Keeping your kids reading during the holidays is important to keep up all that hard work they (and you) have accomplished during the school year. Below is a list of low-cost ideas that will help make reading a fun part of the Summer holidays.
1. Loan a book. Buy a book.
Go to the local library, apply for a membership (usually free) and loan some books. Choose not only fiction, but non-fiction, puzzles, games, cds and dvds. Loan a book from family members. Ask grandparents if they have any family favourites that can come home with you for a while. Keep your eye out for book sales. Scour the shelves at your local op shop. If the covers of the books aren’t that clean, wipe them with an antibacterial baby wipe or some eucalyptus oil.
2. Send a card | Write a letter | Write a postcard
Make some Christmas cards and have the kids write in them and address them. Write thank you cards for the cards you receive. Write letters to classmates. Write postcards for family, friends or classmates while on holiday. Make sure you bring an up to date address book.
3. Visit a museum or art gallery.
Usually cheap to access, (the Perth Museum is a gold coin donation for entry) museums and art galleries are a great way to read for information. Use the tried and tested teaching method of modelling to show them how it’s done. “Oh look, what does this say about this dinosaur ….?” Then give them a go and let them read away… be excited for them!
4. Reading Nook
Have a spot dedicated to reading during the holidays. Allow a book pile to accumulate on the coffee table. Pique their interest by leaving non-fiction books open. Be ok with the mess that comes with piles of books.
5. Read together
Find a “chapter book” to read during the holidays together as a family. Make it a challenge to read every night. Some great books for smaller kids are Winnie the Pooh, Wind in the Willows, for older kids – classics like the Charles Dickens novels.
6. Read to Cook or Cook to Read
Cook with the kids, get them to peruse your cookbooks looking for a recipe to make. Let them read through the recipe and make a shopping list. Allow them to help you shop for the ingredients – taking a back seat at the shop while they find the right ingredients.
Turn off the tv, let the console games have a rest, let the computer have a sleep. Buy some cheap art journals (Red Dot Stores, Gone Bazaar, Crazy Clarks) and let the kids write diaries or make a holiday scrapbook.
8. Join a holiday reading challenge.
Most Australian states run a summer holiday reading challenge. In Western Australia it’s the MS Premier’s Reading Challenge. You can find out more about it here.
9. Play Games
Invest in some games that motivate literacy skill building like Scrabble, Up Words or Boggle. Most other classic board games like Monopoly, Candy Land or Trivial Pursuit (for the older kids) contain a significant reading component. (Look for these games at op-shops or secondhand online sites like Gumtree, Quokka or Ebay)
10. Be a good example, share a book
Make sure that your kids see you as an avid reader. Offer to read aloud, or share the same book with your child. Use bookmarks to keep check of where everyone is up to (don’t discourage your kids.. let them be ahead of you) and talk about what is happening in the book.
Most of all, make your homes reading friendly. Take time to have quiet reading sessions during the holidays. Most of all, encourage, encourage, praise, praise and praise!
And, if you are concerned about how your child is doing with their reading, ask their teachers NOW before school finishes. They may have some other suggestions that could help your child become a better reader.
Another way you can check your child’s reading is through Reading Eggs. A great web-based Australian literacy program that covers reading, spelling, comprehension and grammar skills. It’s fun, the kids earn “eggs” as they go and can spend these in the Reading Eggs shop. I have used it at home for a year now for all my kids and they love it. You can register for a three week free trial here.