School summer holidays should be filled with fun, sunny days, but that doesn’t mean that reading has to take a back seat.
Keeping a reluctant, struggling or just-starting reader on track, without battling about books, can be tricky – so, we have found a few of our favourite, tried and tested tips, a reading challenge and a fabulous free resource to help summer reading go smoothly.
Every year, thousands of families all over the country take part in the UK’s biggest reading event for children in libraries, the Summer Reading Challenge, run by the charity, The Reading Agency.
Every year there’s a different theme, and this year it’s called Story Lab. The aim of the challenge is to get children to read six books from their library during the summer holidays. Story Lab is aimed at children aged four to 11 although it is open to any child. It is run in very nearly all libraries in the UK and it is completely free.
The Summer Reading Challenge is designed for children of all ages and reading abilities. They can read any books they like – fact books, stories, joke books, picture books – it’s up to them. Audio books count too! As long as you’re borrowing them from the library, they all count.
This year, as in previous years, The Reading Agency has been working with the RNIB to create supersize materials with extra large print for children who are visually impaired, or children who have visually impaired parents/carers. There are accompanying information sheets about the Challenge in Braille and a Story Lab certificate in Braille.
Every child who reads six books gets a certificate, and most libraries are offering other rewards, too. For example, there are Bronze, Silver and Gold stickers for children reading 2, 4 and 6 books with secret website codes they can use online to unlock special animations. Just ask the library staff when you join up. Visit www.story-lab.org.uk for more information.
Kideeko Top Tips:
Tech-time: try to make sure that there is plenty of tech-free time to create a good environment for reading.Plan a particular time for TV and computers so that the screens don’t take over summer!
Fact finding: asking children to help find information about places to visit this summer gives them a reason for reading, and can give them a great opportunity to share and discuss the facts with the rest of the family.
Scrap it: start a summer scrapbook and encourage your child to add in tickets and leaflets from the places that you visit, newspaper clippings of local events and their own creative entries to make a memory log of what the summer of 2012 was really like.
Love the local library: join the local library and plan a visit the library regularly.If you can, take a different route – walk, cycle or take the bus to make it a real adventure.
Build a book nook: make a reading den indoors or outdoors if the sun is shining. Just a simple sheet hung up with a blanket and some comfy cushions underneath can become a peaceful reading nook, especially with the help of some twinkling Christmas lights or a torch to read by at bedtime.
Sharing stories: record each other reading a book. Have fun with it and see who can use the best, silliest, or scariest voices. Start off with a story that everyone is already familiar with to make it easy.This is a great way to help children understand the flow, plot and characters in a story and can spark their imaginations too if they decide that there is a better way to end the story.
Reward reading: keen readers will love the promise of a new book, reluctant readers might need other incentives.Keep the amount of reading short, with just bite sized chunks or chapters and make sure that they have some choice in what they read – the aim to gradually encourage a like or even a love of reading!
On the road: encourage children to read road signs, place names, maps and bus or train timetables when you are out and about.Even toddlers can look for picture clues when you are out. Pointing out pictures, shapes, colours and letters and talking about them with your toddler will build up their word power ready for reading. Ereaders can be great for travelling so perhaps consider getting one for the family.