As the summer holidays are finally here, I must admit that I am the first one to hang up the school bags with the joy of six weeks homework free. The kids are all shattered and I think they genuinely need a rest. The summer term seems to wind up instead of down and by the time we have crawled to the holidays, the last thing any of us want to be doing is worrying about is spellings and times tables.
There is a school of thought that the six week holiday, as much as it is beneficial for recharging batteries, it is detrimental to education. Six weeks without learning does mean that some things get forgotten.
But the one thing you can do and I always try and do this every year, encourage them to read. Reading is beneficial on so many levels. In the words of Joseph Addison, “reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”
Encouraging my kids to read has always been a priority for me. I have always been a keen reader and three of my four children have followed in my footsteps. One doesn’t and I have battled long and hard over the last few years to try and find ways to encourage him to read something. Fiction isn’t really his thing so we have had to be cunning to find other things for him to read.
Why is reading so important? It is the best way to improve English skills. Reading increases vocabulary helps literacy skills, creates understanding and knowledge. But even more importantly, if you enjoy reading, it doesn’t feel like work. It is escapism, a way of discovering new places, investing in other peoples’ stories and cultures.
How do you get your kids reading this summer? Why not set them a reading challenge?
There are two ways to do this. Firstly, visit your local library as many libraries set challenges over the summer holidays. These are brilliant. They are challenged to read a certain number of books over a couple of months and they are awarded stickers, certificates or medals when they have completed the challenge.
Or why not do a reading challenge of your own?
If libraries can do it, so can you. Decide on a realistic amount of books for your child to read. If they aren’t keen book readers, maybe get them to read a magazine, newspaper or non-fiction texts. As long as they are reading, that is the most important thing.
Decide what the reward should be. It could be a small toy, a day out or simply print off a certificate off the internet. Create a chart to tick off the books and stick it up somewhere they can see it daily to act as a reminder. Join in and try and read a couple of books too, we sit and read together and then talk about what we have read which is really lovely.
If you are worried that buying books will cost a fortune, The Works currently have an amazing offer where you can buy 6 books for £10 which is the perfect amount of books to set your own reading challenge. With books by David Baddiel, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Isla Fisher, Eva Ibbotson and more, there is a good range of fiction books to keep boys and girls reading for the next few weeks and beyond.
My daughter chose her own six books (and boy did that take a while) and she is currently enjoying Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella by Cerrie Burnell and loves the fact that we are spending some time each day sat reading together.
We were sent six children’s books by The Works free of charge in return for this post. All opinions are our own.