The school year in Australia is over and the long summer holidays have begun.
Parents often wonder how they will keep their children entertained during the long days with few structured or timetabled activities.
When returning to school after many weeks without the formal practice of skills taught during the previous year, teachers often lament that children’s reading fluency and level has fallen.
What is one way of addressing both these issues?
The answer might just be in a book!
Well in reading anyway.
Here are 20 suggestions for keeping your children entertained while maintaining their reading skills.
I’m sure you can think of many more!
Please keep in mind, as you read the list, that the amount of support given, or independence allowed, in each activity will need to be adjusted to the individual child’s age and reading ability. Even young children who are not yet reading independently can be included in most activities.
- Read to and with your child every day – continue the practice established throughout the year with special sharing times during the day or at bed-time — or both!
- Demonstrate that you value reading by making time for your own reading, or setting aside a special quiet time when everyone in the family reads.
- Visit the library and borrow to read, read, read!
- Read poetry books, song books, picture books, joke and riddle books, crossword books, information books, chapter books (these can be read to younger children, or with older children – taking turns to read a page or a chapter each) — what are your favourites?
- Trade books no longer read for others at a second-hand book store.
- When dining out, have your children read the menu and choose their own meal.
- Include your child in holiday cooking and have them read the recipe – ingredients and method. Perhaps they could read the recipe book to select the meal for the day.
- Suggest your child read the TV guide to find when favourite programs are showing and establish a timetable for viewing, rather than haphazard watching with random flicking through channels.
- Provide your child with bookstore catalogues and encourage them to read book descriptions to guide their next selection.
- Bestow upon your child the title of ‘Family weather watcher’ and have them consult weather forecasts in the newspaper or online to select the most suitable days for planned outings and activities.
- Include your child in making decisions about holiday activities. Give them the guide, or read the guide together and jointly choose the activities.
- Make the library, museums and art galleries high on the list of must-dos. Many of these offer a wonderful assortment of free holiday entertainment for children, and reading is an essential part of getting the most from each visit!
- Engage your child in some craft activities which require them to follow written instructions. The ability to understand and follow procedures is empowering and requires the ability to read written, as well as visual, instructions.
- Encourage your child to ask questions about every day events and phenomena. Help them to research in books at home, in the library or on the internet.
- Provide eBooks as well as books in print. Good ones bring a new dimension to the reading experience.
- When going out for the day, or journeying further away on a holiday, support your child in locating destinations on a map and in selecting an appropriate route. Engage your child in giving directions while en route.
- Include your child when reading bus or train timetables.
- When doing the family grocery shop, give your child their own list of items to look for.
- Listen to recorded books on long car journeys, or have books for listening to or reading along with in bed.
- Make the most of every reading opportunity that occurs throughout the day!
What are your favourite ways of incorporating reading into everyday activities?
When I was a child, I loved receiving books as gifts. I still do! Books are among my most treasured possessions.
I remember the delight when, on awaking in the dark of an early Christmas morning, I would reach down to end of my bed and discover a book there. I couldn’t see it, but I could feel the smooth glossy cover and the familiar roughness of the pages. I would lift the book up and breathe in the rich, delicious smell which promised so much pleasure I almost wanted to devour it. I knew that something delightful was in-store for me, and as the dawn’s soft glow began light the room, I watched the colours, pictures and words slowly take form and reveal themselves to me. What joy!
I am forever grateful to my parents for encouraging my love of reading.
The love of reading is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child.
So, here is #21, it probably should have been #1!
21. Give books as gifts!
Read! Read! Read!
You are welcome to download and distribute the 21 suggestions FREE from my TEACHERSpayTEACHERS store.
You can read another post on this topic by Nanny SHECANDO by clicking here.
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I love reading and I’ll read the Pop-Tart box at breakfast if it’s in front of me. 🙂 My kids love reading, too, so there is no coaxing or fighting about it.
But this is great, Norah. Most of the time, with little ones, it’s quicker and easier to do everything yourself (reading maps, getting weather forecast…) so I don’t hand those off to my kids. I should. You have some great ideas to incorporate reading into daily life. Thanks for sharing this.
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Thanks so much Sarah. I’m pleased you have found something useful in there!
I agree with you about reading. Put something in front of me and I’ll read it! I can’t believe how many times I’ve read the same ad on the back of toilet doors!!
I’m a bit of a compulsive counter too – will count the steps I walk up etc.
It’s always fun though – and good practice – keeps my brain working, I hope. (Sometimes I wonder when I find myself reading those same things over and over.)
Your children are very fortunate to have caught the love of reading from you. It’s one bug that’s great to share around. 🙂
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A great list, Nor! I am sure it would be wonderful for busy parents who perhaps feel overwhelmed by the holidays.
Thanks for your comment. I do hope it will be useful!
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I wholeheartedly agree with #2!
I think everything else will stem from that, it certainly did in my own family and I now endeavour to do the same with the kids I’m with. I’ve just now almost finished finding individual books to suit each child that I nanny and babysit for as Christmas presents. The books may not be currently featured on their wish lists to Santa but I can guarantee they’ll still be on shelves years from now when past loved toys have been forgotten.
Thank you for your comment. I agree, there is nothing more powerful than leading by example. I always give books as gifts for birthdays, Christmas, anytime! Your children are very lucky to have such a wonderful influence as you in their lives! I’m sure the books will be a treasured part of their collection, not only for the content, but because of the giver as well.
Books were one of the best bits of my childhood too!
A love we share!