15 June 2009 01:37 PM

Summer Reading

by Dr. Rick

It’s summer again, time for changing the routines of the school year and slowing down a little.  (See my blog of June 8, 2009 for my thoughts on summer learning.  Hint:  It’s a time for slowing down, not shutting down.)


It’s also a great time to encourage or indulge a love of reading.  I’ve written many blogs about the importance of reading and suggesting some reading lists.  (Here are a few.  February 12, 2009, February 16, 2009, February 26, 2009, and March 6, 2009.)


Today, I’m sharing the thoughts of one of my favorite educators, a Sylvan Learning Center franchisee who’s not only a teacher but the mother of five – if those aren’t qualifications for keeping kids busily happy and learning and having fun during the summer, I don’t know what is.


Colleen Dunlavy, of the Chicago suburb of Homewood, has some great ideas for family reading tips.  She shared these with me not long ago, and now I want to pass them on to you.  They’re among the best I’ve seen.

  1. Allow kids to read what they like.  Pick book topics that relate to their interests.

  2. Offer a variety of publications (magazines, newsletters, books, etc.) so kids can make their own literary choices.  Availability is key.

  3. Encourage your kids to read everything and read aloud – food labels, movie disclaimers, street signs, store names, music lyrics, restaurant menus, etc.

  4. Make mail time fun.  Give young readers “junk mail” and ask them to circle the words that they recognize.  Become the family’s mailman.  Ask your child to read the names printed on the mail and have him or her “deliver” the mail to the specific family members.

  5. Ensure books are always on –hand.  Keep books in each car, at the house, at the homes of family members, etc.   This ensures that a child can amuse himself or herself if a sibling’s sports practice is running late or if you are caught in traffic.

  6. Schedule “library time.”  Just as a family schedules swimming practice, set a specific time aside for visiting the library.

  7. Create a book-on-tape.  Encourage your child to read a book aloud and tape it.  As a special gift or surprise, send the book-on-tape to a loved one with a special message.

  8. Write your name in your books.  When children write their names in their books, it gives the child ownership.  Store the books in a special place to create a personal library.

  9. Read before bedtime.  Reading is relaxing.  Allow your child to stay up 15 minutes later each night – as long as he/she is reading.

  10. Read aloud to your children.  No matter the age of the child, reading together can create a lasting family memory.

I love these ideas, Colleen, and I can just see your five beautiful kids enjoying these all year ‘round, not just in the summer.


Bloggers, what’s your family do for family reading fun?  Click on “comment” below and let us know your ideas and family traditions.


In the coming weeks, I’ll concentrate on summer activities for spelling, writing, vocabulary development, and math.




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