Summer is finally here, and we bet your child is excited about the long break from school and all the adventures your family may have planned over the next few months. But while it's mostly fun and games for the kiddos, as a parent, you may also be stressing over how to keep up the “reading momentum” that your child’s teacher established throughout the school year. Fear not! Our team has devised a list of unique ways to keep your child excited about reading, all the way to September (and beyond!).
Note: many of the following tips make the most of the sunny weather and warm evenings that summertime affords us. But that doesn't mean you can't use many of them all year-round!
If you want to make the most of a sunny afternoon, pack some blankets, books (including some Spanish children's books), and picnic foods and invite your child to go on a picnic with you. Before you eat, you can read a book together so that while you’re eating, you can talk about the contents—the characters, the illustrations, the moral of the story, the setting, and anything else that you or your child feel compelled to discuss.
Many children’s authors and illustrators have published books that take place during the summertime—books that feature beaches, camping, family vacations, and other fun activities that we typically associate with this season. Why not read one or more of these books and then encourage your child to create a piece of artwork in response? You could invite them, for example, to draw a picture of themselves swimming with a dolphin, or paint a picture of their dream vacation spot—what would it look like and what would they do there?
Acquire some non-fiction nature books (we recommend ones with lots of detailed, colorful photos that are likely to pique your child’s interest) and ask your child to join you for an outdoor hike. Together, you and your child can use the nature-themed books to help identify trees, insects, and other creatures that you may stumble upon. It’ll be eye-opening for your child to discover all the wonders that can be found in nature—and hopefully they’ll appreciate how much books can serve as companions in regards to teaching us about the world around us.
Whether at a pool or on a beach, adults are notorious for reading books by the water’s edge. ‘Tis the season to teach your child that they, too, can enjoy their favorite books when it’s time to take a break from swimming and relax in the sunshine. Next time you go swimming, pack not only your book selection, but also some books for your child. If it would help, you could even set up a comfortable reading chair for them, and invite them to sit next to you. And if your child happens to be swimming with friends, you may want to consider offering to read to the group while they snack on popsicles, ice cream cones, or other popular summertime treats.
Are you aware that the National Park Service (NPS) has established an engaging educational program for children? The Junior Ranger program is designed to inspire children to learn about history, geography, and other social sciences. When you visit a participating park, your child will be given an age-appropriate workbook that they must read and complete in order to earn a Junior Ranger badge. You can check out the list of all the parks with Junior Ranger programs here
Maps are quite fascinating. Just like children’s books, they are visually appealing—pointing out highways, landmarks, bodies of water, and more. If you’re planning a vacation this summer, you may wish to purchase (or print) a map that depicts your starting point and your destination. A map’s interesting array of graphics can motivate your child to try to read the words they see. A map can also serve as a reminder that you don’t always have to turn to books to keep your child reading throughout the summer. Words can be found everywhere—on maps, on road signs, on restaurant menus . . . all around us!
Children love a challenge, especially a challenge that speaks to their inner adventurer. Host a scavenger hunt in your backyard or in another suitable location. Compose clues that feature words that match your child’s reading level. One clue leads to the next, and at the end, you can reward your child with a brand-new book (perhaps one from our Spanish subscription box?).
Subscription book boxes will provide your child with a carefully curated, age-appropriate selection of books. A subscription-based book box service gives your child an incentive to keep reading this summer, and besides, nothing beats the excitement of receiving a package delivered to their address in their name!
On a warm night, pitch a tent in your backyard, grab a flashlight, and secure a stack of your child’s favorite books from their collection. Spend the evening reading together and talking about books, nature, and any other subject that may come up in conversation while nighttime sights and sounds (crickets chirping, fireflies glowing) make for a memorable “night out.”
Children tend to love hammocks because they’re comfortable and they can swing in them. Summertime is the perfect time to set up a hammock; it offers a fantastic place for your child to spend some time reading and relishing the sounds of nature. If you want, you can even refer to it as the “Reading Hammock” so your child can associate the hammock as their special little hideaway that they can go to read books, including bilingual ones.
These and other places are known for the informational and educational signs on display. These signs are designed to provide insight into what you and your child are viewing, whether it’s a piece of art, an exotic orchid, or a beautiful land mammal. A majority of these signs contain fun facts, photos, and geographic locations. When you’re at an aquarium, zoo, museum, botanical garden, or other similar location with your child this summer and you notice a sign like this, take a moment to stop and read it together.
Summer is such an exciting time for children, and we wish you and yours a safe and happy one. We hope your child has lots of memorable outdoor adventures — and many literary adventures, too!