3 Easy, Simple Ways to Keep your Kids Reading this Summer

Image courtesy of Time.com

I’ve read a lot of articles about ways to make sure your children keep reading over the summer.  Many involve signing up for some type of reading club, tracking the number of books read, reading charts, and rewards.  While this may work for some families, it just doesn’t in ours.  We are so busy with activities, charts, tracking, etc during the school year, and I just prefer summer to be a time to take a step back and RELAX!

It doesn’t mean however, that I want my kids to stop reading.  I want them to read, and I want them to WANT to read.  I just prefer a more low-key approach, and this works for us.  So here are a few easy, simple ways you can ensure your children continue reading throughout the summer:

  • Visit your public library weekly.

That’s it!  There are no rules when you get to the library other than your kids get to choose what book they want to pick out.  Some libraries also have Children’s Storytime once a week.  My kids love this.  {On a side note:  This can be a good time to go as well, because chances are someone else’s kids will be screaming and yelling…so you won’t feel so bad if your own have a meltdown!}  Libraries offer more than just books, and I’m okay with that.  If my kids want to check out a movie or hop on the library computer for a bit – I let them.  I want the library to be an experience they enjoy and look forward too.

  • Change up your reading spot frequently.

I’ve written about this before, but it truly is the easiest way to make reading fun.  I let the kids decide what new and fun spots (inside or out) they would like to pick for reading.  We’ve read in my son’s crib, in home-made forts, in the playset, at the picnic table, under the table,  in the dark with a flashlight…you name it.

  • Make time for reading.

During the school year bedtime is when we read.  In the summer it’s just not the best time for our family.  We are outdoors every evening and typically let the kids stay up later.  So we do our best to try and carve out time earlier in the day for this.  My rule this summer is for the kids to wake up, make their beds, brush their teeth, and do a few simple chores.  Before they can turn on the TV, they need to read for 20 minutes.   Sometimes I do hear a few groans, but once we start reading they forget about the TV and sometimes end up reading longer than I had even hoped for.

If you have other tips or ideas on how to keep your little ones reading this summer, please share with us!

BOOK REVIEW: Press Here

Press-Here-Book

Books make the BEST gifts.  Probably more for me at the time of opening (let’s face it – it’s not a toy they can rip open immediately – so the kids don’t get overly excited)!  However, the kids do enjoy reading new books and are so engaged during the first reading.  This year at Christmas, Layla received Press Here, an extremely interactive, colorful and FUN read.  What was different about this present is amongst all of the toys – she kept coming back to this book to sit down and read.

Written by artist/author Herve TulletPress Here, engages little readers right away on the first page.  “Ready?” it asks, on a page with one single yellow dot.  The kids couldn’t wait to turn the page to find out what was next.  What they discover is if they press the dots, magical and fun things happen.  New dots appear, and not just yellow dots but red and blue too.  And if they shake the book side to side?  Well it just gets crazy!

press-here-book-keep-clappi

Press Here is a gem, not only does it incorporate math and art concepts, but it’s also FUN for both parents and kids to experience.  I find myself getting really goofy when I am reading this book to the kids and there are lots of giggles.  In a time when children are so obsessed with gadgets and iPads, Press Here does an amazing job of showing how much fun you can have with paint colors and your imagination.

art-child-painting-herve-tu

I’m excited to check out other books by Herve Tullet, including Mix it Up! and Let’s Play!.  Want to see Press Here in action, then be sure to check out this video trailer.

Spontaneous & Fun Reading Spaces for Kids

In the summer, I will be the first one to admit, we slack a bit when it comes to reading.  We are out of the school routine…and we don’t have a reading chart to sign and send back everyday!  There’s so much to do outside and sometimes the kids seem to have less of an interest in reading.
This weekend we took a break from the heat and I decided to let the kids pick a special spot they would like to build a “reading fort”.  Layla picked Jesse’s crib and the rest was history.  We spent a few minutes building the fort (which as you can see was pretty easy).  Because it was dark under there, we started by telling spooky stories and then Layla read one of her favorite books to Jesse called The Monster at the End of this Book.
You can see she gets very animated!  This honestly was the sweetest moment.  The kids weren’t fighting, complaining or saying they were bored.  They were genuinely having fun reading!  So much they asked to do it again the next day.  #Winning!
Awhile back we reviewed The Monster at the End of this Bookcheck it out!

Pink Flamingos

So my two and a half year old Jesse has an obsession with birds…specifically pink flamingos!  It all started with a walk to the park when he spotted one (well yard art) in someone’s landscaping.  He talks about it on walks now and looks for them constantly.  He even poses like them frequently and says “Look mom, I’m a pink flamingo!”…and he’s SO proud.

So what does this have to do with children’s books you might ask?  Now, more than ever they are popping up on EVERY children’s book I read.  I know it’s part of a California-inspired trend right now (i.e.:  flamingos, swans, pineapples, etc), but it still makes me laugh.  He has spotted them in at least 5 of the books we own.  Never noticed them before.  He doesn’t want to read any of our classics, as much as I try.  And guess what?  I’m okay with that!  He’s my 3rd child!  Bottom line is he still enjoys cuddling up with me and a book and I will take it.  Just for fun here’s a pic of little Jesse and his new pink flamingo stuffed animal his aunt picked up for him on a recent zoo trip.  Love this boy.

 

I’m back!

So it’s been quite some time…(okay years) since I’ve posted.  I went from working part-time to full-time which included nights and weekends.  I now work a normal 8-5pm job and have much more time to share our favorite children’s books.  My children are now 7, 6, and 2 and a half, and I am excited to share what we have been reading and our summer reading plans.  Stay tuned!

The AJ Crib by ducduc NYC – A crib and bookcase in one!

Isn’t this genius?  Perfect for making use of small spaces, the AJ Crib by ducduc NYC doubles as a bookcase with a modern twist.  Available in many funky, bold colors for the most playful of personalities, this wonderfully designed crib will make a statement in any nursery.  This crib/bookcase can certainly have a a life beyond baby, as ducduc also makes a toddler conversion kit.  It would also be perfect for a reading corner in a playroom for young children after they outgrow the toddler bed.

Puff the Magic Dragon Children’s Book Review

One of my favorite things to with the kids before bedtime is to sing together.  Paired with reading, it really calms them down and is just so soothing.  I love when I find children’s books that I can sing to the kids.  They often learn the words and sing along with me. 
Let me preface this review by saying a) I have a horrible voice and b) my kids will only think this time is “soothing” until they realize how bad my voice is.  I have to cherish these moments of cuddling, sweetness and sibling cooperation while they last! 
Puff the Magic Dragon (the children’s board book by author Lenny Lipton) is by far the most beautifully illustrated children’s book we currently own.  Vibrant, colorful, soft, and flowing imagery blend together to create a captivating experience for little ones.  Filled with lots of visual details, each page has so much to see, and yet beautifully done without being too busy.  Props to illustrator Eric Puybaret.
After singing along to this book for many nights, my kids now both know the words and often sing with me.  This is often Layla’s first choice when she decides to pick a bedtime story.   My son will often smile and say “oh no…not this one”, and yet he sings right along and often asks to read it again.  He has such a sweet and sensitive side, and this book really brings that out.  Available online and at many bookstores, I can guarantee you will cherish Puff the Magic Dragon as much as we already have.