By Jacquie Goetz Bluethmann
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.
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