Reading in the summer: Keep the momentum going

Guest Post by Melissa Harrison

If I had to venture a guess, I would say that between all of my kids (I have four, ages 6 years and under) we have about 300 children’s books in our home. Two entire bookcases are dedicated just to books in our play area. My kids are obsessed with books.

I am, too.

When I was little, not only did I grow up reading books, I grew up writing them. My best friend and I would write chapter stories and exchange manuscripts on the bus to school each morning. When we started, it was before we had computers in our homes. So, I’m talking about countless hand-written pages (I don’t think it was until we were in middle school that we started typing out our musings).

I’ve been a reader and a writer for as long as I can remember. Now, I can’t say what percentage of my reading and writing obsession has caused my kids to love books as much as I do (I’m guessing my husband had something to do with it, too) but I’m fortunate that they have learned this important value at such young ages.

As school starts to wind down for the year, here are some tips to keep everyone interested in reading (I’m talking about you, your kids, the neighbor kids, your nieces and nephews, or a friend’s kid you decide to hang on to for the day):

  • Check your local library listings for family or children’s story time and try to get to one each month.
  • Make time for yourself and set a reading goal. Maybe it’s reading one “fun” book a month in addition to one “work-related” book (oh wait, that’s my goal…but I’ll share if it works with your schedule, too).
  • Keep a list of books you want to share with your kids either through an Amazon wish list or on GoodReads and check them off as you go through them this summer.
  • Have the kids in your life choose a “letter of the day.” Then, choose books to read that start with that letter. Or, go exploring outside and look for things that begin with your daily letter. Reading and word comprehension don’t always have to be about the physical book.
  • Pretend to “jump in” to the book you’re reading. Grab hands, count to three, and “jump” into the cover. Then, as you read the story aloud, ask your kids questions about where they are or what they’re doing in the book.

And check this out: On May 24, Target announced they will be providing 42 schools across the country with new libraries as part of the 2011 Target School Library Makeover program. Three of the lucky schools are even located right here in Minnesota!

So while it’s not breaking news, reading is and always will be important. Just because school’s out for the summer, it’s not an excuse to take a break. Think of all the great adventures you’ll miss!

Now, what will you do this summer to encourage the value of reading?

Melissa Harrison is a business owner, avid reader, writer and mother of four. She lives in Albertville, MN and is always looking for great book suggestions. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter or email.

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