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Keep reading during the California Summer

Published Feb 23, 2015 | Updated Feb 19, 2020

When school ends in June, many kids don’t pick up a single book during the summer months.  But keeping your kids reading during the summer months is important for a few reasons.  First, research has shown that there can be a loss of learning that takes place during the summer months when kids  are not in school, commonly referred to as the ‘summer slide’.  More importantly, summer reading teaches kids that reading is, and should be, a part of life, and not just something you have to do as a requisite for school.  Hopefully, with your encouragement and support, your child can develop a love for reading.    Helping your child read during the summer months will not only stop the ‘summer slide’ but it can also foster a love for reading.

Here are some tips to help keep your child reading during the summer.

Plug in to Your Local Library:  Not only do the San Francisco Bay Area libraries provide access to an enormous selection of books, but there is so much going on — reading programs and clubs, parent and tot story time, and other academic focused programming.  Visiting your local library on a regular basis (weekly) will help your child become familiar with the library and they will come to know it as a fun place to be.  Plus the enthusiasm of the librarians is infectious.  Here’s a
listing of libraries in your area:

San Francisco Libraries
SF Peninsula Libraries
South Bay Libraries

Model Desired Behaviour:  We all know that children model the behaviour of their parents.  Make sure you are reading regularly and that there is plenty of reading material scattered throughout your house — not just novels but magazines, newspapers and local San Francisco community publications as well. This helps

Set Time Aside For Reading:  Parents should designate 20 to 40 minutes in a day just for reading.  With so much going on in the summer, it’s easy to cut out or forget about reading.  Having a set time each day (or set days of the week) will help you and your child stick to their schedule and demonstrate the importance of reading. Take advantage of the warmer summer weather and take a book to the one of the many Bay Area beaches or parks.

Gamify Reading:  There are many different variations of this, but the objective is to create some way of having your child track his or her progress and ultimately reach a reading goal.  As an example, your child could maintain a reading journal, tracking the number of pages and minutes spent reading each session, with a goal of trying to get to 1,000 pages during the summer.  Some parents incentivize their child with a small prize at the end, but for others, the accomplishment of reading is reward itself. The local libraries throughout the Bay Area can also help with summer reading programs.

Road Trip Reading:  An old friend once told me, “Never get caught without something to read.”  (I won’t mention the airline he regularly flies.)  Families travelling during the summer months should take my friend’s advice.  Whether you’re travelling by car or plane, it usually means lots of waiting and ample opportunity for your child to read.  Try to limit your child’s screen time and stock up on books from your library instead.

Image by kewl, courtesy of Creative Commons.

Ashley Mead-Robins
By Ashley Mead-Robins
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