Summer Reading Benefits and How to Encourage Your Child to Read This Summer

When the sun is shining brightly all day long, the weather is hot, and school is out, the last thing your child might want to do is sit inside and read. Sure, some children are naturally inclined to reading, and they enjoy books all year round, but others would much rather go outside and play with their friends, enjoying these warm months of freedom. Still, when heat waves hit and going outside is not really a fun option anymore, reading can become a pleasant and surprising alternative for kids to enjoy. 

The benefits of summer reading

Reading is a great way for children (and adults alike) to escape their daily routines and stimulate their imagination and creativity by immersing themselves in a good book. However, especially for children, it can bring about many other benefits that will help a child in their academic journey as well, come fall. 

Reading stimulates the imagination and helps children unlock the creative part of their brain, which can eventually lead them towards a career doing something creative, such as art, writing, architecture, literature, and so on. At the same time – and this is probably one of the biggest benefits of reading, not just during summer, but all year round – reading is a great way for children to expand their vocabulary and reach reading fluency. Through reading, children get to learn new words and phrases, which will help them better communicate and articulate themselves at school and in their daily lives. A strong vocabulary is a tremendous asset to have, and it can significantly help later on when your child embarks on their professional journey. 

Reading is also great for kids because it allows them to escape and experience different worlds, cultures, and perspectives without even leaving their room. There’s no easier way to detach from your daily worries and tasks than to immerse yourself in a good book. While children might not have tons of daily tasks and things to worry about, they do have their own struggles; they’re either too shy to go out, they might not have a lot of friends, or they might simply be having a hard time at school and need some time to relax and unwind. Or, they might be stuck inside all day long because of a heatwave, and need something to do that stimulates them without overheating them. 

Last but not least, reading is more than just a fun activity for kids to enjoy after school or on vacation. It can prove an invaluable tool that helps children overcome their learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, ADHD, dysgraphia, and other such afflictions. In fact, specialists recommend and encourage reading for children struggling with such learning difficulties, as much as possible, so even if they’re reading a fantasy novel, know that it’s helping them a lot to overcome their challenges. 

How to encourage, not pressure, your child to read 

While some kids gravitate naturally towards reading, and are always staring down the pages of a good book, some kids will be reluctant to read, especially if they’re struggling with dyslexia or other difficulties. If a child has ADHD or dyslexia, dysgraphia, or other similar disorders, they will tend to avoid reading altogether, because not being able to read and process words properly makes them frustrated and anxious. 

If your child is not interested in reading, or has difficulties with it and consequently avoids this activity altogether, the worst thing you can do as a parent is force them into it. Forcing or pressuring your child to read will only increase their anxiety and frustration, and they might end up disliking reading well into their adult years, which is not the outcome you want. Instead, there are things you can do to subtly nudge and encourage your child to read, without any pressure. 

Set an example

The best thing you can do, and what you should start with if you’re trying to encourage your child to read more this summer, is to set an example. Children and teens are like sponges; they will absorb the information around them and copy behaviors they observe in others, be it their parents, teachers, or friends. So, if your child notices that you’re reading, they will be intrigued, curious, and will want to try it themselves. A bonus advantage is that you’ll also get to stretch out your imagination, creativity, and vocabulary – a win-win situation. 

Make reading accessible 

You shouldn’t wait for your child to show an interest in reading to start buying books. Instead, provide them with the option and let them come to it in their own time. Leave magazines or books around the house, on the living room table, in the bathroom, so that your child has easy access to reading material should they want to pick it up. Get children’s books, fantasy or adventure classics, comic books, travel magazines, and get a feel for what your child enjoys to then further add to the collection. Your child might be interested in cars or sports, nature and wildlife, history, traveling, fashion, fantasy, technology – whatever it is, try to get a sense of what they like and try to provide reading material that they might be interested in to get them started. 

Try to limit technology and device use 

It can be a real challenge to convince children and teens that reading a book is fun, when all they want to do is chat on social media, take selfies and Tik Tok videos, and play games on their iPads. While technology is definitely useful and can enhance a child’s personal and academic development, too much of it can be harmful. Too much time spent on devices can lead to headaches, eye strain, neck and back pain, carpal tunnel, and even isolation and depression. Social media can also become addictive, especially for young children who don’t know yet how to take care of their mental health. So, try to limit device use as much as you can, and encourage your child to read, draw, paint, exercise, or play outside this summer. Set a time limit for device use and provide alternatives, including reading. Even if a child has no real interest in books, if they’re not allowed on their devices, they might get bored enough to give it a try – and they might end up loving it! 

If your child is struggling with learning difficulties like dyslexia, ADHD, autism, or if they’re having trouble with their reading fluency, reach out to our team and let’s figure out how to help them overcome these issues! 

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