Are you dreaming of 80-degree weather and the days you’ll spend relaxing in your lawn chair? Me too. With spring already warming things up, it won’t be long before we’re kicking back to enjoy a gorgeous Michigan summer.
I hope you’ll join me in making reading an important part of your family’s summer. It’s always a great way to spend time together. Plus, with our school systems in flux, it’s more important than ever to keep the kiddos reading.
Reading together has many benefits for children, even those who can read independently. It’s easy to think,
“OK, they’re good, we don’t need to read with them anymore.” But research shows that reading aloud not only improves comprehension, it increases confidence, even in older children. It also promotes vocabulary and opens channels of discussion.
So, while it’s great to encourage independent reading, consider adopting some of these read-together ideas at home:
Read a classic title, taking turns and making sure to talk together about the story. Classics like Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White or Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls are great choices.
Start a family book club. The rules can be as simple or complex as you wish, but the basic idea is to assign family members to read and discuss different titles. For ideas visit readbrightly.com and enter “family book club” in the search box.
Play library at home. Encourage children to present a storytime or give a book talk recommending their favorite titles.
Read about a topic and then talk about it together. Find resources at the Michigan Electronic Library (mel.org/welcome). Opposing Viewpoints in Context is excellent for helping kids develop critical thinking skills and generating conversations. The eBook K-8 Collection is also outstanding.
Go outside to read and talk together. Visit a park, trail or your backyard to set up shop for reading in a relaxed environment.
Check out your library or favorite online bookstore for books that offer reading tips. I recommend My Weird Reading Tips by Dan Gutman, a favorite author among elementary school kids.
Finally, be sure to sign up your family for Capital Area District Libraries’ 2020 Summer Reading Challenge. While we will not be offering the usual summer entertainment events, we are encouraging everyone to read for fun and to win prizes. This free challenge is already underway at cadl.org/summer.