Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer days

Summer is in full swing. The days are full of activities, some kids are finding lots and lots of time to read, and others have days so full that they just fall into bed hours past their regular bedtime. I try to encourage my kids to read during the summer, but I also try not to stress about it.

The summer my middle daughter finished kindergarten, she was determined to read by herself. She spent hours looking at books, and basically taught herself how to read. She went from reading books with a few lines on each page to reading short chapter books - all within the space of a few months. Was it because I told her to? Not at all. It was something within her. She was driven by her own motivation. That was a huge factor, but it was also the time during the summer when she wasn't dealing with school or other types of learning. She had the mental space to focus on learning to read.

This same daughter is now almost 9, and she has only read one full chapter book this summer. She's listened to a favorite audiobook about three times over, and she's started about five books, but she just isn't reading as much this summer. She's busier with summer activities, as a family we've been busier, and she just isn't driven the same way she was when she was younger. I am convinced that kids learn in leaps and then plateau or stay at the same level at other times. Part of me is frustrated, but I keep telling myself to be patient. She still loves reading, it just isn't the summer for her to spend lots of time reading.

I see my role as a parent:
* create opportunities for my children to choose their own books to read by making time for trips to the library or bookstore, and
* create opportunities where kids will choose to read by having downtime during the summer.

I do also try to keep to our regular routine of having time to read before going to sleep as a time to wind down. But studies show that having books in the home, especially books that children have chosen themselves, is a very important factor in creating readers.

On a blogging note, I'm sure you've noticed that my reviews have been a bit more sporadic lately. I've been reading lots, but have been writing much less. I'm not gone, just enjoying the summer.

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