Whether your children are assigned summer reading books by their schools or decide to explore some titles on their own, the long, lazy days of summer offer great opportunities to indulge in this lifelong pleasure.
There are so many books for children, it's difficult to know where to begin. If the school sent home a list of suggested books, start there. The local library also has lists of books appropriate for all ages and children's librarians are usually extremely helpful.
This is the best time for kids to explore their own interests, which they may not time for during the school year. Maybe they are fascinated with robots, pirates, young warlocks playing games on broomsticks, or kids getting into "trouble" at sleep-away camp. Perhaps they want to know more about ancient Egypt or the American West. Books, books, and more books will fill their heads with wondrous knowledge.
You will find lists on line, at bookstores, and in books written on the subject of children's literature. We have a short list, too.
Some parents think summer is time for fun — not books. But books are fun! Think of the Harry Potter or the Twilight phenomena; think back to your favorite childhood books, from Nancy Drew to Judy Blume.
Those who read a lot as children hold on to the memory of the experience. It’s an enriching one that informs the adult as he or she travels through life, sparks creativity and fires the imagination.
Educators agree that reading helps with all aspects of learning. Those children who keep it up during the summer months are better prepared for fall classes. Those who do not may actually fall behind.
Reading helps children with writing, too. Those who write well are usually good readers. The same goes for vocabulary. The best way to understand new words is to read them in context. And it’s empowering to read books with unfamiliar words and get the gist of the story.
Books demand no batteries or electrical outlets. They can be stuffed into beach bags, backpacks, overnight totes, and bicycle baskets. They can be opened and enjoyed on park benches, during car rides, next to the pool and into the night. Remember the flashlight under the covers?
If your kids have Kindles or similar reading devices, it's an easy matter to download books. Most libraries are wired so that you can download books directly from their stacks.
Books are inexpensive and when borrowed from the library, do not cost a penny. Your kids can lend and borrow them to and from friends and even from you.
A Family Affair
It's fun to read aloud to your kids, even if they already know how to read. Read a book the entire family will appreciate. Set aside 30 minutes every evening in place of television. Everyone will eagerly anticipate this precious time.
As they read or are read to, your kids’ heads will be filled with marvelous creatures, faraway places, exciting adventures, fabulous inventions, and delightful fantasies. Could you ask for anything more for your children this summer?