The summer can never come too soon and never lasts long enough, yet somehow the days drag on. Partly, this is because as homeschoolers our routine isn’t changing all that much and partly because the days seem so much longer. Trying to keep your momentum through the summer is tough but there are 3 summer reading tips that can help!
Some days you need to kick things up a notch, and one of the best ways to do that is by adding a little excitement to your summer reading.
Now, I’m going to assume that you don’t completely suspend all learning during the summer months. In our home, we have to keep the semblance of a routine for sanity’s sake. We can be lazy and enjoy summer for a few days, but then chaos sets in, the house is trashed, and no one has clean underwear. So, we opt to keep a general routine going during the summer.
3 Summer Reading Tips
One of the parts of our homeschool that stays with us all year round is reading. During the regular homeschool year, we are a part of a book club.
The kids read a novel each month and then meet for a “party school” to celebrate the book. But in the summer, those book clubs are suspended, and the enticement to read just isn’t as strong. So, over the years we’ve come up with some creative ways to add some excitement to our summer reading plan.
Head Down a Rabbit Trail
Have you ever read a book and the character mentions something in passing, and you wonder what they were talking about?
This happens to the kids often when they are reading books set in different cultures or different time periods. They would often stop in the middle of the family read aloud to ask questions, which lead to mini-investigations. We would look up the particular topic, and it would invariably lead us down a new “rabbit trail” of discovery. Many times we would get lost on this exploration for days. And, it was all because we “read it in a book.”
1. Summer Reading Tip:
Look for topics that might be interesting to investigate in your current reading. Listen to the questions your kids ask and feed their curiosity by going down your own rabbit trail.
Add a Little Magic Dust
Think back on your school days. What’s your earliest memory?
One of my earliest memories was in first grade. The entire class headed to the school cafeteria kitchen. We mixed water and salt until it dissolved and then we put it in an aluminum pie pan. The pie pan was then placed on a hot stove burner. We watched as the water evaporated, and the salt reappeared. At least, this is what I remember happening. I can still smell the air as the water heated. I can see the pan clearly in my mind, and I remember the principle well.
Hands-on activities that let children participate in their learning are great ways to help kids remember important principles. Just like my first-grade science experiment, kids can focus on the “how” and “why” and better learn the “rule.” You can do the same with a good book.
2. Summer Reading Tip:
Look through the book your child is reading. Are there foods mentioned that you could teach them to cook? What science experiment could you use to show why or how something worked in the book? Did your characters notice the trees, plants or animals around them? Could you go on a nature hunt for some of those mentioned?
Celebrate the Book and Its Characters
We have a rule in our house: you can’t see the movie until you’ve read the book. I’m adamant about it; my husband is a little lax. The point is that it is a way to create enthusiasm for a book. Don’t those previews look awesome? Well, let’s read the book and then have a family fun night at the movies!
Sometimes we all need to be inspired to read a good book. Maybe it’s not a genre we usually enjoy. Perhaps we’re just being lazy and want to watch YouTube videos all day. Whatever the reason, a little celebration can go a long way. So after each book we read, we have a “party school” and celebrate the book.
3. Summer Reading Tip:
What kind of fun snacks does your book inspire? Can you decorate like the era or setting? Do you have clothes you could use to dress up like the characters? Choose something the character did and see if you can replicate the idea at home.
It’s Summer, Take it Easy
By adding a little excitement to your summer reading, you can keep the summer fun and your home drama-free (well, it won’t help the mountain of dirty dishes or laundry, but you get the point). But, don’t let adding excitement become overwhelming to you as a mom. You don’t have to be elaborate, and you don’t have to do everything I mentioned. Just take a day or two to throw in a fun activity.
And, if you want to take it really easy, I’ve got you covered. Hop on over to Literary Adventures for Kids and check out our selection of online family book clubs. Just pick a book, and I have done all the work for you. Find rabbit trails, magic dust, and party school ideas at your fingertips. Your kids can even work through them independently.
No matter what you choose to do, remember that a little excitement can go a long way. Your kids will remember these moments more than they will their current YouTube sensation, and you will enjoy the way their faces light up.
Dachelle is a working homeschooling mom of 3 in the South. She is the owner of Hide The Chocolate, a blog about her adventures in homeschooling and parenting. She is also the author of dozens of online book clubs for kids from preschool to high school at her site Literary Adventures for Kids. You can often find her reading a good book (or even sometimes just an okay book) and enjoying a jar of Nutella — don’t judge. 😉 You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest