Engage Your Reluctant Reader This Summer

It can be a tough task to engage your child in summer learning, especially if you have a reluctant reader on your hands. Thankfully, there are some fun and easy ways to incorporate reading without going overboard. Here are a variety of suggestions that might just work for your child!

Finding the Right Type of Book

Does your fifth grader enjoy cats? Find books on cats in the wild. How about an eighth grader who enjoys cars and motorcycles? Find a book on repair or popular models. Encouraging students to select books that they actually want to read is key. I love the Scholastic website, which allows parents and their kids to peruse books by reading level and interest. The key is to allow your child to choose the book he finds most interesting.

My Favorite Summer Books 

Although the Scholastic site is an easy way to find books by category, keep in mind that the titles you find are only published by Scholastic. There are lots of other amazing books on the market. Here are a few of my favorites:

Here’s Hank: Book 1 (early elementary) Here’s Hank features easy-to-read font, fun stories and great characters for children to read about!

Big Nate: Game On! (middle school students) Big Nate books have sold more than 4.5 million copies and been on the New York Times best-seller list for more than a year. Follow sixth-grader Nate Wright as he prepares for the big sports win against his rival.

Promposal (high school students) Written by Rhonda Helms, follow Camilla on her search for the perfect prom.

Why a Kindle May be Better Than a Paperback 

Kindle-Paperwhite-2015-840x840Keep in mind that some students are so averse to reading that they do best by listening to audio books. This strategy works even better when kids follow along in the hard copy while listening. Some studies show that this improves fluency and comprehension even more than reading the hard copy book alone. But give your child an iPad or expensive Kindle Fire with all the bells and whistles, and before too long, she could be doing anything but reading! Instead, check out the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. The Paperwhite has very limited internet options (only Wikipedia and Amazon.com) so there are less distractions during reading time. Check out the options.

Now here’s the hard question: How do you get your child to actually read? 

For young children, try reading with your child. You read a page, she reads a page.  And if you have a really reluctant reader, you read two pages, and she reads one.

I also like the idea of getting the whole family in on the action. You can set aside 20 minutes a few nights out of the week where everyone sits down to read. It could be a book, a magazine, or even the sports section of the morning paper. They material isn’t important, but the act of relaxing and reading is what counts.

And lastly, most kids will want to read before bed. It’s relaxing. You may need to get your child started by reading every other page for her. Once she has a good start, let her go at it alone.