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Top summer learning activities for tykes

Top tips for keeping your preschooler or kindergartner sharp this summer.

By Jacquie Goetz Bluethmann

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Rev up the reading

With all kids — especially younger ones — it's really important to make reading fun. "Parents need to emphasize the pleasure of reading," says Micki Freeny, coordinator of children and youth services for the DC Public Library.

To start your reading-is-fun campaign, go on a library treasure hunt. Take your child's current interests — hamsters, outer space, ballet — and hunt together for books on her favorite topics. (Can't find what you're looking for? Look no further than your librarian!) Take advantage, too, of the free story times and summer reading contests (with prizes) most every library hosts. Also, consider checking out a great book series, which your child can really fall in love with during the laid-back summer months.

Keep the reading high jinks going by coming up with a list of funny places your child can read a book: in the bathtub, under a tree, on the stairs, in a backyard tent, inside a homemade fort. After checking off all the locations on the list, she wins a special summer prize, like a trip to an amusement park, local swimming pool, or favorite restaurant.

During long car trips or even lazying about at home, listen to audio books. (Check out BookAdventure for great audio book lists.) Without being held back by what they can’t read yet on their own, kids can build their vocabularies, get a feel for fluency, and practice advanced reading comprehension by listening to recorded stories. 

Jacquie Goetz Bluethmann is a freelance writer based in Detroit. She has written for  children's health and parenting magazines and blogs about both topics at Mom meets baby.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

06/16/2011:
"i moving school ddsd"
06/13/2011:
"Alomoist harml;ess. ALMOST HARMLESS. It sounds like if the child has hit the age of two, it's time to put the pressure on. IMHO, if they see you reading, if they see books on the table, on the night-table, they WILL WANT TO READ. iF THEY SEE YOU PLOPPPED IN FRONT OF THE tV . . . "
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