Summer reading – how it enhances your child’s love of books
At Pilgrims School our aim is to inspire children to love learning. And to learn, we know it is important to read. The joy that books of all kinds can bring us is something we want to instil in our children. So during the long summer holidays keep your children’s interest in books alive by role-modelling just how exciting it is to read. Whether it’s a copy of the local newspaper or glossy magazine, or a more substantial tome from your bookshelf, pick it up, sit down, relax and enjoy.
One of the most exciting motivators for summer reading in recent years has been the Summer Reading Challenge. This year the theme is ‘Animal Agents’ and there’s a short trailer on the website to launch the scheme. Children, under supervision, can create a profile, and as they read more books, they will collect rewards along the way. Children can sign up at their local library and they will need to read six library books to complete the challenge. Children who have participated love it. The challenge and fun can be further enhanced by creating a low level of healthy competition between siblings and friends. It will also provide several outings to the library over the holidays to select and swap books.
Another idea is to have a family book club where you share your thoughts about the book you are reading. Even the youngest children can join in, sharing the pictures they like or a funny or sad piece of their story. Perhaps you could find out if there is a theatre production of your child’s favourite book – this will help bring the book to life for them.
Reading bedtime stories for as long as your children want them will extend that special time with your child, and also continue to help them experience stories in different ways. Whether it’s Harry Potter, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe or Room on a Broom, hearing a story being read to you is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable things you can experience, at any age. Listening to audio books while on a journey or to help have some quiet time at home is another useful way of accessing a love of stories with your children.
Many studies have shown that children’s reading habits during school holidays play a significant role in how successfully they resume their learning once they return to school in September. Perhaps you could encourage them to pick up one of their favourite books from when they were younger. This may rekindle memories of learning to read for the first time. It will also show them just how far they have progressed and maybe how their taste in books has changed.
So, whether you’re reading to your children, hearing them read or sharing a book together, the world of imagination it opens up, and the information you can learn, means that reading should certainly be included on your summer to-do list!