routine: Establish a daily reading routine where your child sets aside a specific time for reading. Encourage them to read independently or read aloud to you or a sibling. Consistency is key to maintaining reading habits.

Make Reading Fun: Encourage reading by making it enjoyable. Allow your child to choose books they are interested in and let them explore different genres and formats like graphic novels, magazines, or e-books. Visit the bookstore or library together and let them have ownership over their reading choices.

Start a Book Club: Organize a book club with your child and their friends or siblings. Select a book to read together and schedule regular meetings to discuss the book. This not only promotes reading but also encourages critical thinking and social interaction.

Reading Aloud: Reading aloud to your child, regardless of their age, has numerous benefits. It helps develop vocabulary, comprehension, and listening skills. Take turns reading aloud or choose a book that the whole family can enjoy together.

Create a Reading Space: Set up a cozy reading nook or corner in your home where your child can retreat with a book. Make it comfortable with cushions, blankets, and good lighting. Having a dedicated space can make reading more inviting.

Credit: 13 on your side

Set Reading Goals: Help your child set reading goals for the summer. This can include the number of books they want to read or specific genres they want to explore. Creating goals gives children a sense of accomplishment and motivates them to read more.

Utilize Online Resources: There are numerous websites and apps that offer free access to e-books and audiobooks for children. Some popular platforms include Project Gutenberg, International Children's Digital Library, and LibriVox.

Encourage Writing: Alongside reading, encourage your child to write during the summer. They can maintain a journal, write stories, or even start a blog. Writing helps reinforce reading skills and enhances creativity.

Be a Reading Role Model: Children are more likely to engage in reading if they see their parents or older siblings doing so. Set an example by reading yourself and discussing books with your child. Share your reading experiences and recommendations.

Make Reading a Special Time: Create a cozy and calm environment during reading time. Dim the lights, provide comfortable seating, and eliminate distractions like electronic devices and noise. This dedicated reading time can help your child associate reading with relaxation and enjoyment.

Give Them Choices: Allow your child to choose their own books based on their interests, even if the books seem unconventional or below their reading level. By giving them autonomy in selecting reading material, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated.

Connect Books to Their Interests: Find books that align with your child's hobbies, passions, or favorite activities. If they love animals, choose books about wildlife or pets. If they enjoy sports, look for sports-themed stories. By connecting reading to their interests, you can capture their attention and make reading more enjoyable.

Turn Reading into a Game: Make reading a fun and interactive experience. Create reading challenges, such as completing a certain number of books in a month or finding books with specific themes. Offer rewards or incentives for achieving these goals, such as a special outing or a small treat.

Host Book Swaps: Organize book swap events with friends, family, or neighbors. Each child can bring books they've finished reading and exchange them with others. This not only introduces them to new books but also adds an element of excitement and social interaction.

Read Books that Inspire Movies or TV Shows: Choose books that have been adapted into movies or TV shows. After reading the book, have a family movie night or binge-watch the TV series together. Discuss the similarities and differences between the book and the adaptation, encouraging critical thinking and analysis.

Read Before Bedtime: Establish a routine of reading before bedtime. This not only helps calm children before sleep but also creates a consistent reading habit. It can become a special bonding time as you read aloud to younger children or silently read together.

Remember, fostering a love for reading requires patience and support. By incorporating these easy and free activities into your child's summer routine, you can help prevent the summer slide and keep them engaged with reading.

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