Summer holidays can such a special time for kids. As the structure and expectations of the school year loosen, July and August are the perfect time to find the magic that lies in browsing through books.
Summer break is the ideal time to enjoy the stories of we choose for ourselves; whether it is for dwelling on the pictures, finding Waldo, listening to a favorite storyteller or reading in our minds. It is a time to forget that there ever was such a thing as reading levels and instead to browse in libraries and bookstores, flip through books and magazines outdoors and losing track of time.
Perhaps there will be an opportunity to share favorite stories passed from one generation to the next over roasting marshmallows, yellowed photo albums or musty scrapbooks. Maybe Uncle John’s old comic book collection has surfaced to be marveled at by the digitally inclined crowd of today. Summer reading is about being silly and checking if Grandpa is awake behind those sunglasses by changing a word to something CRAZY to see what happens. If you read “It was a hot day and the DOG was shining in the sky” and he doesn’t notice, it’s time to get a nice full water balloon to help him get his focus back!
Research tells us…
There is a direct link between the enjoyment of reading and reading performance over time, and the benefits go beyond the educational system into ‘most areas of adult life’ (PISA 2011).
When reading for pleasure:
- Let the child choose the reading material and always be able to see the pictures.
- Ensure that your reading time is positive, brief and ends on a high note.
- Pause at the end of sentences to allow for the child to ‘chime in’.
- Model ‘mistakes’ and allow the child to correct you, or point out your mistake, the fact we all make them, and that they are a part of learning.
- Consider your child’s interests when choosing new books, and talk to friends and classmates about they are reading.
Set your child up for success by giving him a thorough book introduction before he attempts to read an unfamiliar book. Ask her to talk her way through the pictures prior to reading the book, give her the characters’ names and point out any unusual vocabulary she may run into. Because you are reading purely for pleasure (and not instruction) simply fill in unknown words, or reread the sentence with the first part of the unknown word on the tip of your tongue. Odds are, smarty-pants will know exactly what makes sense, sounds right and looks right, and pop that word in with pride!
Is reading part of your own summer magic? How so?