Hook A Bookworm This Summer

art-615-bookworm Summer vacation is a great time to show your children that reading can be a fun, special treat. Encourage their love of books by offering the following tantalizing activities and options.

Set the Hook:  Create a Book Nook

Just as book stores create enticing displays to draw you in, make a special “book nook” in your home and fill it with cozy things that will attract your children. This can be as simple as filling a corner with a soft mat, pillows and blankets. Place a collection of books nearby, so your children will come to associate reading with the time they enjoy in their special space.

For additional charm, decorate the area with framed pages from their favorite books, or use storybook characters to create a mobile or wall mural. Give your children a feeling of ownership by asking for their help and opinions along the way.  Feeling like they had a hand in creating the space will give them an extra sense of pride, and they’ll naturally be drawn to a spot with colors and props they’ve picked out.

Purchase bookplate stickers so that they can claim the book collection for their own, and allow young children to affix the stickers to their books. Encourage expansion of their book collection by adding bookshelves.

While traditional shelves get the job done, the small spines can become overwhelming when crowded together on a shelf. Consider shelving that allows you to display the books’ entire front covers. Each time they walk by the area, they’ll glimpse interesting storybook characters … and be drawn to stop and read about them.

Reel Them In with Interactive Reading

Whether you have a calm cuddler or an active jumper, all children enjoy reading in an interactive way. Use different voices and hand movements to keep your children engaged in the story, and encourage them to participate as much as possible. Older children can be given a character’s “part” to read. Younger children can fill in words of their favorite refrain or make sound effects that go along with the dialogue and pictures.

While many older children still love being read to, another option is to ask them to read a book to you. The role reversal is a great confidence builder and another way to have fun with reading.

Adventures Beyond the Book

Create a stronger reading bond with your children by choosing family activities related to their favorite books. Many books have associated with movies that you can watch together and then discuss. Or, if they enjoyed a particular movie, see if there are any books about their favorite characters.

Turn a book into a game by giving your children paper bags or socks to decorate as storybook characters. Help them reenact the book as a puppet show. Once the show is over, children of all ages will still enjoy playing with the puppets as the book is being read … and long after. This is a great way to encourage an interest in both reading and storytelling.

Infuse reading with newness and excitement by taking trips to the library. Many libraries offer storytime and other book-related events, and will give library cards to children of all ages. Children love choosing books and then checking them out with their very own library cards.

Create a stronger reading bond with older children by reading parts of a chapter book together each night, then discuss what you’ve read over dinner the next evening. The suspense of what will happen next, combined with family conversation, is sure to create special book-related memories.

Dangle the Bait:  Book Allowances and Wish Lists

Different than a traditional allowance, consider giving your children a “book allowance” that will allow them to buy one or two books each month (or whatever time period works for your family). By using books as a reward or special treat, you’ll encourage your children to think of reading as something fun to be sought after.

Build excitement by helping your children create a “wish list” of books they want to read. Scan the internet for books that look intriguing, or take your children on an excursion to a book store. The array of new, colorful books can persuade even the most hesitant of readers to start a wish list.

While some children will pick a dozen books right away, others may get overwhelmed with the huge selection. If you think your children will need help, make a list of books ahead of time, then point out some of the books that you think will especially intrigue them. Of special interest will be books that include their favorite hobbies, or books that reflect relevant life transitions or upcoming events.

The Elusive Catch:  Hooking Your Disinterested Reader

The key to hooking disinterested readers is to make reading a treat instead of a chore. Magazines and comic books can be a great place to start. Their manageable size combined with interesting pictures and captions may have more allure than the plain text of chapter books.

Offer reading rewards that will encourage more reading. Treat them to extra computer time dedicated to reading websites and internet articles that you’ve approved. Let them pick out a magazine subscription, which will have them checking the mailbox for their very own mail.

When your children show interest in a particular sport or hobby, or they ask about an upcoming vacation, refer to a book and find the answer together. If the topic is one they’re especially interested in, they may continue reading after you’ve moved on.

Show your children how special books can be, and with a little encouragement their summer reading experience will stretch throughout the year.

Find Great Books for Your Home Library                                             

Colleen Wright
About Colleen Wright

Colleen Wright is the work-at-home mom of a spirited preschooler whose favorite request is, “Tell me a story?”

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