Mid-August is here and we have officially hit the fork in the road. Some of us, my family included, are heading back to school this week, while others (like my co-captain Maki’s family) are going back to school at the beginning of September. For those in the latter group, these are the toughest weeks in trying to maintain kids’ enthusiasm for summer reading. Not quite sure why. Maybe it’s because they see school looming around the corner and they want to abandon all things scholarly for those last few weeks. Maybe it’s because they just want to push back on our parental expectations. Whatever the reason, there are a few tricks out there that can help “gamify” those reading goals and give the kids some last incentives to keep on reading.
Take those reading lists your child has been completing (hopefully!) and transfer those titles marked “read” to your handy little Summer Reading BINGO board. The one depicted on the left is a free download from the Scholastic website, but there are many many variations out there on the interwebs. Disatisfied with what you’ve found out there? Create your own! Filling out a BINGO game board with the book titles your kids have already read this summer gives them the satisfaction of seeing their work in progress and see where those titles translate to on the game board. once they see what they are missing to get a BINGO, they can plan their last few summer reads accordingly! Make sure that when they do get five books in a row on the game board, you have a prize that they see as well worth their efforts.
Kid Book Clubs
Everything is more fun in the company of friends. So why not take the last few weeks to organize a book club for your kids and their friends where they can compare notes, talk about their favorite books summer reads and what they could pick together as their final few reads of the summer. If they meet up once a week for the last few weeks, they can track each other’s progress until school starts back up and can motivate each other. Each book club meeting can end with pizza and a play date! Last year, one 11-year-old boy in St. Louis started his own book club called Books N Bros. Books N Bros is a book club he designed specifically for boys ages 8-12 where they read African American literature. The group meets once a month in a local Microsoft store and when they are done talking about the book they are currently reading, they play video games together for the last half hour. Pretty cool.
Books and Movies
Does your kid like watching movies that are based on books? Well, time to take advantage of that! Choose a book to read that was made into a movie they love. Then, watch the movie and discuss the similarities and differences. What did they like about the book better than the movie or vice-versa? Common Sense Media has a list of movies based on books as a start point when picking out your book of choice.
Whatever method you choose to keep your kids inspired to read over the summer is really up to you and your family. Just make sure it is fun for everyone involved and the dreaded “summer slump” will magically transform into the “summer leap.” Happy Reading!