How to Keep Kids Reading this Summer

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Worried about your child forgetting all about reading while in the throes of vacation? Then here're some interesting tips for you, courtesy of some cool authors.

Below is a link to the TV clip, which may be a great starting point for your own discussion on how to keep kids reading through the dog days of summer. Jane O'Connor (Fancy Nancy) gives tips for the young readers, MAC (Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink) advises the 9-12 crowd, and Scott Westerfeld (Uglies) saves teens from summer boredom. Jane and Scott are of course NY Times Bestsellers; and MAC is an "up & comer" who recently sold out of her debut novel at its sneak preview during NY Comic Con.

And if you need more ideas, MAC has a lot more creative tips for summer reading on her blog at
*NEW* Author Guest Post : Jasmin Rosemberg (and a GIVEAWAY!)
Interview and Giveaway with Author Jean Holloway. Ends July 21.
Scholastic Summer Kit Giveaway. Ends July 15.

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2 People said

  1. Here are a few suggestions that we always recommend to parents to help their kids get reading:

    1. Encourage them to start a book club with their friends

    A book club is a great way to get your kids interested in reading. All across the country these groups of book lovers are becoming very popular. The easiest way to begin is to have your child choose a group of 3-10 friends that would like to join. You might contact their parents and let them know what you are trying to do. Once your child has found a group, they can all decide on a book to read and discuss as they go. Help your child make the club a fun, interactive activity by planning weekly meetings with treats. They can also make posters advertising their club to put up around school to enlist more members.

    The benefits of a book club are that it takes the solitary aspect of reading and brings it into a child’s social sphere (which is very important to them). It also allows them to discuss what they’ve read, which helps them with reading comprehension.

    2. Incorporate technology

    Today’s kids are certainly better at using technology than we were. Raised with computers, video games, and iPods, these kids are both accustomed to and craving technology. While some might think that this puts them in direct conflict with old-fashioned book reading, there are some great ways to incorporate reading into technology.

    The Cupcakes Club is a perfect example. The Cupcakes Club( is an online book club/kiddy social media site started by a grade school teacher intent on encouraging her students to read. The site is aimed at girls aged 6-12 and uses fun, value-driven books sent in the mail and a safe online club where members can read up on their favorite character’s blogs, get updates, participate in moderated discussions, as well as play games and get advice from mentors. Sites like these are a really simple way of ensuring that your kids are getting regular reading material and encouragement while interacting in a safe place online. "I wanted to write books that make for great "what would you do?" conversations between friends or mothers and daughters. The Cupcakes Club introduces young girls to pre-teens in situations that they can relate to and enjoy and maybe learn some life lessons at the same time,” says Donna Benson, author and founder of The Cupcakes Club.

    3. Help them find books with characters or topics they identify with

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that your kids are more apt to read books containing characters that they identify with or topics they are interested in. However, these may not always be easy for them to find and they may not realize (especially younger ones) the full variety of books available. Take your kids to the library and let them page through some books, or browse with them to let them see what’s out there.

    It’s also important to note that gender representation is very important to kids. Many researchers and authors argue that readers identify with characters of their own gender in books. Whether you have girls or boys, you should know that finding appropriate female and male characters in books helps kids to identify with their gender and to validate their place in society. Make sure that the books they are reading present them with appropriate role models, and are not overly stereotypical.

    4. Discuss ideas in books that your child reads (Yes, this means you will be reading the books your children read).

    Reading the books your children are reading gives you a unique opportunity to bond with them and share their reading experience. In addition, it demonstrates that reading is important to you as well. When reading your childrens’ books, look for important themes and topics that can lead into age-appropriate discussions. Remember, this is a great opportunity to communicate important messages to your child and to listen to their own viewpoints, ideas and opinions.

    5. When a topic of interest develops that involves the whole family, bring home some books on the topic to share. Give everyone a “mission” to find a specific piece of information and report on it.

    Why not make reading and researching a full family affair? Especially with kids of varying ages, it can often be difficult to bring everyone together with common goals. Reading is a great way to do it. If your family is planning an upcoming vacation, consider bringing home some books, magazines or even internet materials for everyone to look at and read. You might even let everyone research a few choices and give reasons why they prefer a specific place according to what they’ve read.

    Another idea is to choose a hobby that the kids are interested in trying and letting them look at books on the subject. This is a great way to help your kids read with a purpose and recall details and report them. It allows everyone to participate in the project, and sets the stage for years of research papers.

    Donna Benson


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