Summer’s leisurely pace is a great time to build a child’s interest in books; it’s an important stretch of laid-back days to expand and explore reading at every age. Here are some terrific suggestions on how to get children of all ages engaged!

Readin’ ‘n’ Relaxin’
While the weather is nice and the days are carefree, why not share a book (or two, or four) with your grandchild in a hammock or under a tree? You’ll not only encourage reading, you’ll sneak in some important learning. Of course, summertime is full of temptations. You may find your reluctant reader leaning toward video games, but don’t sweat it.

Continue the routine.
Maintain your family’s school year habits: stock up on magazines, give books as gifts, visit the library weekly, and read the paper at breakfast (yes, the sports or entertainment pages count!). These routines are especially important for boys, who tend to develop into readers more gradually than girls.

Choose the right books.
It’s important to know the child’s reading level (ask his parent or teacher if you’re unsure) to help make a proper choice and avoid the frustration that comes from books that are over his head. Additionally, allow your grandchild to choose the topic that interests him the most from the school’s suggested reading list, whether it’s monsters, muffins, or motorcycles.

Offer rewards.
We suggest keeping a long-term reward plan that includes keeping a log of books read and setting benchmarks to hit over the summer. As for a reward, discourage a material gift, and instead give kids what they need and want most—time with you alone and a special experience. Try a trip to a park, museum, or sports or musical event.

Listen to a book.
Drive time is prime time. If you’re taking a road trip for vacation, bring along an audio-book series that everyone likes.

Be a reading role model.
Show kids that you like to read and keep reading materials in every room. In the kitchen, read recipes together. Let your grandchild get and open the mail. Stack books and magazines in the bathroom and on your bedroom nightstand. Bring something to read during train rides or in the waiting room.

Extend the experience.
Take trips to the local bookstore, attend a children’s book author reading, use a favorite book as the theme for a party, or spend time reading together while relaxing by the pool or lake or after a picnic lunch in the park. Kids don’t want to be left out of the fun!
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