How to keep kids reading this summer

beauty girl read book
With these tips, your child won’t want to stop reading!
Credit: Colourbox

It’s officially summer and if your kids are like most, they’re excited to put their books away and focus more on running around outside, watching TV and playing with your iPhone or tablet. Reading probably isn’t on the top of their list, so we asked Maggie McGuire, VP of eScholastic, Parents & Kids Channels for new, interactive ways to keep kids reading all summer long. McGuire is one of the creative minds behind the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, which correlates with the tips she shared with us.

Let kids choose their own books. Your son or daughter will be more likely to pick up a book to read if it’s something he or she picked out and not something you gave them and assigned. McGuire suggests taking a trip to a local community bookstore together where you can not only browse books based on their interests, but check out kids only readings.

Read outside. “Swing by Governor’s Island new Hammock Grove, Riis Beach in Far Rockaway or the new Brooklyn Bridge Park for an outdoor read-aloud,” McGuire says. Especially if it’s a book about nature, it’s fun for kids to be in an atmosphere mirroring what they’re reading about.

Go beyond a book. Many famous kids books are set in places that we walk by every day. After your daughter reads “Eloise,” have tea at the Plaza together. “Or you can go to a museum like the Museum of Modern Art and relive ‘The Fixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,’” recommends McGuire.

Aim for 11 books. Setting a reading goal with your child this summer gives them something to work toward. Your son or daughter can create their own reading chart and they can put a sticker next to each completed book title. Plan to do something fun together when the  goal is met, like seeing a movie based on one of the books.

Read and learn about it. “Pick some nonfiction books. After visiting the zoo, have kids learn more about animals with the Discover More series. Or check out a science museum and search for STEM-related titles in the gift shop to keep their curiosity going,” says McGuire.

Go stargazing. Another way to get your children to read more nonfiction is to take them to a planetarium or stargazing spot in your city. “If you’re in New York, Lincoln Center, the High Line and the Hayden Planetarium are great options,” says McGuire. Then, give your son or daughter a book related to astronomy to read at home.

Be a reading role model. If your kids see you reading, they are more likely to read themselves. “Take your child to a book signing for an author you like or go to the library together, where you can read side-by-side,” McGuire says.

Reading doesn’t have to just be a sit-still-and-be-quiet activity. By making it interactive, your kids are more likely to want to keep reading, even when school isn’t in session.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence


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  1. Mrs. McGuire got a few things wrong in this piece. First off, “The Fixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” is set in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, not MoMA. Second, the book is in fact named “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”. Shame that McGuire didn’t know that. That being said, “From the Mixed-Up…” is a fantastic book, and well worth the read with a young one, especially if you plan on visiting the Met in the near future.