Now that school is over and homework isn’t piling up and many of your child’s activities have stopped, summer is a great time to reconnect your kids with the love of reading. Wichita Public Library Youth Services Librarian Erin Downey Howerton shares some tips on how to encourage get your children into books.
Tip #1: Read together with audiobooks. Road trips are a great time to share a fun story together as a family. Younger children can understand a higher level of spoken language than they’re able to read, so this is a perfect way to expand everyone’s vocabularies and hear the wonderful voices of professional narrators bring books to life. Try the audio versions of Carl Hiassen’s youth eco-novels like Hoot and Flush to spur discussion, and learn more about the natural world.
Tip #2: Boost imagination with wordless picture books. Among the most lauded and award-winning books for young people are wordless picture books. Have your grade-schooler to read one of these, and narrate the story they think should be on the page, but isn’t. Flights of fancy like Aaron Becker’s Journey will challenge kids to flex their imagination muscles, while the more realistic Blackout by John Rocco might be just the thing that inspires a tech-free, old fashioned fun evening together.
Tip #3: The best book is a self-selected book. While it might be tempting to try and guide your child’s reading choices, research and practice shows that the love of reading stems from being able to choose one’s own reading. Empower them to choose books with topics that resonate with them and allow your children to select books for themselves in addition to the ones you or a teacher are requesting they try. This drives the intrinsic motivation that everyone needs for a successful reading experience.
Tip #4: Make it rewarding! Join the 10,000+ other Wichita youth who are signing up for the Wichita Public Library’s Summer Reading program! Between May 25 and July 20, kids will be challenged to read every day, winning prizes along the way! Parents with babies and toddlers under the age of 3 can participate in our Baby Bookworms program that introduces our youngest learners to the skills that help get them ready to read.