Opinion

Add reading to summer fun


Published: Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 2:52 p.m.

The last school bell has rung, but we must make sure that students don't stop reading.

As millions of children stream out into the sunlight, eager to engage in summer activities like swimming, camping and Little League, there is a great risk that our schoolchildren will suffer summer reading loss.

But parents have the power to prevent this. There's no need for you to force your child to read in a formal way. You can easily incorporate reading into daily activities.

While cooking, have your child read the recipe to you. If you're looking for something to watch on television, have her read the descriptions of the shows from the newspaper or while browsing the cable menu. If he gets a new toy that requires assembly, have him read the directions to you as you assemble it.

If you're planning a family vacation, have your children read through brochures and summarize the best parts for the rest of the family. If you've got a movie enthusiast at home, read the book together before the movie hits the big screen. If your child is a video game buff, share with him game-specific magazines that offer insider information on how to beat the games.

Whatever your kids are into, there are books or magazines about it. Follow their leads, even if it means reading about robots or fairies or aliens all summer.

The idea is to avoid making reading an unpleasant chore. Instead, show it as an integral and enriching part of daily life.

If you run out of ideas, visit the public library, where you will find a librarian eager to encourage young readers. The library will also likely have special summer resources for readers of all ages. Best of all, it's free! Children as young as 5 can check out books, magazines, and use the computers onsite.

There's one more thing you can do: Read in front of your kids. Young readers will benefit from seeing you enjoying books, magazines and other printed materials.

The key to sparing your kid from summer reading loss is to incorporate reading as an enjoyable daily activity for the whole family.

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams is a writer for Progressive Media Project, a source of liberal commentary on domestic and international issues; it is affiliated with The Progressive magazine.

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