As a reading instructor who has worked with children all over the map in reading ability, one thing is for sure – practice is huge.
The combination of reading on their own and reading to them cannot be overstated.
So often during the summer, so much of this all goes away.
We get so busy with outdoor activities or like some of us, we walk in circles listening to “I'm boooored” or “There's nothing to doooo” (kids hold their vowels out on special occasions).
I adore books. My daughter took my adoration for literature and grew it a hundredfold in her own life.
This has given us a deep appreciation for our local library.
This summer, make the library your destination on a regular basis. Kids of every age will benefit.
Don't wait for special event days; fit the visits into your schedule.
Here are my suggestions for making the library a great summer destination:
- Check out the website for your local branch hours. Print them out and keep them in an obvious place. Go early in the morning. The same day of the week works nice for planning but hey, it's summer so keep it flexible.
- Make a tote bag especially for library use. This bag should have it's own place in the house. Books only come out when they are in use or for older kids – only the one they are reading at the time. It helps you keep track of materials and avoid late returns or even worse, lost books.
- When taking multiple reading levels, have the older siblings help the younger find books first. Then the little ones can “read” while the older offspring can look for their choices.
- Everyone should have his or her own card. If parents need to keep track of them that is fine, but it is a great way to build responsibility and track checkouts.
- If you know what books you want before you go you can put them on hold online. If they don't have it at your branch, they will transfer it for you and have it waiting on a shelf when you arrive. They will notify you. Pick it up before the deadline or it goes back on the shelf!
- If your family uses an E-reader, you can borrow some books online. Learn how to use Library2Go. For some devices you can borrow audio books as well. (I still think getting your family familiar with the library is the best idea, but if you are away and want something to read by the pool, E-books are great).
- Read with your children every chance you get and encourage them to read aloud often. The term we use is “miles on the tongue.” It really helps to connect the reading your child is doing and makes it come alive. Encourage them to use “the voices” while they read dialogue.
- Consider starting a summer book club for preteens and teens in your home. Have them choose a book to read and host a time to discuss. Check with the library to see how many copies they have if some need to borrow a copy.
- If taking a road trip, consider either traditional or audio books instead of movies. Just as good, make up stories together in the car instead of the iPad blaring “Frozen” for the 50th time.
- Think about checking out cookbooks for children. Have them help plan and prepare meals while teaching them how to read recipes and measure ingredients.
These are just a few ways to keep your kids reading, learning and imagining over the summer. Do you have other tips or ideas for using the library? What does your family do to incorporate reading into your summer plans?
This summer, make the library your destination on a regular basis.