Hi, beauties and gentlemen!
I’m sure parents can relate when I say that that summer is one of the best times of year to spend quality time with your kids. Without school in session (and, God willing, some wiggle room with work schedules), summer days become more freed up.
It can also be quite challenging to help them retain all the great knowledge they received during the school year.
In knowing that, I’m always trying to find ways to help my kids expand and grow mentally while keeping lessons entertaining at the same time.
I’m a huge believer that kids learn through travel and experience. You may have remembered when I shared that sentiment in the past because I discussed the reasons why I travel with my kids during the summer, and education was certainly one of those reasons.
I believe that traveling to new places, learning about new cultures, and seeing new sights rivals traditional classroom learning.
For this reason, I try not to be rigid and require Ashton, my youngest, to do too much “schoolwork” during the summer months.
Reading a few great summer books during downtime is essential. I allow him to pick two books, and I choose the other two.
This summer, Ashton is reading Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey, Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, and The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Case by Alexander McCall Smith.
During past summers, I would often try to come up with new ways to encourage summer reading, and those efforts were usually unsuccessfully because I wound up reminding the kids to read on a daily basis.
This summer, I decided to create opportunities for the kids to read. While we were at home, I implemented an hour of “electronics blackout.” During our travel time, I included several remote destinations where our villas had no television or little to no internet. It’s amazing to see how creative kids can be when they don’t have another choice.
It really satisfied me to see my nine-year-old pick a book on his own and just get lost in what he was reading.
For my high schooler, AJ, this was a bit more complicated. Once again, I tried to not be too hard on him during the summer. He is a great student who works hard during the school year and is very deserving of a break. For him, our travel experiences took the place of the classroom.
Typically, during the summer, AJ always has a few cousins and friends at our house. They are all welcomed to stay over for as long as they want, but with two conditions: They must wake up for an 8 am workout, and each child must read a novel during their stay.
This summer, AJ and his cousins/ friends read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Auchebee. During vacation, AJ read Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
I’m not saying that taking your kids halfway around the world is the formula for getting your child to read over the summer. Instead, I’m advocating for self-created opportunities that encourage reading, whether that’s during a family vacation, amid quiet time at home, or even during a sleepover. What I have learned this summer, rather than coming up with 101 ways to get your kids to read, is the power of creating opportunities for them to unplug and read a great book. Nevertheless, I am not rigid on my sons because I definitely take into account the experiences they’re receiving during our summer trips.
Talk to me – what books are on your child’s summer reading list? Which books have they especially enjoyed?
Readers, don’t be shy. Contact me and share your thoughts. Until next time!