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9 ways to encourage summer reading with your kids

Advice from the experts at KDL on keeping your kids reading throughout the summer

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — The summer slide for kids is a real thing. During vacation they fall back on the advancements of the last year. 

Luckily, there is an easy solution: students who keep reading, keep learning.

The question becomes, how do you keep kids interested in reading all summer long. Here are nine ways from KDL to encourage summer reading with your children:

1.) Make reading routine. Make reading a priority by dedicating a set time each day to reading. It doesn't have to be long. Even 15 minutes a day will help. Reading at night can help kids relax, and they build an association between relaxing and reading.

2.) Read to your kids. They are never too old. Reading together not only creates a bond between caregiver and child, it also gives a kid the chance to completely relax and enjoy a good book with a loved one.

3.) Let them see you read. Research shows that a child is much more likely to become a lifelong reader if they see the adults in their life enjoy the habit of reading.

4.) Let them choose. Kids are more interested and engaged when they are given the freedom to choose their own books. It is okay if they select books a little under or over their reading level. All reading is good and beneficial!

5.) Find books that feed their interests and passions. Are they fascinated with the Titanic? There are many nonfiction and fiction books on the topic. The same can be said for any topic…sports, history, cars, animals…the list goes on and on.

6.) Graphic Novels are okay too! Reading isn't just limited to classic literary novels. Graphic novels are especially attractive to reluctant readers because the pictures and minimal text are less intimidating. There are many high quality graphic novels out there that are sure to grab the attention of a young reader.

7.) Find a great series. Kids in elementary school love to read series. They grow comfortable with a character and style of writing and want to stick with that character. Luckily there are many series to choose from across the genres.

8.) Find books that echo their experiences. Kids like to see themselves in the books they read. We are lucky that we live in a time when children’s publishing is flourishing with culturally diverse and real life representative books.

9.) Look to your library! Get carded! While KDL libraries are temporarily closed due to COVID-19, we have an amazing collection of online reading / audiobook material through Overdrive and Hoopla. You can also sign up for a library card online. Libraries have great reading programs for kids. Currently KDL has 1KB4K (A Thousand Books Before Kindergarten) for kids 0-6 and Mission Read: A Thousand Days of Reading for kids in K-3rd grade. Their Summer Wonder reading program starts on June 1--a 30-day challenge for the whole family. All these programs offer encouragement, fun, programming, and prizes. For more info and see how to participate through their website www.kdl.org.

And if you need someone to read a story to your younger readers, the 13 ON YOUR SIDE Staff has you covered:

13 Reads Storytime for kids

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