Reading This Summer

School is finally out and the summer camps and activities begin! Vacation Bible School will be just around the corner and before you know it, we’ll be shopping for school clothes and supplies all over again!


There is a temptation to get away from the books over the summer. Enough of school; let’s play. That would be a huge mistake. In fact, many parents stop reading to their older children when bedtime story time seems passé. Making the assumption that your kids don’t want to hear you read leaves a lot of learning and relationship on the table unclaimed.


The truth is, there are ways to change up the routine and keep the kids learning and growing. Setting a goal of the number of pages to read each day helps them see the big picture. Choosing a time other than bedtime changes the impact. One parent reads while the kids eat breakfast. It’s better than staring at a phone or trying to keep the video game going.


Try asking your kids to read out loud to you! Especially if you start when they are younger, turning the tables increases the fun. Choose a different book to meet your own interests to introduce variety into their vocabulary. A few pages of listening and you can switch who reads and the book chosen. It could double the amount of reading time.


One dad admits that he sneaks in an academic journal to read to his nine-month old. He reports no difference in interest. Imagine the child prodigy that could come from that experience!


Teachers will appreciate the reading you foster over the summer. Instead of spending several weeks re-engaging the students in books and learning, your child will be ready to start on the first day.


The real magic of reading together is the bond you form by sharing that content and affection together. Giving your relationship a common experience, diving into their world by reading things that interest them and sitting together to stir your emotions together for a while deepens the relationship between you and your child. It gives you things to refer back to when you are trying to explain something to your child. And it communicates that you love them enough to spend time reading together!


What’s on your bookshelf?

Dr. Matt Crain writes weekly for the Sunday newspaper from his Connecting Fathers and Families ministry.