It’s been really interesting to see lots of articles on social media about the importance of reading 10 minutes every day with your child over the Summer. ( http://www.wordsforlife.org.uk/summer-holidays/reading ) I couldn’t agree more, however, in reality I know how difficult it can be to put into practice. All you’ve got to remember is that it isn’t your job to teach your child to read, just give them time to practice and make it an enjoyable experience. You don’t have to make it a designated ‘let’s sit down with a book and read’ session, instead you can incorporate it into your day. Reading has to be fun otherwise your child won’t do it!
Obviously it’s easier if you’re at home with your kids, but if you’re working there are still things you can do. If you’re in the habit of reading to your child at bedtime, then dig out a book that you know they will understand a few words and let them have a go at those. Choose a book with rhymes so that they get confident with it, and then will naturally join in once you’ve read it a few times. If your child loves their i-pad download a book that you can read together. There are lots of interactive/funny books out there to enjoy (as a Summer treat, books with pages are best!) You could also let them read the whole book but I know how much this elongates bedtime and that is not what you want after a busy day at work!
If you don’t usually read at bedtime, as it’s the Summer and everyone’s a bit more relaxed, could you give it a go? Let your child choose the book as they will be keener to show off their skills. Or, can you squeeze anything in in the morning? I’m not kidding, even reading off the back of a cereal packet gets the thumbs up from me!
If you are at home with the kids, here’s a few ideas to pull off some reading practice without them knowing..
1 – If you’re going out for the day, let them do the planning. Even if it’s a trip to the cinema, get them to google where you are going and what the film is about. Deny all knowledge of the day ahead and they will read out what they have discovered. Job done.
2 – If you’re going a bit further afield, boys especially love anything to do with directions. Get them on AA route planner and let them work out the journey. You could print it off and let them ‘direct’ as you go, although I can only imagine how irritating that might get. Could be a way of keeping them entertained in the car for a bit though!
3-Also on the instruction front, have you ever tried geo-caching? Download the app and off you go. There is a bit of research to be done, as well as some instructions to follow. You get fresh air along the way and is a good way of tricking kids into going for a walk without realising.
4- If your staying in, cooking/baking is an easy way to do a bit of reading. Get your child to choose the recipe and then read out the instructions as you go. It’s a great way to test their comprehension skills as well.
5- Always remember reading doesn’t always have to involved a book. On a wet afternoon nip down to your newsagent’s and choose a magazine together. Children’s ones are packed with things to do with lots of snippets to read. Boys particularly like graphic comics – remember if they enjoy them then they will read it!
6 – The Summer reading Challenge at the library. https://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk They basically need to read 6 books over the holidays. What’s good is that they can be any books, you just need to be able to tell the librarian what they were about. It’s probably for younger, and keener readers but there are stickers and challenges to keep the interested. (And a medal and certificate at the end!)
7 – A visit to your local bookshop. Independent ones are great as they always have activities on, as well as a café for a bit of TLC when you get there. As you know I’m a huge fan of them, and is a good way of killing an hour or so on a wet afternoon. If you have a few pennies to spare let them choose a book each, and this could be the book you dip into for your 10 minutes a day.
8 – Lead by example! If you read, and your children see you read, then they are much more likely to give it a go.
If you have keen readers then happy days, you can get them to read pretty easily. You could even do 10 minutes before you get out of bed, but I know everyone isn’t so lucky. Just try and keep the interest alive so that they are keen to continue learning at school. Roll on September!