• Melanie Notaras

11 CRAZY and SURE FIRE ways to keep your kids READING

Updated: Aug 13


See, there's this thing called the summer slide that happens over the school holidays ... and sadly, no, it's not taking your kids to a fun playground. It's the decline in reading ability that occurs 'naturally' after many weeks on holiday spent without reading. In fact teachers will automatically adjust your child’s reading level down by 5 or 6 levels at the start of next year because the literacy drop is so widespread. So whatever you do, keep your children reading over the holidays! Ideally you’ll find your child a bunch of books they’ll really like and they’ll sit down every day to enjoy a good read by themselves, to a younger sibling, pet or together with you. BUT WHEN THAT PERFECT PLAN FAILS ... don’t despair! You can keep your kids reading with these fun - and crazy - and not so crazy - holiday reading ideas!

(NOT SO CRAZY) 1: Seasonal – find books that are related to Christmas (or for the southern hemisphere, summer holidays), in keeping with their interest in the current season. Or make a special effort to track down books (or a series) that fit their very special interest.

(CRAZY) 2: Allocate each day with one letter of the alphabet as your theme – and you must eat, visit, do an activity or dress with something starting with that letter. Bonus points for integrating unusual words (of that letter) in your conversation!

(NOT SO CRAZY) 3: Bribery – let’s be upfront about it, kids will work for money. Pay $2 per novel or whatever you think a good rate is.

(CRAZY) 4: Switch off your GPS and go for a drive in your car – your child must navigate you using a paper street directory (this is fantastic for spatial skills, and spot reading the street names on the signs and map). Not whacky enough? Then drive somewhere completely random – put the map away, hide the GPS and turn when your child correctly reads a street sign. Oh, yeah, and they're responsible for navigating you home too!

(NOT SO CRAZY) 5: Taxation – reduce their regular pocket money by $2 a week (or another set amount) if they haven’t completed reading the required book.

(CRAZY) 6: Hold a Predictive Text Story Competition – when we’re desperately bored on a long train trip, this little game saves our sanity. Pull out your mobile or cell phone and go to your Notes App. Your child has 90 seconds to create a story – but only using words suggested by the predictive text. Sometimes the predictive text gets stuck in a rut so if you want to bend the rules, give 3 ‘chances’ to add in a your own word. Take turns to read them aloud – the funniest story wins!

(NOT SO CRAZY) 7: Motivation Chart – works better for the littlies, adding a sticker every time they read by themselves, or together with you. Once they have completed their chart for the week, then they get a prize!

(CRAZY) 8: Write a tongue-twister every day and read them aloud. Hold a competition to see whose is the hardest and who can say it the fastest without mistakes. Tally the results over a week and give a prize (icecreams for all)!

(NOT SO CRAZY) 9: Holiday Diary – if you’re travelling away for the holidays, ask your child to be the caretaker of your trip. A holiday diary is more than a ‘dry’ description of each day’s events – include any travel souvenirs that can be glued into their diary - ticket stubs, attraction brochures (cut out the destination names in their fancy fonts, plus images), leaves and flowers to press between the pages (identify their names/parts), or drawing a map of your route. Comprehending these items will already involve a lot of reading, but also ask them to read their favourite parts back to you (and make a big fuss of their wonderful record of your trip)!

(CRAZY) 10: Plop them in front of the internet and pull up some memes on their favourite subject. If they laugh out loud ask them to read them to you too. They’ll scroll and scroll – and read and read!

(NOT SO CRAZY) 11: Swop a chore – offer to do one of their daily chores (eg washing dishes) if they read aloud to you from a newspaper for the entire time it takes you to do their chore, to keep you entertained. It’s their choice what to read to you, and it’s okay to abandon content halfway through if it’s too hard or boring – though they have to keep reading until you finish their chore. You’ll find they’ll read to their comfort level – headings, advertisements, short or long articles, sports, real estate or even obituaries – and will try harder text if it looks interesting. A bit of discussion is okay though it’s better to leave it to the end. Read like this for a couple of weeks or more and you might even find them eager to ‘follow a story’.

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