By Alexis Montgomery, The Children’s Book Review
Published: June 1, 2010
As a parent, you want your child to experience the same fond memories of summer that you did, whiling away the long hot days, riding their bike with friends, running through the sprinkler, and starting a lemonade stand. What you don’t want is to see them sitting in front of the television or computer for three straight months, forgetting everything they spent the last school year learning. This is where summer reading comes in. Whether or not they’ve been assigned a particular book to read for the next term, you can (and should) set up your own summer reading program.
The importance of reading, for children of all ages, cannot be underestimated. In addition to acting as a tool to improve vocabulary, pronunciation, and comprehension, reading gives kids a chance to explore their interests at their own level. From action to adventure to mystery novels, they can escape to a world that is full of possibilities. Or if they like non-fiction, there are plenty of books on plants, animals, art…literally any subject and at every reading level. Don’t let them tell you it’s boring. All children have interests. It just might take a little work to find them.
Plus, if you institute a reading schedule, it will keep your kids on track for the next school year. Allowing them total abandon to run around as they please may be appealing in that they are, after all, kids. If they can’t enjoy a certain amount of freedom from responsibility now, when can they? But a lax attitude will only make it that much harder for them (and you) when they have to return to school. If they won’t read on their own, have mandatory reading time, maybe half an hour to an hour a day. Take them to the library, bring home a stack of books, and set up a little reading nook or fort for them. There’s a good chance they’ll get sucked into their books and spend more time reading than required. And when they finish a selection, have them start a journal telling what their favorite parts were and why. All of this will serve to keep their minds active and disciplined, as well as improve focus, concentration, memory, and reasoning skills. In addition, forming good reading habits now will carry over into their adult lives.
It’s all too easy to allow your child to fall prey to the one-eyed nanny, especially if you have to work all day while they’re at home. But setting a reading schedule for your child is worth the effort. At the end of the day, you’ll have a built in conversation as they tell you what they learned or how their book is progressing, as well as their thoughts or feelings. You can bond with your child on an intellectual level and marvel at their cognitive development. You want your child to have every opportunity to advance and succeed in life, and that starts with reading. It may take some effort to get them on board, but they’ll enjoy the rewards for the rest of their lives.
Alexis Montgomery is a content writer for Online Colleges, where you can browse through various online degree programs to find a college that suits your needs.