The school holidays can be a tricky time to convince your child to continue with their regular reading schedule. But practising their reading doesn’t have to mean sitting still at the table and reading a book they don’t like until the timer goes off. Here are some ways you can keep your child reading and having fun over the school holidays.
1. Create ‘DEAR’ times at home. DEAR stands for ‘Drop Everything and Read’ and is implemented in many schools and classrooms. It’s simple: during DEAR time everybody in the house must drop what they’re doing and read. Plan how much DEAR time you would like to designate and for when, but keep it to yourself in order to create a sense of excitement and spontaneity, similar to announcing a special treat.
2. Take part in story times at your local library. Many libraries host story time sessions or reading groups for different ages. It’s a great way for your child to read and talk about new books with others their own age and to view reading as an enjoyable activity that can be shared. If you can’t find any in your local area, get together with your neighbours, friends or relatives to host a weekly reading session at each other’s houses.
3. Let your child show off their reading skills to relatives. The holidays are a great time to get together with distant relatives, and it’s always exciting when they come around to visit! Set aside some time for your child to show off their new reading skills to relatives by encouraging them to read them a story they might like or retell one of their most beloved tales from memory. Most children love being the focus of attention, and grandparents are usually more than happy to encourage their progress.
4. Read and talk about books in the car. Lengthy car-trips are a hallmark of the school holidays and are a perfect time for the family to enjoy having long chats together. Read a new and interesting book together the day before you leave and encourage your child to talk about what happened in the story. Ask reading comprehension questions like, “How did the story start?”, “Who was your favourite character and why?” and “How did the story make you feel and why?”
5. Write a special holiday reading list. Create a list of at least 5 books for your child to read each week over the holidays. Let them choose their books in advance and write down the list together. Display the list on the fridge and cross off each book once they have been completed. You can create some incentives by rewarding a prize for each book completed per week.
6. Cook holiday meals together and let them read out the ingredients. Cook and prepare your holidays meals together and let your child read out the ingredients and quantities for you. It will also be a great way to learn measurements and temperatures, and shows them just how useful reading can be for making their favourite foods!
Do you have other helpful tips on how to motivate your child to read over the holidays? What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced in getting your child to read during academic downtimes?
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