I have fond memories of sitting outside on a hot summer day and reading books for hours on end. Some of those books (Bridge to Terabithia, for example) I would finish and then begin again at page one. I loved reading, and still do.
However, for parents who know the importance of summer reading, it can be really frustrating to not have your child have the same motivation. Here are a few suggestions for parents of a reluctant summertime reader:
1. Pick the right book.
There are plenty of studies out there that show that literacy is literacy, be it Harry Potter, Sunset Magazine, or War and Peace. I’m not totally sure how I feel about that, but I would argue that summer is a great time to take your reluctant reader to the bookstore or library and have them choose whatever they want to read. Even if it makes you cringe to think about it (Twilight, anyone?). None of these suggestions make me cringe, but none of them are probably in your child’s curriculum, making them a perfect fit.
For the hopeless romantic (come on, you know you loved this one):
For the silly middle schooler (this is a series):
For the artist (both are great):
For the kid who thinks non-fiction is boring:
For the kid who loves satire and parody:
For the kid who loves a great mystery:
2. Read with your child.
This is so powerful. Imagine sitting around the dinner table and, instead of forcing conversation, having an at-ready topic you can discuss with your child. It’s like having a daily, no-strings-attached book club, with all the benefits.
3. Don’t make reading seem like a chore.
I understand why parents set a “reading time” at home, but more often than not I see it backfire. Reluctant readers will equate this time as a a form of punishment. Read at home, and often, but let it be organic. The point is to get your reluctant reader to pick up a book for their own pleasure.
4. Rent the movie
Many wonderful books are made into (sometimes not equally) wonderful movies. But who cares, when the point is to spend quality time with your child? If you can, rent the movie after you’re done with the book, pop gallons of popcorn, and talk loudly about how the characters do or do not match your expectations.