Summer Reading. (Big Sigh)
I don’t know about your kids but my kids aren’t the stereotypical homeschoolers. They aren’t generally the nose in a book 24-7 types. In fact they would much rather be playing some Minecraft, Knack or watching Netflix. It is so easy to have reading become just another chore to check off during summer time. But I think we all want to raise inspired life long readers. So how can we set up our home environments to encourage reading?
- Take a tip from all those video games your kids are loving. Use game theory to give a reward for effort exerted. This year we are using our local library’s summer reading program. For every 200 minutes read we get to visit the library and redeem minutes read for a prize.
- I’ve also been know to tuck rewards midway through a book. Simple things like a coupon for a bowl of popcorn, or a dollar attached to a little note about how much I love them! Especially if the book is a challenge.
- Create a Game board for your kids to fill in as a way of visually tracking their goals. We use stickers, sparkles and pictures of Michael Phelps to adorn our game boards! It is very motivating to see your intangible accomplishments take physical form!
**If your library doesn’t have a program like this you can totally make one up yourself. The effort exerted is definitely worth the hours your kids will spend reading every week! **
Make books convenient
Now is the time to up your strewing game and leave interesting engaging books all over the place.
Get those plastic crates and place a couple books you think your kids would enjoy
- Next to their beds.
- Next to the comfy chair in an air conditioned room.
- In the car.
Never underestimate the power of boredom. It is your ally. Solve the boredom with a book!
But a quick word of warning. You can totally over do this. It gets really obvious when you are pushing an agenda. If a kid makes a comment about how much they enjoy bird watching and 30 books show up around the house about birds and you keep saying, “Well there is that bird book over there.” All your helpful suggestions ring false. Kids are manipulation detectors, no one likes that feeling. There is a fine line between providing opportunities and manipulation and coercion. Provide opportunities. Let go of results. That is where genuine joy of learning develops!
Make frequent trips to the library
Libraries are magical portals to far off lands, new ideas, and inspiring projects. More importantly you are giving your children the gift and the power of choice. There is nothing more intoxicating the the ability to choose your own path and the library gives kids the opportunities to do that in a very acceptable way!
Let your kids choose what they like. So often homeschool moms control the reading list all year long! Summer is the time for twaddle. The pure enjoyment of a light fluffy read. The joy of choice! The rest of the school year provides tons of time to expose your children to high quality meaningful reads. It is ok to let go for the summer!
Sometimes kids need adults to generate the interest. It is a beautiful way of allowing connection to drive learning. There are a couple of ways you can do this
- You can read aloud together either parent to child or child to parent. It is powerful to share literature together.
- You can have a conversation through writing notes in the margins of a book or sticky notes in the book. Wouldn’t it be fun to mark up a book and just leave it for your kids to discover? How fun would it be to connect doubly through written word?
- Audio books. I love to have audio books going in the car. I aim for at least one a month (after all you need to have some time for music appreciation too). It is amazing what conversation comes out of listening to a book together as you roll around town. So simple and so rewarding!
Double Hammock in the Backyard
One of my favorite investments we made this summer was a Hammock for our backyard. I try to take some time every day to lay in it and read. Even if it is just 10 minutes. And setting the example, my kids have started to notice, and asking if they can take their books to the hammock. And I didn’t even have to ask!!! It is glorious and utterly unexpected!
Set aside screen free unscheduled time
We have screen free time after lunch. It is just time to breathe before the afternoon’s festivities. Now I don’t have any dreams of a truly quiet time. After all, my kids share rooms and when we have tried a quiet time it has always ended in strife. So for us, It just means electronics off.
Sometimes they all go outside, sometimes they head for the toys, sometimes the art supplies and I figure it is all good. Just a quick change of pace. But it creates a little margin for a change of pace! I often pick up my book during this time as well (or get out my knitting, doodling etc.) I mean it is summer! We all need to pick up our hobbies!
Poetry Tea Time
Summer is the perfect time to start a Poetry Tea Time with your family! If you need some ideas for how to start check out my ideas here and check out Brave Writer’s free guide here. Now is the time to break out the silly poems. Your favorite picnic blanket and some lemonade or iced tea and sit down to read poetry together. And as an added bonus, it introduces another genre into the summer in a seamless way!
So, happy summer reading everyone! May we invite delighted, self motivated reading into our homes! And in the midst of it all, don’t forget that if all else fails they are reading while playing their video games too!
If you are looking for more fun ideas and a place to connect come on over to the Imperfect Homeschooler Facebook Page! I’d love to share life with you there!