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!

Mix Things Up! Getting Creative With Reading

Every night I read 2-3 books to my four year old son Johnny and my two year old daughter Layla.  We typically sit in Layla’s room (which is still the nursery because I am lucky enough that she has never tried to climb out of her crib!).  Her room has a big, white comfy chenille upholstered rocking chair that the three of us squeeze into.  It’s tight and I won’t lie, there are often fights between the two about arms or feet touching, or one is distracting the other by holding their favorite toy.  That all aside, it’s the best, and I LOVE that special time with the kids.

Recently I have noticed they often want to play more with toys than have me read to them – not necessarily at night before bed, but during the day.  I know this probably has a lot to do with the excitement of new Christmas toys…but I love reading to them and I want to keep it fun for them as well.

I have decided to “mix things up” and surprise them with new spaces where we can read together.  I’ve come up with the following ideas:

  • Read in their closets with the lights off using a flashlight.
  • Drape a few blankets over our small round kitchen table and make a tent so we can read together in a “hide-out”.
  • Play preschool in the basement and pretend I am Johnny’s teacher reading his class a book.
  • Read to them while eating lunch.  Hey – this might even get them to eat their veggies without thinking or whining about it!
  • Read on the bed together.
  • Read in mommy and daddy’s bed together.
  • Go to the library.
  • Have them read to me.  This is really fun with board books, I love hearing their interpretations of each page!

Do you have a special place that you read to your children? Leave us a comment and tell us how you “mix things up”!

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax Opens in Theaters Today

I took my kids to see a movie today for the first time ever!  I was a little nervous to take a two and three year old to the movies, but Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax was a hit.  Now I must admit we had popcorn, treats, and drinks to keep them occupied – but it wasn’t even neccessary.  They were so captivated by the action, imagery, and storyline – it really ended up being a fun experience.  And we didn’t even have to take a potty break!
It seems reviews are mixed on this movie.  Some critics say it strays to far from the book – but I thought it was a cute movie with a great environmental message to protect nature and understand there are consequences when we don’t.  What I most enjoyed was The Lorax maintained the lively and coloful visuals we are used to seeing in Dr. Seuss books.  I can not get enough of these trees – I just LOVE the color scheme.  It makes me want to throw a Lorax themed party or decorate a room!  Here’s a few ideas I found in case you are inspired to do the same…
Truffula Tree Toppers by Hank and Hunt
The Lorax Cake Pops by Bakerella
It’s Party Time from Tanya Staab
The Lorax Tree Centerpiece by Gwynn Wasson Designs
Did you catch this?  A Lorax Moustache Pillow!
Ceiling Poms at Clara’s Closet
Truffula Tree Craft from Babble

Valentine’s Day Storytime at Pottery Barn Kids!

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and I know many of you have fun activities planned for your little ones.  Whether it’s baking cookies, making Valentine’s Day cards, or attending parties, it’s all part of your family tradition.  Why not include a reading-related activity for this special holiday?  If you live near a Pottery Barn Kids retail store, they are having Valentine’s Day Storytime at 11:00am – full of fun books and activities.  Locate your local Pottery Barn Kids for more details!

Pottery Barn Kids offers Storytime Tuesdays!

It’s always nice to get your kiddos out of the house for a fun activity – especially when it involves reading!  Pottery Barn Kids now offers Book Club Story Time on Tuesdays at 11am in retail stores! Kids will get an official book Club Passport at their first story time, and they receive a special gift after five visits. Check with your local Pottery Barn Kids store for more info.