Glowing suntans ... painful sunburns. Fun campouts ... dangerous tick bites. Rest and relaxation ... brain drain. There are lots of great things about summer vacation, but we all know there are a few downsides as well. While kids are enjoying their free time, many are also losing one to three months' worth of learning, according to a study by the University of Missouri @ Columbia.
You already know how to treat burns and bites, so what's the prescription for "summer brain drain"? Reading! And how do you get kids onboard with summer reading when they're busy with vacations, sports and just hanging out? Make it as much fun as possible. Here's how:
Embrace social networking.
Encourage your son or daughter not just to read a book but blog about it, post their thoughts on Goodreads
, or create a video about their favorite book and post it on YouTube. Also, most authors nowadays have blogs and Web sites. So, it's super-easy to drop their favorite authors a line. (And authors love hearing from their readers!)
Offer incentives. Everyone loves to win money and prizes, right? If that's not your style, offer chore-free days, their favorite meals for a weekend, or a big slumber party for each book that your child completes.
Have a picnic book swap. Gather all of the kids in your building or neighborhood for a late-summer barbecue. Each kid can bring a couple of their favorite reads and trade them with each other (like we used to do with baseball cards or comic books). If they're game, have each kid read a small section from his or her favorite book aloud, or get them to dress like a character from their books. This helps turn reading into a fun event to look forward to rather than a chore.
Do some destination reading.
Encourage your child to read books set in the destination of your summer vacation, and then talk about the differences between the real place and how it was depicted in the book. Did you visit Grandma in Alaska? Pick up The Call of the Wild
. Just get back from baking in the Florida sun? Check out Hoot
Bond over a book. The line between what adults and kids are reading is beginning to fade. So, buy two copies of one of the books on your kid's summer reading list. Then you can read it together and talk about it at key chapters over a meal, a car ride or while you're out shopping. Homework's not such a bad thing when Mom and Dad are doing it, too!
Nowadays there are so many things stealing your kid's attention: movies, TV, YouTube, video games. Compete by picking novels that are full of illustrations, graphics and photos. They're not hard to find: Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink
has 12 full-page, outrageous illustrations by an award-winning comic-book artist, and The Invention of Hugo Cabret
andDiary of a Wimpy Kid
tell captivating stories by using both pictures and text.
And, of course, if all else fails, you could always "accidentally" run over the video game controller with the vacuum cleaner! Then your son or daughter will have nothing left to do but crack open a book!report abuse