It’s summertime, which for many kids means hazy, lazy days diving into pools and bike rides until sunset. It’s a time to relax and enjoy the brief respite between school years. But, you don’t want to just let those developing brains wither away in the hot sun! Get a book under those sunblock covered noses!

Now who better to give advice about summer reading than a teacher? I can’t think of anyone. That’s why on today’s blog I’m lucky to have guest blogger, Janet Rainey, an elementary school teacher and a reading specialists. She’s also a pretty great writer! She kindly agreed to write a lovely blog about reading inspiration and fun and unique ways to encourage kids to read this summer!

Guest Blog: Teacher Knows Best! The ABCs of Summer Reading for Kids by Janet Rainey

The Start of a Love Affair

I have vivid memories of when I fell in love with reading. I was in the backseat of my mom’s car, headed for summer camp in North Carolina. It was muggy in Virginia during July and even more so cramped in the back seat. “I-Spy” had run its course, as had the License Plate Game but we still had hours ahead of us. I had been given a list of summer reading suggestions from my 5th grade teacher and I had to read a minimum of 5 books.  Reading always came easily to me for as long as I can remember, but the LOVE of reading is another story (pun not intended).bridge to terra

Begrudgingly, I rustled around in my backpack for one of my book selections. My teacher Mrs. Esch, gave us a detailed list of book choices, separated by genre. They were written by highly acclaimed writers and some had been highlighted in literary magazines such as The Horn Book. The five books with the least number of pages in them were the ones I opted for, hoping to get this assignment over with as easily as possible.

I picked out Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson.

There was something about the characters and how Patterson described them. I felt like they were there in the car with me, cramped in that small backseat. I read the book straight through. I was so emotionally invested in the bittersweet story.

Now, I am looking for ways to pass on that gift that my teachers gave me—an invitation to step into fantasy worlds, historical times past…really anywhere you can imagine.

A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.

–Neil Gaiman

So Many Reading Resources!

read all the booksThere are so many programs designed to encourage summer reading—and they’re free! Here are a few local resources, but it’s easy to find similar programs in any community.  Start by looking on your local public library’s website for various summer reading incentives.

You can also find many resources by looking on your local government’s website.  Here are a few fun and different ideas to get children excited about reading.

Reluctant Readers

star wars reading graphic novelEye-catching Reads

What about those kids who would rather do anything but crack a book? Try something unconventional like plays, comics, graphic novels, or magazines.

“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”

–Maya Angelou

Reader’s Theater

Try something truly unique with reader’s theater. Reader’s Theater is a style of theater in which the actors do not memorize their lines. Actors use only vocal expression to help the audience understand the story rather than visual storytelling such as sets, costumes, intricate blocking, and movement.

Double the fun

Another way to encourage reluctant readers is to prompt them to reread a book that they already enjoyed reading. This promotes fluency and reading comprehension.  Since they already know the gist of the story, they have scaffolding and support needed for independent reading, and it is a huge confidence booster.

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”

–Oscar Wilde

Book Clubs

Keep calm join a book clubStart a book club for your child and his or her friends. Take turns hosting a discussion about various children’s books, enjoy a craft or snack inspired by their book choice. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Here are some ideas to get you started:

So don’t let those kiddies just drink in pool water this summer! Try to fill those car trips with books instead of video games and movies! Your kids will thank you later! And so will their teachers!

Thanks to Janet Rainey for this great post!!