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Ten ways to keep kids reading this summer

Creative ideas for encouraging children to beat the heat and hit the books.

GreatSchools Blog

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By GreatSchools Staff

School’s out, the days are longer, and suddenly kids have time on their hands. But when the weather’s so nice, who wants to hole up indoors with a book?

Hardly surprising, but many studies have shown that children who read when they're out of school do better academically than those who avoid cracking open a book. Here are 10 ways to get even the most reluctant reader started on a reading adventure.

1. Get inspired by Hollywood

Movies can be a great way to get kids excited about reading, so kick-start summer with film adaptations of popular children’s books. Parents might Netflix Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), based on a book by Roald Dahl. If kids warm up to Mr. Fox, you’ll be able to introduce them to the book version  as well as other titles by the author, like James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The BFG.

2. Take a book-themed vacation

“I can go anywhere!” — or so says the theme song to the PBS show Reading Rainbow. Parents could do a lot worse than taking those songsmiths to heart and helping children plan a vacation inspired by a book they love. To start, try reading Liz Garton Scanlon’s picture book All the World while planning a trip to the beach. New Englanders might visit Providence, R.I., after reading the historical young adult novel The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.

3. Meet the authors

Kids of all ages can benefit from attending an in-person literary event. Authors routinely make appearances at bookstores to read their latest work, and these events are often sparsely attended. Seeing the person behind the words could inspire kids to try a new book. For dates and times, check local news and bookstore websites.

4. Get cookin' with books

Parents of kids who aren’t interested in the more traditional children's books might want to steer their offspring toward other genres. Cookbooks can encourage kids to master practical skills while providing a delicious payoff at the end. And children who branch out into the world of food blogs will find endless reasons to keep reading.

5. Wise up on periodicals

Magazines cater to many interests and can inspire kids to read deeply on subjects they enjoy. Among magazines suitable for younger readers, several well-known magazines, like National Geographic, offer “kids” editions. For older kids, there's the real thing: Aspiring fashionistas can get materialistic by reading Teen Vogue or regular Vogue, while beginning rockers might turn to Paste or Rolling Stone. And young journalists can subscribe to Time or Newsweek.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

07/19/2010:
"We live within walking distance from a barnes and noble. It was also brought to my attention that we can go to the library and set up our own computer accounts and this is good for so many Obvious reasons as long as the computers are close enough to monitor the sites they view. Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts. Sue"
07/19/2010:
"I tried that and it really worked!"
07/19/2010:
"I think this article was amazing! In fact, I love to read"
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