Pick one day a week and go to the library as a family. Public libraries in our area are open Monday through Saturday. Make sure your babies have a couple of board books, your toddlers have easy books (at least 9), and your tweens and teens have 2-5 juvenile or young adult books.
Sign your kids up for the summer reading program while there at the library. Local libraries have all kinds of programs for all ages in June and July. Your teens can become volunteers and learn valuable lessons interacting with patrons. Your tweens can enjoy snakes, crafts, movies, ice cream, etc. Your toddlers and babies can be mesmerized by puppets, clowns and petting zoos.
Everyone will get reading logs where they can record books read. Challenge them to read a certain amount each week. Almost every popular book out there is a movie. Try checking out a book/movie combo then let the youngster read the book all week with the movie as a Friday night treat. Might win some prizes for reading at the end of summer, too.
Now, this reading thing only works if you actually read. I suggest you establish a time to read every day. During the hottest part of the day (2-4PM) is perfect. Establish one rule: During this hour there will be no video games, no chatting, no laptops, and no Facebook. Only reading is allowed and it is okay if the activity is aloud.
During the hot hour, you can read a book to them. Something that will take a couple of days or a full week to finish. Librarians can suggest titles like Charlotte’s Web or The Diary of a Wimpy Kid that will keep them mesmerized or in stitches Remember, you have an important job. Be sure to be seen reading yourself during the hour if you are not reading to them.
Bedtime is a perfect time to establish a reading hour, also. Light from computer monitors, smart phones and tablets actually extend a person’s waking hours; thus, turn them off two hours before lights out. Books help all ages ease into sleep. Be sure a working flashlight is on the night stand for when you leave the room. Illicit reading is always good.
Okay, I have given you some tools to keep them reading over the summer. Check out your local library for more ideas. Do your part! Everyone benefits from a smarter Mississippi!