Just because the school year is ending doesn’t mean that reading has to stop! Teachers and literacy experts agree that children of all ages need to read or be read to over the summer months. The summer is a wonderful time for children to read what they most enjoy, to learn about something new, and to have fun and enjoy reading! Summer reading is a very important way to help prevent children from losing ground over the summer. Research shows that summer reading can make a significant difference in a student’s overall academic achievement.

As a parent, you can do many things to encourage your child to read and to develop strong reading skills over the summer. The following are some tips that you might use to encourage your child to read over the summer:

Read aloud every day. Try to find time to read to your child each day. Reading aloud has many benefits for children—even teens. Reading aloud help increase vocabulary development as well as reading fluency.

Visit the local library. The local library can serve as the best resource to keep your child reading over the summer.

Encourage vocabulary and word learning. A broad vocabulary is very important for effective speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Learning new words helps with reading fluency and comprehension. Learning new vocabulary is as easy as reading a book and talking with your child.

Beat boredom with books. Summer is a great time for you to help your child find books that he/she finds interesting. These books might include non-fiction books, fun fact books, arts and crafts books, hands-on activity and project books, or cookbooks with kid-friendly recipes.

Focus on books that are also movies. Start with the book, then reward your child with the movie after they have finished reading. You can then discuss how different they are from one another.

Read from different kinds of reading materials. To help increase the excitement to read, keep reading materials throughout your house. Materials might include newspapers, magazines, and brochures. Keep some fun things on hand as well, like word games, puzzles, or the kids’ section of a newspaper.

Make summer reading a social event. Encourage your child to read with a friend. This is a great motivator for children of all ages.

Subscribe to magazines like Sports Illustrated for Kids, Highlights for Children, or National Geographic World.

Be a good example. The best way to encourage your child to read is to read yourself.

The best tip of all is to make reading fun! We hope that you find opportunities for your kids to continue their learning over the summer months.

Melissa Chastain if principal of Hawthorne Elementary.