Photo: Katee Gra

Even though it’s easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of summer activities, it’s important to keep your child’s reading game strong amidst all of the distractions. Here are a few summer reading hacks that will surely keep you in the game!

1. Cozy Book Nook– When summer days get hot, crank up the air conditioning and spend quality time with your little one reading! Little ones love snuggling and reading is always a magical way to spend quality time together. Research also supports that reading daily with your child outside of a bedtime ritual will help children to become lifelong readers. When you’re reading together, have your child pick the books and take time to “slow down” the reading. For example, ask questions about the characters or plot, point out details in the pictures, and let her turn the pages. You might also want to get creative with how you project your voice such as speaking with an accent, enhancing sound effects such as loud bangs, or mimicking animal sounds. Create a cozy book nook filled with soft pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, and most importantly a basket of books that you frequently rotate with the covers facing forward. Young children are attracted to the bright illustrations on book covers and will definitely become excited about reading if they spot a new book in their basket.

2. Beach Bag of Books- Before heading to the beach or pool, visit the library or bookstore and find a few new books to add to your beach bag. Find a quiet moment such as lunchtime to read your new books together. For an exciting way to make sure you’re adding different types of books to your beach bag each week, create a “Book Bingo Summer Reading Challenge”. Have each square pictorially represent books your child might read this summer such as farm animals, sea-life, trucks, etc. At the end of the summer, your child can pick out a new book once their Bingo board is filled.

3. Listen to books on tape– If you’re in a city with lots of traffic, skip Raffi and start listening to books on tape. It’s is a great multi-sensory experience and a way to get the whole family discussing different books. When children listen to books on tape, words on a page become alive, fluent reading is modeled, and listening skills improve. Narrators use silly voices, fun music, and sound effects to make it an engaging experience. Since we’re all saps for a good podcast, find one geared towards children that will spark animated discussions about an array of real-life topics that even adults will enjoy.

4. Write a Book- Grab your camera and take pictures of your child reading in different places throughout the summer such as the car, beach, stroller, grocery store, etc. Make sure to include pictures of mommy, daddy, and other relatives reading, too. Title your book “Places We Read Summer 2017” and add to it each week. At the end of summer, you will have a brand new book to read that will serve as a reminder that reading can happen anywhere that your child will read over and over again. 

5. Host a Book Swap Pool Party– Gather a few mamas, kiddos and 2-3 books to swap. Fill up an inflatable pool, dump the books in, and have the kiddos dive in to get “new” ones. Donate any leftover books to a local charity. Whip up a few snacks that fit the theme of your child’s favorite book such as goldfish crackers for “The Pout Pout Fish” or watermelon slices for “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” alongside some mama mocktails. As mamas, this may be the wildest pool party that we attend all summer!

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